In case you missed it, now former Minnesota Viking Rhett Ellison’s father, Riki Ellison, created quite a stir among the Vikings faithful last week by essentially “shedding light” on the fact that the Vikings had a toxic leadership issue and, essentially, that the team had checked out on the whole Zimmer thing and thus the team was on the precipice of yet another rebuilding period. Outside of the fact that his son played for the team for the past half-decade or so, the only facts he really had on his side were that his story seemed to line up with the team’s collapse after the Bye week and also the fact that all (at the time) unrestricted free agents that the Vikings had had left for other teams.
Now, the senior Ellison is correct that we have only resigned 1 out of 17 unrestricted free agents so far this off-season, in corner Terrance Newman. However I don’t think that the Vikings even offered contracts to most of the rest. We swapped Riley Reiff for Matt Kalil based on the contracts they signed respectively. The Vikings did come out on top of that one, as I believe with Matt coming off a two game season due to injury and the general hate from the fan base his previously inconsistent play had brought upon him. Adrian Peterson and his agent are pricing himself as if it were 2009 all over again, plus we are much better off with out him. Jake Long and Andre Smith gave us eight games last year (combined) of rusty play both finishing the year on IR. Shaun Hill had a lot of value last year because we lost two quarterbacks in the preseason and needed a capable body that new the play book. In 2017 however we have two healthy quarterbacks, Sam Bradford and Taylor Heinicke, and one with a giant question mark in Teddy Bridgewater. So as I see it there was no reason to retain 37 year old Shaun Hill’s services.
Now Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson both fell victim to the “Thielen” effect, I believe. That is with Thielen coming out last year and taking advantage of every opportunity thrown his way, pun intended, our receiver section of the roster got complicated. The Vikings highest paid receiver this year will be Adam Thielen, then Jarius wright at $3.1 million, then Laquon Treadwell, and don’t forget about Stefon Diggs bringing up the bargain basement salary at $670k this year. This doesn’t even take into consideration the $6.8 million dollar tight end Kyle Rudolph and all the passes he will catch in 2017. So as long as they believed and got one other team to believe that they belong as a two or three on the depth chart, there was no reason to give an insulting offer considering there would have been four guys ahead of them on the passing tree this year. I would have loved to see CP returning kicks this year but in my heart I knew that at least one team would offer starting receiver money to him.
The Vikings probably would have liked to keep Captain Munnerlyn and Audie Cole, but not at those prices. I have great respect for both of them, but I would like to congratulate there respective agents on jobs well done. Maybe Cole will blow up this year, but I did not see anything last year that would warrant doubling his salary. He played in all 16 games last year and had 12 tackles. As for Captain with all the young well paid corners on the Vikings roster, I really think that there was no way the Vikings would come close to that four-year deal with that much guarneteed that he got from Carolina.
Speaking of over paid and over-guaranteed contracts how bout Rhett Ellison’s deal with the Giants? Now the Vikings do need a another tight end for 2017, but what did Rhett Ellison do to warrant a four year, $18 million dollar deal with a five million dollar signing bonus and eight million guaranteed? Oh yeah, that’s right last year he blew up with 9 receptions on 15 targets. Congrats on the contract I guess?
Then we have Jeff Locke who played his way off of the team last year, and Brandon Fusco who had two concussions and may not play anywhere this year. Justin Trattou was more of a depth guy in my eyes and hopefully if Sharrif Floyd stays healthy this year the Vikings no longer need him. Bringing us to our last tw unrestricted free agents, not including Chad Greenway, who retired, Zack Line and Matt Asiata,. Now, I am big fans of both, just not necessary on this team this year. With the signing of Latavius Murray which made Jerick Mckinnon our change of pace back and Asiata the odd man out. Now for Line, I’m guessing that general manager Rick Spielman is going to look to the draft for a fullback for 2017 unless Line has zero interest from any other team and would come back for little to next to nothing.
So Riki, I don’t see an “exodus of draft picks ” due to “toxic leadership”. I see the release of some players with injury issues, other teams paying unwarranted salaries, players getting beat out by younger more talented players, and one guy who thinks he still is in 2009. Congratulations on your son’s new contract but don’t blame the Vikings for not wanting to pay him 500k per catch this year!