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 Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards 
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Post Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
http://www.twincities.com/vikings/ci_21 ... source=rss

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From perennial winners to full-on rebuilders, the NFL was rife with one-year player contracts this offseason as teams deferred to salary-cap restrictions under the new collective bargaining agreement.

The Vikings parachuted into this rental property market with both feet, relying on not just roster fillers -- but possibly several starters -- to join the team for training camp on a 12-month lease.

Starting wide receiver? Jerome Simpson, who is under a one-year deal worth up to $2 million as he navigates his reclamation from an offseason drug charge.

Starting linebacker? Erin Henderson, who's playing under a so-called "prove-it" contract despite becoming one of the Vikings' brightest young defensive players a year ago.

Third cornerback? That might be Chris Carr, a seven-year veteran going on the second one-year deal of his career.

Of the Vikings' 15 free-agent signings with 2012 base salaries of more than $500,000, 11 are under one-year contracts.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:00 am
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
I'm okay with the "prove it" contracts, considering the players that received them.

But if those players pan out, I sure hope the Vikings can lock them down with long contracts. Teams want stud WRs, for example. Is Simpson lights it up, there will be considerable interest in him.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:28 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
That article is interesting, coming on the heels of Greg Childs' injury, and says that people are starting to wake up to the fact that the Vikings will be in an awful position if a few of those one year contracts come back to bite them in the butt.

The Vikings are going to be right back to square one in the wide receiver department next offseason if they don't resign Jerome Simpson.

Looking at their linebacking corps, Erin Henderson is clearly the 2nd best linebacker on the roster. No, he's not one of the best linebackers in the league, and he may not have gotten much interest during his free agency, but the Vikings have almost nobody else on the roster and would be completely screwed without him. Yet they signed him to a one year contract.

The only "reward" the Vikings can get from those one year contracts is if the player turns out to be a total bust. Think about that. If he's not a bust, you would have been better off giving a multi-year contract. If he is a bust, you would have done a better job in the personnel department by not signing him at all.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:26 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
Eli wrote:
That article is interesting, coming on the heels of Greg Childs' injury, and says that people are starting to wake up to the fact that the Vikings will be in an awful position if a few of those one year contracts come back to bite them in the butt.

The Vikings are going to be right back to square one in the wide receiver department next offseason if they don't resign Jerome Simpson.

Looking at their linebacking corps, Erin Henderson is clearly the 2nd best linebacker on the roster. No, he's not one of the best linebackers in the league, and he may not have gotten much interest during his free agency, but the Vikings have almost nobody else on the roster and would be completely screwed without him. Yet they signed him to a one year contract.

The only "reward" the Vikings can get from those one year contracts is if the player turns out to be a total bust. Think about that. If he's not a bust, you would have been better off giving a multi-year contract. If he is a bust, you would have done a better job in the personnel department by not signing him at all.


There's a fair amount of territory between bust and high profile free agent. For example, if Henderson or Simpson play to roughly the same level they did last year, they might not be difficult to re-sign again next offseason because they might not be in much more demand than they were this offseason.

It's possible that the Vikes could be "rewarded" for giving these players the opportunity to shine. If Simpson has a great year in Minnesota it's not inconceivable that he might want to return, that the Vikings would want him back and that the two parties could work out a deal, possibly even before Simpson went back into free agency.

Jim


Last edited by Mothman on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:49 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
Eli wrote:
The only "reward" the Vikings can get from those one year contracts is if the player turns out to be a total bust. Think about that. If he's not a bust, you would have been better off giving a multi-year contract. If he is a bust, you would have done a better job in the personnel department by not signing him at all.


The Vikings are mitigating risk while focusing on the draft as the primary way to rebuild this team. Childs, while terribly unfortunate, is not all that relevant in this context. Pelissero said it best in his article, a 4th rounder does not make or break your roster. Jerome Simpson has a lot to prove. He's looked great so far but so have guys like Hank Baskett in the preseason, lets wait to see how he produces when it counts. Not to mention he's serving a 3-game suspension, hardly a guy you want to lock up a lot of cash for until he proves he can keep himself clean. Schwartz had injury issues and has yet another injury. Carr has been a journeyman corner. Henderson, as you mentioned, received very little interest in the offseason. Who exactly do you want to throw millions of dollars of cap space at? We already know Harvin is going to need a contract after this season and the Vikings have the cap room to go after or retain free agents as needed.

It's highly probable the Vikings have another poor year, which translates to high draft picks. Everyone knew coming into this year that the roster couldn't be fixed in a single draft. At this point, I don't really see any problem with the way the Vikings are structuring their contracts. They'll have the cap room to keep those they need and most likely some high picks to fill in the holes.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:14 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
I think the phenomenon of 1-year deals just reflects what free agency has become for the most part. The vast majority of teams never let their key players get to free agency, so the guys who are available are, for the most part, expendable to their former teams. Of that group, only a handful are worth the types of big, long-term deals that have come to be associated with free agent contracts. While some of this group of free agents pans out, more of them end up under-performing with their new teams.

Ideally, the draft is still the place to build the core of a team, and contract extensions are the smart way to keep that core intact over time. For teams that have immediate holes, spelunking into FA to find guys who have a few blemishes on their records or question marks, but who have the potential to pan out, while at the same time avoiding overpaying, is a very smart way to approach free agency.

And, should these players pan out, then I'd assume the Vikings (and other teams that have taken the short-term contract approach) would do everything in their power to get that player or players signed to extensions.

I actually like the approach. I think it jibes well with the reality of modern-day FA, and I think it also helps to highlight the areas of a team where one would expect immediate or future draft focus as well, or where one might see become the focus of a trade.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:36 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
S197 wrote:
Jerome Simpson has a lot to prove.


The only thing Simpson has to prove is that he's not going to sell weed to anyone. That's the only reason he was released by the Bengals.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:00 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
Eli wrote:
S197 wrote:
Jerome Simpson has a lot to prove.


The only thing Simpson has to prove is that he's not going to sell weed to anyone. That's the only reason he was released by the Bengals.


And McKinnie was only released because he ate too much.

I don't think that should be trivialized. He was caught with 8.5 pounds of weed. Along with a bunch of paraphernalia that suggests possible drug dealing, not just use. Either way, it shows poor judgement and thus the need to prove that he's not just back on track but is willing to stay there. Hence the contract. If he's such a tremendous athlete and was released only for selling weed, then the Vikings have both cap room and the franchise tag at their disposal. If he doesn't pan out on the field or off, the Vikings part ways with nominal damages.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:13 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
Eli wrote:
S197 wrote:
Jerome Simpson has a lot to prove.


The only thing Simpson has to prove is that he's not going to sell weed to anyone. That's the only reason he was released by the Bengals.


That's true but I'd still say he has plenty to prove. He has the potential to be a consistent playmaker but it's not like he's an established NFL star or even a player who has shown he can consistently deliver season after season. He's entering his fifth year as a pro and he has one season with more than 20 catches and 277 yards. That was last season, when he caught 50 passes for 725 yards and 4 TDs but to put that in perspective, Michael Jenkins, who many Vikes fans are eager to bench or even replace on the roster, put up similar numbers back in 2008 and had 41 catches for 505 yards and 2 TDs just one season before joining the Vikings. Even in an injury-shortened season last year, he had 38 catches for 466 yards and 3 TDs. He played 11 games and was on a pace to end up with numbers similar to Simpson's. His YPC would likely have been lower but in terms of yards, receptions and TDs, he would have been very close to what Simpson produced in Cincy.

I'm not saying Jenkins is better than Simpson but Simpson has plenty to prove. He could be a huge acquisition for the Vikes but he could also be the equivalent of Bernard Berrian in 2009 or Jenkins in 2008. I'm optimistic about Simpson. I'm hoping he'll provide the team with a big play threat and prove to be a valuable, reliable complement to Harvin but he still has to show he can do those things. If he does, the Vikes will probably make a serious attempt to extend his contract before he even hits free agency.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:18 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
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It's possible that the Vikes could be "rewarded" for giving these players the opportunity to shine. If Simpson has a great year in Minnesota it's not inconceivable that he might want to return, that the Vikings would want him back and that the two parties could work out a deal, possibly even before Simpson went back into free agency.


And Childs could go ask Tebow to lay hands upon his knees and rise up ready to start week 1.

I find it hard to believe anyone (I'd say Erin, but even he was upset with the team after getting little to no interest and questionable offers (to him)) is going to return if they honestly do "prove it". They can likely get just as much money, from a better team. Now is when you sign a guy like Simpson to a three year deal. And if he's only interested in a one year deal...good luck with whatever team you end up with. We can't afford to be cultivating players for other teams on one year deals...

But then I'm not the GM, the great Rick Spielman is. With such an amazing track record and understanding of how to build a long term competitive team, with an amazing eye for talent, and a top notch scouting department. :roll:


Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:29 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
Demi wrote:
I find it hard to believe anyone (I'd say Erin, but even he was upset with the team after getting little to no interest and questionable offers (to him)) is going to return if they honestly do "prove it". They can likely get just as much money, from a better team.


Yes, and we all know the Vikings have never been able to successfully re-sign a good player to their roster or successfully extend a contract. Every time a Vikings player becomes eligible for free agency, they automatically bolt!

There are obviously no guarantees but IF Simpson has a great year and proves worth re-signing , IF he's impressive enough to command a substantial price in free agency, that might also mean he developed good chemistry with Ponder (chemistry with a QB can be a selling point for a receiver). It might mean the Vikings offense was much more productive, that the team improved and consequently is more attractive to a potential free agent. Simpson might find that he's happy with the team and his situation and wants to stay. That does happen in the NFL.

In pro football, nothing happens in a bubble. If several of the players the Vikes signed to one year deals excel, that could easily be a factor in overall team improvement which should, logically, make the team more attractive to those players.


Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:02 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
I'm hoping he can stay our of trouble ,and we sign him to four year deal at deal at a bargain price
before he wants 8-10 million a year like a lot of the top guys do today.

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Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:21 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
One thing that deserves more attention is that if our overall goal / plan / strategy is to build through the draft and for the long term, they may not care if a guy like Henderson gets away. In that sense, a lot of these 1 year deals are more like stop gaps to get us to the next draft, where it's likely even our #1 pick could be a LB. In that sense it's not the end of the world to lose some of these guys if they do prove it, but by bringing them on the team now they should get first shot at resigning them if they would like to do that.

All in all I just don't think losing players to free agency is that big of a deal, they will either stay in MN or be overpaid by someone else. In other words, there is nothing you can do but be smart. If someone is willing to overpay for a jerome simpson or erin henderson kind of player then that's their choice. It's also likely that we won't need Schwarts or some of the other guys after this year anyway! But we've seen time and time again how the big FA spenders like the redskins see very little playoff success from doing so.

In the end it seems the 1 year deals are a simple solution to bandaid up some positions we will likely be heavily focused on next draft anyway, or have guys who just need a little time to develop.


Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:14 am
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
This is a two way street. The vikes are telling a guy to prove it on the field and protecting their salary cap position, so yes it is possible that if a guy does prove it, he will demand more on the open market and the Vikes could lose out. However, the Vikes should be able to gain goodwill with said players since they provided him with the opportunity to prove it in the first place. That isn’t a 100%, some guys just want to get paid, but I think there is more to the situation.

The real question IMO is if that risk/reward scenario is worse than the alternative which is to sign a guy for 4-5 years with a high cap value and then hope he pans out. As we saw with Berrian this is not always the case.

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:18 pm
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Post Re: Minnesota Vikings' one-year deals carry risks, rewards
Demi wrote:
We can't afford to be cultivating players for other teams on one year deals...


"Cultivating" players? I'm puzzled... How exactly are players who have no fewer than 4 years of experience with another team positioned to be "cultivated" further than they already have been by the team that drafted them (and that's assuming they are coming into FA from that team, a team that drafted them, coached them, and then decided to let them hit the open market)?

Most FA's are FA's for a good reason. For a select few the reason might not be as valid as for most FA's, but none of these guys are positioned to be "cultivated". That implies they made it past a minimum of 4 seasons with another team without that team ever tapping (or seeing) their vast potential, which is highly unlikely. It would be far more likely that the original team had a chance to weigh the good against the bad over a period of time and reached a conclusion that would suggest further cultivation is not worth it to them.

You have such disdain for Spielman, but he's playing his FA cards perfectly in my opinion. He's not overpaying. He's not over-committing. He's not taking the view that a need at a particular position warrants taking the best guy they can get at that position even if he's not the right guy. Spielman is taking the long-term view by signing the one-year deals, not necessarily with these particular FA's who signed the deals, with but with the team and it's long-term needs. These deals simply acknowledge there is a need at those spots, they're giving guys with some upside a chance to prove they can meet the needs, while not chaining themselves to those guys.


Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:33 pm
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