The franchise tag will be available for NFL teams to use on February 10, according to Boston Globe reporter Greg Bedard.
Who, then, among the Vikings free agents should be tagged?
In my estimation, these are the most valuable free agents to the Vikings, in order:
- Chad Greenway
- Sidney Rice
- Ray Edwards
- Brian Robison
- Pat Williams
- Ben Leber
- Ryan Longwell
Take Ray Edwards and Pat Williams off the list right away because it sure sounds like they’re pretty bent on leaving anyway. If you let Edwards walk, then I think you need to retain Brian Robison but he’s probably going to be pretty affordable.
Ben Leber may or may not be retainable depending upon what type of interest he draws around the league. If he’s affordable, I’d think the Vikings would resign him but he’s not worth a franchise tag.
Chad Greenway has improved every year he’s been with the team and is coming off a Pro Bowl-caliber season. He’s the best linebacker on the team right now and he’s a proven commodity. Standout linebackers like Greenway are hard to come by, so I’d think the Vikings would make him a priority by rewarding him for his performance and keeping him happy with a nice deal.
That leaves us with Sidney Rice and Ryan Longwell.
While I think Ryan Longwell is very important to this team, has any team ever used the franchise tag on a kicker? I don’t think so.
That leaves us with Mr. Sidney Rice, who had one elite season with a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing him the ball but otherwise has merely shown glimpses of why he’s so awesome.
We need more proof of consistency and, more importantly, health, before it’d be wise to invest the Top Five Receiver money he’ll be asking for.
Franchise his ass and give him a year to prove he’s worth more money, especially after he screwed us over with his delayed decision to have hip surgery.
Misery loves company for your Throwback Thursday today. So I give you 1976 and the highlights of the closest Super Bowl the Vikings ever played in, the 16-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX. [WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS.]