The Vikings have signed first-round draft choice Harrison Smith to a four-year deal. The Vikings announced the signing on Friday without disclosing terms. Smith is expected to challenge for a starting spot in Minnesota's inexperienced defensive backfield.
First-round pick Matt Kalil and third-rounder Josh Robinson are the only remaining Vikings draft picks who have yet to sign a contract. Both have been participating in voluntary practices this week at the team's headquarters.
Vikings FB Jerome Felton arrested on suspicion of DWI
Newly-signed Vikings fullback Jerome Felton was arrested today, June 2, by Eden Prairie Police for second-degree driving while impaired per Hennepin County Jail records, Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press reports.
So, the Vikings continue to ameliorate their image. This might open the door to the eight other fullbacks that they have on their roster.
Asher Allen retires
On Wednesday, May 30, Vikings' CB Asher Allen retired, a curious decision for a 24-year-old who was about to enter only his fourth NFL season. The Vikings drafted him in the third round in 2009 out of the University of Georgia.
"I didn't see that coming," Coach Leslie Frazier said after the team held an optional practice, officially making for the 186th thing he "didn't see coming" since being the head coach of this team. "Everybody has to make decisions that they think are best for them." According to Frazier, Allen did not say whether it was related to injuries.
Allen epitomizes why the Vikings find themselves in their current state of affairs: horrible drafting. Like Marcus McCauley before him, and Josh Robinson this year, Allen was selected in what appears to be Rick Spielman's preferred round for acquiring cornerbacks. Allen was considered by many to be no better than a fourth or fifth-round draft pick in 2009 when the Vikings' brain trust chose him in the third.
Allen had four interceptions in his career but mostly struggled since day one. In fact, there was no guarantee that he would even make the roster this upcoming season after the Vikings signed veteran cornerbacks Zachary Bowman and Chris Carr, drafted Robinson and Chris Cook returns following a year of off-the-field issues.
With that said, though, even those fans who believe the Vikings are an improved team without Allen on it cannot see this as anything but another immense failure on Spielman and the Vikings. There is an expectation that players selected in the first three-rounds of the draft are going to contribute for many years to come. To have reached for Allen in the first place only to discover soon thereafter that he wasn't capable of playing in the league was bad enough. But now, after Allen's premature retirement, it is as though the Vikings did not even have a third-round pick in 2009 coming off of a year in which they traded two third-round picks (and a first) to Kansas City for Jared Allen; and also, having traded their third-round picks in both 2010 (to Houston in order to move up in the second-round and draft Toby Gerhart), as well as 2011 (to New England for Randy Moss). That's five third-round picks in four years, folks.
And, if that has Viking fans reaching for the Alka-Seltzer, this next part might have them reaching for something slightly more potent... perhaps a Glock.
It was but two picks after the Vikings selected Allen in the third-round of the 2009 NFL Draft (86th overall) that the Baltimore Ravens selected CB Lardarius Webb (88th overall).
Webb has emerged as one of the best and most versatile cornerbacks in the league. He was ranked as Pro Football Focus's second best cornerback in coverage a season ago behind only Darrelle Revis. His play earned him a new six-year, $52.74 million contract with Baltimore this past off-season. What is more, Webb is highly active in youth-based charities in the Baltimore community and was among the finalists for the NFL Man-of-the-Year Award eventually won by his teammate and, as coincidence would have it, former Viking Matt Birk.
But on the bright side, with Allen retiring, the Vikings have only three cornerbacks who will be free agents at the end of next season instead of four.
Frazier's ego gets ahead of his brain
There were many in the media providing Leslie Frazier with a bulletproof vest for this upcoming season since GM Rick Spielman has gutted the franchise in the name of a youth-movement.
But in a Wednesday, May 30, column by Star Tribune's Mark Craig, Frazier may have become the first head coach in NFL history to turn down a "get out of jail free" card.
"When we're building a team, it's we. It's not Rick," Frazier said Wednesday after the team's second day of organized team activities practices. "Rick could not build this team without the head coach being in concert with him in doing that. That wouldn't be good for he or I."It will be interesting to see whether Frazier changes his tone if the Vikings have as rough a year as many are forecasting.
The Amazing Race?
You know there isn't a whole lot going on in Vikings Land -- or the NFL for that matter -- when this actually becomes news.
Let's hope the Vikings have a better sense of direction when it comes to the team itself.
Either the Vikings do not know where Charleston is or Dan C. has no idea where he is living. Check out the 37 second mark of the Vikings.com video here. (There is no Charleston, North Carolina.)
On second thought...
The NFL will be keeping the Pro Bowl after all.
This means ESPN's Monday Night Football crew can go right on referring to an alternate player having accepted an invitation to play in the extravaganza only after the first three players having been invited managed to find an excuse not to attend as a "Pro-Bowler."