Free agency is set to kick off on March 9. The Vikings are currently $37.9 million under the salary cap according to overthecap.com
Given their struggles the past three seasons with the offensive line, they are likely going to be aggressive in trying to sign some lineman. Free agency can really help, but can also really hurt at times too. Teams invest plenty of money in players who sometimes do not pan out due to injuries, different schemes or just don’t have enough determination as they did before they got the huge contracts.
Here is a look at the worst free agent signings in Vikings history:
1. Fred Smoot (cornerback)
Signed to a six-year/$36 million deal in 2005, Smoot did not perform well during his two years with the Vikings. He was known more though for taking part in the infamous boat scandal. He was allegedly the one that set up the boat party.
2. Madieu Williams (safety)
Signed to a six-year/$33 million deal in 2008. Williams missed the first seven games of the season with a neck injury, but played ok when he returned. He struggled in 2009 and 2010 and was released during training camp in 2011.
3. Bernard Berrian (wide receiver)
Signed to a six-year/$42 million deal in 2008, Berrian got off to fast start during his time with the Vikings. He recorded 48 receptions for 964 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the league with 20.1 yards per catch. He caught a 99-yard touchdown against his former team – Chicago Bears and also returned a punt for a 82 yard touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals.
The next season, his role decreased with Brett Favre under center. Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin were more involved than Berrian. He also dealt with a hamstring injury throughout the season. He had 55 catches for 618 yards and four touchdowns. In 2010 he had 28 receptions for 252 yards and no touchdowns in 2010. He was released during the 2011 season, where he had seven receptions for 91 yards and no touchdowns in five games.
4. John Carlson (tight end)
The Minnesota native was signed to a 5-year/$25 million deal in 2012. In two seasons with the Vikings he had 40 receptions for 387 yards and a touchdown in 27 games. He had only eight receptions in 14 games in 2012.
The Vikings were hoping he and Kyle Rudolph would make a nice tight end duo. That did not happen.
5. Byron Chamberlain (tight end)
Made the Pro Bowl during his first season with the Vikings in 2001 with 57 receptions for 666 yards and three touchdowns. He was re-signed for five years the next season, but his play slipped after that. He had 34 receptions for 389 yards and no touchdowns in 13 games. He was suspended the first four games in 2003 for testing positive for ephedra. After his suspension ended he showed up overweight and was released.
Free agents signings often look very good on paper, but again they do not always pan out.
General manager Rick Spielman has said numerous times that the draft is the best way to build, but free agency can still help though. Being too reliant on it can cause some big cap problems down the road.
The Vikings though have done well in free agency for the most part. Those signings listed above though prove that you do not always get what you expect and pay for.