Coming off a 3-13 season and with a young QB they’re hoping will be the long-term answer, the Vikings entered this offseason clearly recognizing that it was time to rebuild the roster. Unfortunately, rebuilding the roster is a process that requires separating from key members of previously successful teams. And that’s exactly what the Vikings did on Saturday.
In releasing CB Cedric Griffin and OGs Anthony Herrera and Steve Hutchinson, the Vikings parted ways with three players who were all starters when the team won back-to-back division titles in 2008 and 2009 and then went to the NFC Championship Game after the ’09 season. While it’s hard to cut ties with players who were such important contributors on the field and – in the case of those three individuals – off the field as well, it’s also a necessary part of the process.
It’s been reported elsewhere that the total salary cap savings in releasing Griffin ($3.65 million), Herrera ($2.75M) and Hutchinson ($7.0M) will give the Vikings approximately $23 million in cap space to either re-sign or restructure the contracts of current players and pursue free agents on the open market. Recently I’ve been under the impression that the Vikings would not be candidates to sign a blue-chip free agent this year and would instead wait until next year – when they’re likely to be in better position to make a run – to make splashy moves. But now, with the salary cap space generated by these moves, will the Vikings take a more aggressive approach? Only time will tell.
For now, we can be sure that the Vikings are in full rebuilding mode and that the front office is clearly willing to make tough decisions to improve the product on the field. Releasing those three veteran players was indeed a tough decision, but also one that indicates a commitment to improving the roster.
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The Vikings on Saturday announced the release of 3 veteran players – CB Cedric Griffin and OGs Anthony Herrera and Steve Hutchinson.
“It was a tough decision as we move forward and prepare for the upcoming season and the future of our organization,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “All three individuals have meant a great deal to the Vikings organization both on and off field over the years. We wish all of them the best and thank them for their service to the Minnesota Vikings.”
All 3 players had been core members of the team for the past several seasons and played key roles in the team winning back-to-back division titles in 2008 and 2009 as well as making a run to the NFC Championship Game after the 2009 season. It’s likely that a combination of factors – clearing salary cap room, performance and rebuilding the roster – factored into the decisions to part ways with the players.
We’ll have more reaction to these moves and analysis and what it means for the future of the Vikings soon.
Tags: Anthony Herrera, Cedric Griffin, Leslie Frazier, Steve Hutchinson
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