Free agency started at 3 p.m. today, but the Minnesota Vikings were off and running with team changes.
Their biggest move so far is the trade of WR Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks. Harvin, who had arguably one of his best seasons despite only playing less than nine games, had been rumored to have asked for a trade. Many off-the-field rumors led to the Harvin trade, in which the Vikings received three draft picks – a 1st-rounder and 7th-rounder in 2013 and a 3rd-rounder in 2014.
Another big move the Vikings have made is the re-signing of right tackle Phil Loadholt. The Vikings selected Loadholt in the second round in 2009, and after four solid seasons blocking for Adrian Peterson, the Vikings decided they’d like to see him in purple for the next phase of his career.
The Vikings also re-signed Joe Berger for depth on the offensive line.
Slightly more shocking free agency news came today when the Vikings made the decision to release veteran CB Antoine Winfield. Winfield was due $7.25 million in 2013, and unwilling to take a pay cut, the Vikings made the tough decision to let the veteran go. Winfield, who had arguably one of the best seasons of his career in 2012, was given the option to return to the Vikings lineup upon taking a pay cut.
“Antoine is a great football player for us. He’s another one that’s a tremendous leader and great what he does in this community,” GM Rick Spielman said. “We definitely want to keep the door open on his possible return, but at this time we had to release him in order to get him out in free agency.”
The Vikings have a few shortcomings when it comes to the wide receiver position if they don’t plan on signing any big name free agents. The Vikings did re-sign WR Jerome Simpson to a one-year deal today. Simpson, who had a less-than-spectacular 2012, will be given another shot in 2013.
Also on Tuesday, the Vikings re-signed fullback Jerome Felton, who played a key role in Adrian Peterson’s 2,000 yard season.