Carr would make a lot of sense
A somewhat lesser-known player who would make a lot of sense for the Vikings as an unrestricted free agent is backup cornerback and kick returner Chris Carr from the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans kept defensive back Vincent Fuller, who agreed to terms on a three-year contract valued at $7.5 million, including $3.3 million in the first year. As a result, Carr is very likely headed elsewhere.
The Vikings are one of four teams (Lions, Rams and Steelers the others) who have reportedly expressed an interest in signing Carr, who helped the Titans lead the league in kickoff returns last season and was also a valuable backup at cornerback.
The Vikings ranked 20th in the NFL last season in kickoff returns. Carr averaged 28.1 yards per kickoff return and 10.1 on punt returns last season.
Carr has said he preferred to re-sign with Tennessee, but would consider signing elsewhere for an opportunity at more playing time on defense.
Analysis: With Charles Gordon returning from a serious injury and Benny Sapp an unrestricted free agent of the Vikings himself, Minnesota could provide the right overall opportunity for Carr. His return stats from last year would represent a marked improvement in overall consistency for the Vikings. He also fits as a Cover 2 style cornerback who could legitimately contribute in the nickel.
Kleinsasser back in the fold
The Vikings re-signed one of their own in re-signing tight end Jim Kleinsasser, essentially ensuring that he will spend his entire NFL career in Vikings purple.
“We're excited to have Jim back,” head coach Brad Childress said. “We wanted him back, and we're glad he took time out from ice fishing to come in and sign his contract. Jim's an important part of our offense and the kind of guy you want in your locker room.”
According to an AP report, Kleinsasser agreed to a $9 million, three-year contract. The deal was consummated Saturday, giving the Carrington, North Dakota native $3.5 million guaranteed.
Over 10 seasons, Kleinsasser has only 1,466 yards and six touchdowns receiving, but he's a vital part of the Vikings' rushing attack with his ability to seal the edge.
Analysis: Over 10 seasons, Kleinsasser has caught 164 passes for 1,466 yards (8.9 avg.) and six touchdowns. But his greatest value comes as a blocker, where he is perhaps the best in the business among tight ends and a real key to sealing the edge in a running game that features Adrian Peterson. He really makes the team’s perimeter running game go and is a solid citizen and locker room guy.
Sharper to visit Saints on Monday
Safety Darren Sharper is expected to visit the New Orleans Saints on Monday, with all indications pointing toward him signing there.
Sharper, 33, would fill the Saints' most glaring need at the free safety position, and he would also provide leadership on the back end of the Saints defense under new coordinator Greg Williams. The Saints are said to have a close relationship with Sharper's agent, Joel Segal, who represents Reggie Bush, Marques Colston and Will Smith.
Kevin Kaesviharn was New Orleans' starting free safety last season, but he would likely be displaced if Sharper signs with the Saints.
Analysis: Sharper had a solid run with the Vikings, but the shift to the Cover 2 scheme did not always play to his style or strengths. He also showed signs of slipping this past season. So with the addition of Tyrell Johnson, who started some games as a rookie last season, the Vikings were ready to move on.
Troy Walters, who was originally a fifth-round draft pick by the Vikings in 2000, was recently hired as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and receivers coach at Indiana State University. Walters spent eight seasons in the NFL, including his first two with the Vikings. His father, Trent, was also an assistant coach with the Vikings during the Denny Green era in Minnesota.
The Chiefs acquiring QB Matt Cassel from the Patriots for a second-round draft pick essentially relegates former Viking Tyler Thigpen to the No. 2 role on the depth chart.
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