The NFL free-agency period is just around the corner. It opens in less than two weeks on March 11.
That means this time of year speculation is running rampant in the NFL as teams try to identify which of their needs they want to fill through the draft and which can be filled through free-agency.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has indicated that he usually chooses to build teams through the draft, but Spielman has shown an interest in free agency when the time is right.
The MMQB outlined a list of the top-50 free agents, and writer Greg Bedard has identified two of them as "best fits" for the Vikings, including the fourth ranked free agent, Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson.
Johnson's sacks slid a bit in 2013, but NFL.com reports that he remains an effective defensive end. Johnson is stout against the run and he was among the leading defensive ends in batted passes and quarterback hurries.
Bedard believes it's Johnson's relationship with new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer that gives the Vikings the inside track.
The franchise kept him off the market last season. Likely won’t happen again. He’s a physical freak at 6-7 and 260 pounds and tough against the run, but could improve as pass-rusher. Best fit: Vikings. New coach Mike Zimmer gives them an edge.
The other player Bedard believes is a best fit for the Vikings is one of the Vikings own free agents, Everson Griffen. He ranks Griffen at 36 on the list of the Top 50 Free Agents. NFL.com has Griffen ranked 22nd.
Though never a starter, NFL.com says Griffen has flashed dominant pass-rushing ability as a highly athletic and versatile nickel-package specialist.
Bedard believes with the likely departure of Jared Allen from the Vikings that Griffen will stay in Minnesota.
Had to sit behind Jared Allen and Brian Robison with the Vikings, but the 6-3, 273-pound Griffen is no secret. He can play anywhere up front, including as a standup OLB. Best fit: Vikings. With Jared Allen likely gone, Vikings need to retain Griffen.
The Vikings are also believed to be interested in former Cleveland linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. He was cut by Cleveland before a $4.8 million roster bonus. The former-second round pick has visits scheduled with the Titans and Broncos; and maybe to the Vikings next week, according to CBS Sports.
Jackson ranks in at number 51 on NFL.com's list of the league's 101 top free agents.