Is The Safety Position The Vikings Biggest Need On Defense?
Spielman’s first sign of repentance came on June 30, when the Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reported that the Vikings were among the teams to show interest in Rams safety O.J. Atogwe, who has picked off 22 passes in six seasons.
Washington ended up giving the 30-year old ballhawk a 5-year $26 million deal, which, at this point, should cause gasps: Madieu Williams, who was 26 at the time, signed a 6-year, $33 million deal with the Vikings to do exactly what Atogwe has done throughout his career.
Who can blame the Vikings though? His Vikings career spiraled the second he had that neck injury in his first training camp with the team — he was hesitant in a sport where aggression is gold. He was lauded for his coverage skills in Cincinnati, but snagged just nine interceptions in 49 games, never more than three in a season.
He wasn’t one of those guys who the ball finds. Never had gaudy interception numbers like Atogwe’s eight he posted in 2007.
It’s useless crying over a lost Atogwe now. He’s a Redskin. But it looks like Spielman and Co. are finally interested in upgrading at a position that hasn’t had high-level performers since Dwight Smith and Darren Sharper each had four interceptions during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
And those weren’t even up-and-coming, let-me-stay-awhile, entering-their-prime free agent signings or homegrown stars. They were veteran rentals passing through Minnesota on their way to their next big paycheck.
Granted, that’s unfair to say about Sharper who tallied a ridiculous nine interceptions during his first season with the Vikings at the age of 30. He wasn’t over-the-hill just yet. And Smith wasn’t even 30 when he had two of the best seasons of his journeyman career.
Safety is one of the Vikings biggest weakness on defense. Williams continued to get torched, Tyrell Johnson has been a dissapointment and Husain Abdullah while a bright spot had some injury issues last season. Williams is a realistic salary cap casualty as he is due almost 6 million this season. It’s time to upgrade at the position and put the money towards a better ball hawk. Anyone interested in Michael Huff?