Minnesota Vikings Rumors & News

Chad Greenway On Future

Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf has accepted a new contract in Green Bay and withdrawn from the 49ers’ search for a general manager, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today. He’s the second candidate this week to bow out of San Francisco’s hunt for a GM, joining Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner. One of Wolf’s colleagues in Green Bay, director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, and Vikings assistant GM George Paton are continuing to vie for the 49er job and will conduct second interviews with the team next week.

  • Pending free agent linebacker Chad Greenway is either going to re-sign with the Vikings or retire, the 34-year-old told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. “If playing in Minnesota for another year is an option — and pretty much all season, I’ve felt like this is going to be my last year — and now I’m just trying to make sure that decision is the one I want to make,” said Greenway. “I’ve lived every day like I wanted to, like it could be my last game in the NFL, and I enjoyed the season. Now I can take some time and think about it, and we’ll come to a decision real soon.” Greenway is the longest-tenured current Viking, having spent his entire career with the team since it selected him 17th overall in 2006. In 2016 – his 11th year – the remarkably durable Greenway logged his 10th season consisting of 16 appearances, though he recorded career lows in starts (nine) and tackles (41).

A. Peterson Interested In Texans, Bucs, Giants

With his tenure in Minnesota potentially set to end this offseason, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson already has a few potential employers on his radar. The seven-time Pro Bowler revealed Thursday on ESPN that he’s interested in the Texans, Buccaneers and Giants.

Adrian Peterson (vertical)

Of course, in order for Peterson to join another team, the Vikings are going to have to part with him first. The soon-to-be 32-year-old stated that he’d like to remain a Viking. That would require a construct restructuring, though, as Peterson’s slated for an $11.75MM salary and $18MM cap number in 2017. Those are each unpalatable figures given his age and injury-truncated 2016, which saw him tear his meniscus in Week 2 and rack up a meager 72 yards on 37 carries.

With a $6MM roster bonus due March 11, an answer on Peterson’s future is coming soon, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Considering Peterson isn’t a fan of going through the offseason program and training camp, he could force his release and sign with a club closer to the start of the regular season, Florio observes.

Of the franchises Peterson is targeting, Houston stands out as the one that clearly isn’t a fit. While the Texans play in Peterson’s home state, they already have a starting running back in Lamar Miller, whom they gave $14MM in guarantees on a four-year, $26MM deal in free agency last winter.

The Bucs also doled out big money to a back a year ago in re-signing Doug Martin, but his future with the team is in question as a result of a late-2016 suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. In addition to costing him one game this season and three in 2017, the ban voided Martin’s $7MM in guarantees for next season. Theoretically, then, Tampa Bay could jettison him for Peterson if it wants.

The Giants, meanwhile, have a slew of rushers, though there might not be a bell cow among them. Paul Perkins, who had a decent rookie year, stands out as the most promising back New York has. Veterans Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen could end up on the chopping block this offseason. Even if they don’t, neither is a No. 1-caliber rusher.

Peterson, on the other hand, is one of the premier backs in NFL history. Although his 2016 was nightmarish, he isn’t far removed from winning the league’s rushing title in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Hire TE Coach Clancy Barone

  • The Vikings have hired former Denver offensive line coach Clancy Barone as their tight ends coach, reports Mike Klis of 9NEWS (Twitter link). Barone, an NFL coach since 2004, wasn’t retained after the Broncos hired new head coach Vance Joseph. Minnesota finished the season without a formal tight ends coach, as Pat Shurmur, who began the year in that role, was promoted to interim offensive coordinator.

NFLPA Announces Cap Carryover Amounts

The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.

Here are this year’s carryover totals:

  1. Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
  3. San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
  4. Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
  5. Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
  6. Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
  7. Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
  8. Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
  9. Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
  10. Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
  11. Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
  12. Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
  13. Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
  14. Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
  15. New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
  16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
  17. New England Patriots: $5,292,335
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
  19. Houston Texans: $4,935,924
  20. Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
  21. Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
  23. Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
  24. Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
  25. Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
  26. Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
  27. New York Giants: $1,800,000
  28. Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
  29. Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
  30. New York Jets: $371,487
  31. Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
  32. Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693

49ers To Interview George Paton Again

Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf is among the general manager candidates the 49ers and soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan will invite to Atlanta for an interview next week, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). The team will also conduct second meetings with one of Wolf’s Packers colleagues, Brian Gutekunst, and Vikings assistant GM George Paton, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Kyle Shanahan Likely To Become 49ers’ HC

As of Tuesday evening, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan wasn’t a lock to accept the 49ers’ forthcoming offer to become their head coach. However, Shanahan’s now “almost certain” to take the job, reports Mike Silver of NFL.com.

Kyle Shanahan

With Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable having withdrawn from the race this week, Shanahan is the last man standing among the eight candidates the 49ers have interviewed. The rest have accepted head coaching positions elsewhere. Thus, in the unlikely event Shanahan turns San Francisco down, it would send CEO Jed York and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe scrambling to hit the reset button on their search to replace Chip Kelly.

The 49ers are also on the hunt for a new general manager, of course, and lost one candidate when Cable’s Seattle colleague, co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, took himself out of consideration Tuesday. Of the GM possibilities the Niners have considered, Kirchner, fellow Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer and Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard would have preferred to work with Cable, according to Silver. The Chiefs prevented Ballard from talking to the 49ers, though, and awarded him a pay raise as compensation, Silver writes.

Cable has another fan in defensive coordinator-to-be Gus Bradley, who would have gone to San Francisco had it hired Cable. Instead, after Cable dropped out of contention Tuesday, Bradley spurned the 49ers when they asked if he’d be interested in teaming with Shanahan. It appears, then, that Bradley will become the Chargers’ D-coordinator.

Shanahan is currently preparing for Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Falcons and Packers. If Atlanta advances to Super Bowl LI, the 49ers wouldn’t be able to hire him until after Feb. 5. Regardless, he’ll have a second interview with the Niners next week and will discuss GM choices with team brass. Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst remains the favorite, relays Silver, who adds that Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Vikings assistant GM George Paton are also strong contenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Guarantee Shanahan Accepts 49ers Job?

Now that Tom Cable and Josh McDaniels have each dropped out of the 49ers’ head coaching search, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is the last man standing and is fully expected to be offered the position. However, Shanahan is not a lock to accept the job, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links), who notes that an upcoming meeting between the two parties could play a key role in Shanahan’s decision.Kyle Shanahan (Vertical)

[RELATED: 2017 Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Shanahan will reportedly discuss potential general manager candidates with San Francisco management during his second interview, and the 49ers are now narrowing down their list of executives, tweets Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner withdrew his name from the search earlier today, but four other candidates — Brian Gutekunst (Packers), Terry McDonough (Cardinals), George Paton (Vikings) and Eliot Wolf (Packers) — all had “strong” initial interviews, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

According to Barrows, Kirchner believed that he and Cable were being used as something of pawns in order to drive Shanahan’s contract demands down. Shanahan does have tremendous leverage, as La Canfora adds (Twitter link), and would certainly be in high demand as a head coach in 2018. But the 49ers job is his last chance to land a head coaching gig during this hiring cycle, as every other vacancy has been filled.

If Shanahan does turn down the 49ers, San Francisco would truly return to square one. Outside of Cable and McDaniels, every other coaching candidate the club interviewed (or had planned to interview), including Doug Marrone, Vance Joseph, Sean McVay, Sean McDermott, and Anthony Lynn, has been hired elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Hire College OC As RBs Coach

  • The Vikings hired UCLA offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu as their running backs coach, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. The 53-year-old uncle of Troy Polamalu, Kennedy served as OC for both USC and UCLA during this decade but previously worked as an NFL running backs instructor. He coached the Browns’ and Jaguars’ backs from 2004-09. Minnesota also interviewed running backs coaches Marcel Shipp and Skip Peete for this position, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Caplan adds previous Vikings RBs coach Kevin Stefanski will likely transition to another coaching position with the team next season. A Vikings coach since 2006, Stefanski served as the team’s tight ends coach during the 2013 and ’14 seasons.

Mike Zimmer Does Not Know When Bridgewater Will Return

We already knew that the Vikings will open up the 2017 season with Sam Bradford under center, but given the success that he has experienced in his young career, there is no reason to believe that Teddy Bridgewater would not get the opportunity to win his job back when he returns from his ACL injury.

Teddy Bridgewater (vertical)

The problem is, no one knows when that will be. Head coach Mike Zimmer, who made a guest appearance on ESPN this morning, said during his interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm, “We don’t know when Teddy will be back” (link via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).

Bridgewater’s injury, of course, was especially gruesome, leading some to question whether he would ever be able to return to the field. Back in October, one doctor who has worked with NFL teams said, “This is a bad injury, about the worst knee injury a player can have.”

Both Bradford and Bridgewater are under contract through 2017, and although Bradford will account for a sizable $17MM against the salary cap next year, Bridgewater is still on his rookie deal and will count just $2.18MM against the cap. Bradford played reasonably well this year, his first in Minnesota, and it is possible that, if the Vikings shore up their running game and offensive line, they could return to the playoffs with Bradford at the helm.

But Bridgewater, despite his struggles in the deep passing game, has demonstrated that he could be the team’s long-term solution under center if he can get healthy. Zimmer’s somewhat ominous statement, though, has cast some doubt on that proposition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.