FA Notes: Spiller, Murray, Thomas, Williams

The Vikings philosophy heading into this offseason may similar to their strategy last year. The team looked for under-the-radar signings, and they were rewarded by one of their bargain contracts. Defensive tackle Tom Johnson inked a minimum one-year contract with the squad, and he ultimately finished the season with 6.5 sacks.

“Tom Johnson last year, we were patient, and he came in and did a nice job for us as an inside nickel rusher,” general manager Rick Spielman told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “A lot of times, if you can, you sit back and hopefully let the market settle a little bit.”

It sounds like the organization will be just as patient this time around, especially based on coach Mike Zimmer‘s comments.

“You use free agency to try to plug in a couple of holes here a bit,” said Zimmer. “I don’t believe we’re going to go out and pay some guy a whole bunch of money. Like when I was in Cincinnati and a lot of places, we would kind of go with the lower end of free agents, kind of coach them and hope they fit in the system.”

Let’s take a look at some rumors surrounding the league’s top free agents…

  • Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports gives a list of teams that have interest in running back C.J. Spiller (via Twitter): the Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Lions and Washington.
  • Furthermore, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com says Spiller will be an option for the Cowboys if DeMarco Murray signs elsewhere. Regardless, Florio quotes Spiller referring to himself as a “former” member of the Bills.
  • Peyton Manning‘s reduced salary doesn’t guarantee that the Broncos will bring back tight end Julius Thomas, writes Florio. The organization is still strapped financially, and Florio notes that come teams, including the Seahawks, Jaguars and Raiders, may have the money to lure him away from Denver.
  • The Lions could soon be in the market for a new defensive tackle, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press says Cardinals lineman Dan Williams is atop the team’s list of potential Ndamukong Suh replacements.
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