Found May 28, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
Tampa_bay_buccaneers_a2c8
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings were content with patiently waiting out the opening weeks of free agency in March, not willing to jump into the bidding for high-priced free-agents that could provide an immediate boost to a team coming off a 3-13 season. General manager Rick Spielman had a plan and was sticking to it. While big-name, and big-money, players headed elsewhere, Minnesota stayed in the background seeking bargains. In the first wave of free agency, the Vikings seemed to have only one player they wanted to act aggressively on -- John Carlson. The search for another pass-catching tight end demonstrated the desire to further develop offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's preferred two tight-end sets. Carlson, the team thought, would be a good complement to second-year tight end Kyle Rudolph and give second-year quarterback Christian Ponder more options. "You've got the young quarterback," Spielman said at the draft. "We were able to go out and get John Carlson. So we're trying to accumulate that talent on offense that will be playing together the next four or five years. I know we do have to address the defense and we will continue to look at that and address that as we continue through this draft, but to say that you can get an offense that is going to be playing together the next four or five years, that continuity and everybody knowing what everyone is doing hopefully will pay benefits for us." Carlson still isn't sure what his role will be in Minnesota with Rudolph also looking to be more involved in the offense. He wasn't worried about his role either. Carlson, like many of the league's other tight ends have seen the increased relevancy of the position in team's passing games. Carlson, Rudolph and other tight ends around the league noticed how the New England Patriots employ Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. They've seen the versatility and big-play ability of New Orleans' Jimmy Graham and Green Bay's Jermichael Finley. Musgrave, Carlson, Rudolph and the Vikings have many of those same visions dancing in their heads with the ability to pair Carlson and Rudolph, both former Notre Dame standouts. "I'm excited because Kyle is here and to be able to play with another tight end like that, you've seen it around the league, it's possible to use two guys at the tight end position on the field at the same time and to have success," Carlson said. "So I'm excited about that. I'm excited about how young the offense is and what they're building here. I'm excited about the running game, like I said. What my role will be, I'm not sure, but my goal is always to be a well-rounded tight end and contribute in the running game and contribute in the pass game (by) catching the ball, then to pass block when I'm asked to. So if I continue to improve in those areas, my role will kind of be revealed as the season goes, as our offense develops and identity." An identity for the offense would be a big step for Minnesota. A midseason switch at quarterback from Donovan McNabb to Ponder changed the dynamics of the offense. Star running back Adrian Peterson dealt with injuries. Ponder and Rudolph had rollercoaster rookie seasons. Starting receiver Bernard Berrian was cut. His replacement in the starting lineup, Michael Jenkins, missed the end of the season with a knee injury. To top it off, the offensive line never gelled. Musgrave came from Atlanta and was expected to make the tight ends a major part of the passing offense. In the end, Rudolph and Visanthe Shiancoe combined to catch just 62 passes. Shiancoe and his 36 catches, 409 yards and three touchdowns were allowed to reach free agency and the Vikings didn't have much interest in bringing back the 31-year-old. Instead, Minnesota signed the 28-year-old Carlson to a five-year deal worth a reported 25 million. Carlson, a second-round draft choice by the Seattle Seahawks in 2008, had 137 catches in his first three seasons. In one respect, Carlson might fit Spielman's philosophy of trying to buy low after Carlson missed the entire 2011 season after surgery to repair torn labrum in his left shoulder. Carlson says he's completely healthy now and Spielman saw the talent on game film. "The thing that I think was most appealing was, we had our meetings with Bill Musgrave and the offensive staff, is having a player and how they can utilize his skill set and how they can utilize Kyle Rudolph's skill set in games," Spielman said after the team signed Carlson. "John gives you a lot of versatility from being able to split out wide and put in as an H-back to also on the line of scrimmage." And his familiarity should shrink any adjustment period. A Litchfield, Minn. native, Carlson was open to the idea of returning home when approached by Spielman. Add in the growing Notre Dame contingent -- four other players, including former Irish teammate John Sullivan -- and he could feel right at home soon. "I came in in March and signed and kind of left town and it didn't really feel real," Carlson said. "So now to get back here and be working out and meet the guys and get in the meeting room and do all that stuff, it feels good." The Vikings made Carlson their top target in free agency. Now they are hoping he'll be a reliable target on the field. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Vikings continue to pick the well of Notre Dame

In what was touted as a weak draft for safety talent the Minnesota Vikings selection of Harrison Smith was no surprise as they continued to select players from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Johnson isn't worried about move to guard

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Matt Kalil was visiting the Minnesota Vikings facilities the day after being the fourth-overall pick by the team in the NFL draft when he came face-to-face with Charlie Johnson, the man who's spot at left tackle he was taking. It was a meeting Minnesota offensive line coach Jeff Davidson had prompted and one he wanted to get out of the way quickly. The message...

Minnesota Vikings: Nick Taylor’s Talents Made Room For Former Point Guard in NFL

Oftentimes, when a door closes, another opens—either by chance or through an opportunity.   Photo Via TheVikingAge.com There are many times when the abilities of extremely talented individuals are nearly impossible to ignore.  That’s a fitting description for Nick Taylor.  Despite being labeled undersized, Taylor’s talents allowed him to get recognized. The Minnesota Vikings...

Naming rights to Vikings stadium could bring in $400 million

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is expected to receive about $15 million a year from the corporate naming rights of the team's new stadium. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that naming rights would command more than $400 million in team revenue over the course of the 30-year lease. The team invested $477 million into the $975 million stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2016.

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority created

Their job will be to keep construction of a 975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium on budget. They will hammer out details of a 30-year lease binding the team to Minnesota for another generation and turn the lights on in a new arena as it hosts everything from high school sports tournaments to monster truck jams. Five appointed members will make up the new Minnesota Sports Facilities...

Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Football Projections

QB Christian Ponder (Minnesota) Christian Ponder should start 16 games this year. Unlike last year, he’s the week 1 starter and unlike last year, he has a capable blindside protector so he’s less likely to miss time with injury. As a team, the Vikings passed 510 times last year. That seems about right for Ponder, who should improve upon his 6.4 YPA from last year as he goes into...

Progress will take time in loaded NFC North

As the Minnesota Vikings convene at Winter Park today for the start of organized team activities, they are trying to erase the stigma of a 3-13 record that tied the franchise mark for futility in a 16-game season. The NFL presents rags-to-riches stories every season. Though the players and coaches won't publicly acknowledge the obvious, Minnesota isn't so concerned with...

QUICK HITS: 2012 NFL Draft-or-Bust Off on Robert Blanton

Welcome to Purple Jesus Diaries' 2012 NFL Draft-or-Bust Off where we cover all items related to the 2012 NFL Draft as pertains to the Minnesota Vikings. At this point in the year, we will continue reviewing this crop of draft picks. We've already looked at Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson, Jarius Wright, Rhett Ellison, and Greg Childs, so today we start to...

Stop Everything, Chris Kluwe is Playing the Sitar

Everyone, stop what you're doing and watch this video on Facebook: Chris Kluwe, the formidable punter of the Minnesota Vikings and extreme bassist of local band Tripping Icarus, is playing the sitar. Should it be surprising that it sounds pretty awesome? Also, just as an aside, nice zoom in on the boobs. And I do like how Kluwe wears a Vikings hat on the reg. Good for you...

History predicts drop in Peterson's production

By JOHN HOLLER VikingUpdate.com The biggest offseason question lingering around the Vikings is the health of Adrian Peterson. The NFL's preeminent running back through his first five seasons, Peterson suffered a torn ACL and MCL against the Washington Redskins in December and put his future in doubt. Peterson is looking to reverse history, but, unfortunately, the numbers don...

Plumbing the NFC North Depths: Running Back and Fullback

Yesterday, we looked at the wide receivers and tight ends throughout the division, and corrected a couple errors that I made in misclassifying a receiver or two for Green Bay. Tonight, we'll turn our attention to the running backs and fullbacks. Bears 2011: Matt Forte, Marion Barber, Kahlil Bell, Armando Allen / Tyler Clutts, Kyle Adams2012: Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Kahlil...

Plumbing the NFC North Depths: Wide Receivers

Way back when in January, when the Bears unceremoniously told Jerry Angelo to walk out the door (and later, Mike Martz showed himself out), much ado was made of "bridging the talent gap," a phrase I looked at as kind of a summary of how much work the Bears had to do this offseason to make up the difference between themselves and a division that hosted the number one seed...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.