The Chicago Bears announced yesterday that they are parting ways with Brian Urlacher, middle linebacker stalwart and balding man that pretty much has embodied everything about Chicago football for the last 13 years. 13 years! That number is bigger than the reading level age comparison of most of our readers! And this site's writer, too.
Point being, Brian Urlacher, a middle linebacker with some cache behind him, is on the free agent market. Your Minnesota Vikings, semi-active players in the free agency market, are in dire need of a middle linebacker for their team. Brian Urlacher, Minnesota Vikings, Brian Urlacher, Minnesota Vikings ... See where this is going? Have you choked yourself to death yet?
However unlikely this scenario seems, it's worth a discussion, even if that discussion is filled with outrage and hate towards former Chicago Bears (LOOKING AT YOU, BERRIAN). Urlacher was apparently looking for a two year contract for around $11.5 Million. The Bears (smarter than the average bear, here) stood pretty solid on an offer of one year, up to $3 Million earned. Brian got upset, probably called them a pussy, and then the team was like, "LOL, OK swaggy bro, see you later" and released a statement that said they were done trying to negotiate. BALLSY MOVE.
So that leaves Urlacher on the market, and god dammit, the Vikings seem like a likely scenario. Now, I agree with Kevin Seifert at the ESPN NFC North blog that this doesn't SEEM like a Rick Spielman type of move. Spielman's MO over the past several years has clearly been trying to get younger through the draft and using the money you have to re-sign your own players. BUT. Rick has also shown the fortitude to know when he has to reach out and cover his ass, namely, when he does something like leave a position totally devoid of talent (Hi, receivers!) and then is forced into supplementing the position through free agency.
Urlacher, for the right price, could fall into that category too. Sure, he's old, slow, injured, probably has more STDs than Minnesota State - Mankato, but that just means he'd fit right in! At least during training camp. And the whole scenario here is playing out WAY too obviously. The Vikings have exactly NO ONE who could play the middle linebacker position in Leslie Frazier's Cover-2 scheme competently right now. Maybe Audie Cole eventually, but he's seemed more like and outside linebacker, and the coaches were obviously hesitant to have him play AT ALL last year, let alone start a game. Now you think they're just going to throw him into the position? I don't think so.
It's obvious what's going to happen here, and it kills me to say this because it sounds awful. But here's my jackass prediction. The Vikings are going to sign Urlacher for two years, however much millions of dollars. They are going to draft Manti T'eo (OHGODNO) with one of their first round picks (WR with the other) and let him learn from the vet for a year. They'll cut Urlacher next year, let T'eo take over, and the rest of the NFC North will continue to make fun of us for taking their leftover scraps and referencing fake girlfriends.
How excited does that get you? Hopefully not at all.
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Jasper Brinkley wasn't the greatest, but it makes no sense to let him walk and throw money at an aging and noticeably slower Urlacher. I'd rather see them take a chance in the draft even if it's supposed to be thin at the position. After his knee injury in 2011 and missing several games with a hamstring injury last year, I question if he would even be serviceable for a year or two until someone better comes along.
@Qommie Unless Jasper's contract ends up being more, which would make sense as he's younger, and the Vikings *at least* don't sound like they'll sign Urlacher unless his asking number comes way down.
But yes, regardless, the guy sounds like he's dying on the field, so he'd be nothing more than a body and a poor one at that. If we really are still in full rebuild, youth movement despite our playoff appearance and skirting the "veteran vs. youth" mold the past few years, then I agree on drafting a stud MLB rookie and letting him sink or swim right away. If you're going to go big on a rebuild, do it or go home.
Could. Not. Agree. More.
I know we desperately need a middle linebacker and all, but oh dear god PLEASE not Cockface Urlacher.
@mikecochranewpg urlacher is 54, chad is 52
@kaykay0715 true. Shows how much I choose to care about other teams\/players.
@PJDiaries Say it ain't so, Joe. I'm still smarting from that idiotic Cassel signing. We overpaid by $2.5M per season.
@erik_thiele Is that how much his contract was? $2.5 Million per? Because having him on the team at all is probably a stretch.
I think your prediction is accurate, except for one thing. Substitute Alec Ogletree for Manti Teo. Or maybe that's just my hope.
@Lakeville Mikey I had Manti T'eo in there because that's my worst case scenario, tied with the signing of Urlacher. I'd rather have Napoleon Harris at middle for one year than Urlacher. I think.
I'm fine with it for a year... but we need some ex-lions. Come on... who is out there that we can all hate on after being signed?
@MikeFromWinnipeg That's a good question. I think they just had a safety or cornerback who signed with the 49ers or something. That would have been a solid move. Can we sign Jahvid Best's corpse?
man i have been following your blog for along time now. i am a huge vikings fan and love a lot of your articles. shit is hilarious. keep it going man.
@DrewIaconis Thanks Drew. I've seen you around somewhere before, maybe comments on the old Wordpress site? Anyway, thanks for checking us out. We'll add you to the roster of "7 People Who Read This Site."
Just kidding. It's like 8 or 9 now.