Friday, March 14, 2014
Vikings: Melton leaves town for more visits
By Ben Goessling
MINNEAPOLIS -- Henry Melton's time visiting the Vikings has come and gone without a contract, as evidenced by the team's confirmation of his free agent visit this morning. The Vikings have begun the practice of confirming unrestricted free agent visits once the players have left the building, so at least for now, a good rule of thumb is this: If the team announces the visit, the player's time at the team facility has concluded.
With Melton, though, that shouldn't necessarily be tantamount to the Vikings being out of the running for him. The former Chicago Bears defensive tackle is scheduled to visit the Seattle Seahawks today, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson, and could return to his hometown to visit the Dallas Cowboys after that. But based on what Bears GM Phil Emery said on Thursday, Melton plans to take a number of visits before making a decision.
"I think he's still got some teams to visit," Emery told reporters on Thursday. "We pretty much left it with [agent] Jordan [Woy] that he was gonna go through this process, and when he got through it and he had a pretty good idea of what his market is, we could talk at that time. Of course, the clock is ticking. So our resources or what we have at that time may have changed. But we'll see where we're at when that's all finished."
It remains to be seen what the Vikings would have to offer Melton, both in terms of a contract and a role for 2014. Melton is coming off a torn ACL, but received a franchise tag and a salary of $8.45 million in 2013 after making the Pro Bowl in 2012. Still, the Vikings have second-year man Sharrif Floyd at the three-technique tackle, so it's difficult to envision Melton getting anything more than a decent chunk of the playing time. On the other hand, maybe a situation where Melton could ease back into the wear and tear of the position and the Vikings could avoid putting the majority of the work on Floyd would benefit both parties.
Melton might not have an answer until he's done making the rounds with a few more teams. We'll see how things play out, and whether the Vikings turn out to be a viable option for him.