ChatWrap: Why sign Brian Urlacher now?

One of the persistent themes of Tuesday's SportsNation chat was a Chicago Sun-Times report suggesting that free-agent linebacker Brian Urlacher was leaning toward signing with the Minnesota Vikings.

My sense at the time: The Vikings are in no rush to sign Urlacher at this point in the offseason. (Coach Leslie Frazier indicated as much during an interview Wednesday morning on NFL Network.) Here are the relevant exchanges from our chat:

HÃ¥vard (Norway)

Hi. What do you think about the rumours of Urlacher leaning towards Minnesota? Do you believe he has enough left in the tank to be a good one-year solution for Minnesota? What is in your opinion the best alternative for middle linebacker? Thanks for a interesting and entertaining blog, also for us Scandinavians!!

Kevin Seifert (2:10 PM)

Hey, do I know you? Anyway, my take is there shouldn't be a rush for the Vikings to sign Urlacher. If they didn't do it right after the draft, the guess is they want to see how their young players and/or Erin Henderson look at the position before signing a veteran.

Tom (Brooklyn)

Does the more time that passes without Urlacher signing with anyone make it more likely that he retires? After what the Bears did in the draft, the doors seems closed on a return to Chicago.

Kevin Seifert (2:23 PM)

Seems to be the best scenario for him is a team, possibly the Vikings, to decide it doesn't like its current options and wants a veteran presence. That could happen over the summer or just before training camp.

Beau (London . . (CANADA!))

If the Vikings do bring in Urlacher, do you really see any downside? They don't have a solid Mike at the moment and if they want to transition someone into the spot (Audie Cole, Henderson or [Michael] Mauti) wouldn't that be the perfect player to ease them into it for the season after?

Kevin Seifert (2:31 PM)

What if they don't think Urlacher can play anymore? That would be a downside. The Bears were clearly ambivalent at best about the possibility.

Wednesday morning, Frazier said: "At this point we want to look at the guys on our roster, give them a chance to compete for the middle linebacker position then we'll see where it takes us."

That seems a perfectly logical approach, assuming Urlacher doesn't have a mystery suitor ready to snatch him up at any moment.

The Vikings plan to take a spring look at outside linebacker Erin Henderson in the middle. That is exactly what OTAs are for. If they like what they see from Henderson, they'll move forward with him in training camp. If not, chances are Urlacher will still be available late next month or even in July. As we've discussed, Urlacher's most likely landing spot (if any) is with a team that decides after OTAs that it doesn't like its internal options at his position.