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with Sean Jensen and Don Seeholzer

Stop back often because Sean and Don regularly posts updates to your comments. Leave your comments and questions by clicking on the comments link below each post.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Culpepper to return to Metrodome in silver and black

Former Viking Daunte Culpepper is now an Oakland Raider.

Culpepper, who was released by the Miami Dolphins last month, had been looking for a one-year deal, so he could prove that he is still a franchise quarterback. It is unclear what the terms of his deal were with the Raiders.

But the NFL Network reported the Raiders were expected to sign him to a one-year deal. The NFL Network also reported that Culpepper held a private workout for a member of the Raiders' personnel department July 30 in Florida.

Interestingly, the Raiders are scheduled to play the Vikings at the Metrodome on Nov. 18.

Given No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell's holdout, Culpepper could take over the starting quarterback spot.

Todd "Forrest" Lowber?

Wanted to share a pretty funny comment from Vikings coach Brad Childress about rookie receiver Todd Lowber, the former Division III basketball and high jump champion.

Asked what Lowber has shown him so far, Childress said, "He has shown that he hasn’t played much football, and I think it probably qualifies if that’s the first time that he has had shoulder pads on.

"That would qualify as not much football, but he is a wonderful athlete," Childress said. "He’s a little bit like Forrest Gump now, and sometimes we kid him about that. It’s like, run, Todd, run. He can run and run and run and run and run and run, and yet had a pretty good hand-eye."

On a serious note, Childress applauded Lowber's hand-eye coordination and, of course, praised his potential.

"He is just continuing to grow," Childress said. "A lot of the things he is experiencing for the very first time ever.

McKinnie to return

Vikings LT Bryant McKinnie, who has been on the physically unable to perform list, is expected to practice for the first time this training camp on Wednesday.

Veteran Artis Hicks has filled in for him up to this point.

Taylor has minor injury

RB Chester Taylor, who left practice early this morning, has a forearm bruise, according to Vikings coach Brad Childress.

Taylor immediately iced the arm and had X-rays. Childress provided no timetable for Taylor's return.

Taylor injured, Bevell screaming

Chester Taylor was accompanied off the field by a trainer. The good news is, he walked off the field on his own, without limping.

The wheels, in other words, are OK.

It appears to be a right arm injury.

You know things are bad when offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell starts screaming.

The Vikings are in Blakeslee Stadium, and Tarvaris Jackson just threw a pick to the last player he would have targeted, S Dwight Smith.

Smith has antagonized Jackson throughout camp, and he just intercepted an overthrown pass intended for Tony Richardson.

A few plays later, Adrian Peterson fumbled for a second consecutive day. At least this time, he didn't lose the ball.

Is fumbling going to be a concern for him?

After the fumble, the usually reserved Bevell yelled, "Clean it up! Clean it up! Let's play some football."

Sharper back

S Darren Sharper is on the practice field, and returned to the starting lineup. Veteran Mike Doss had filled in for him.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wilf on passing of Walsh

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf issued a statement on the passing of legendary San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh.
"The Minnesota Vikings’ family is saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Walsh," Wilf said. "Coach Walsh’s immense impact on the game of football will continue for decades to come, ensured by his stunning on-field success, his brilliant pioneering in the areas of coaching and game strategy, and his legacy of numerous coaching pupils.
"However, it was his impeccable personal character and integrity, his commitment to diversity, and his dedication to excellence that led me, as a new owner in the NFL, to personally seek advice from Coach Walsh for building a first-class organization," Wilf said. "We wanted to learn from the best, and the lessons of Bill Walsh, both the coach and the man, will live on forever in our hearts."

Practice seven wrap up

It was a sloppy afternoon practice, but there was a positive for the offense to build off of. Tarvaris Jackson threw an interception to Antoine Winfield, and Adrian Peterson fumbled and lost an exchange. But, Jackson connected with a receiver on a long pass.

Receiver Bobby Wade had at least a full step on CB Ronyell Whitaker, and Jackson recognized the opportunity. He launched a perfect pass down the field, which Wade caught in stride. The play would have been at least a 75-yard touchdown.

Now that's how to celebrate

CB Charles Gordon picked off a Brooks Bollinger pass, compelling an enthusiastic reaction from his position coach.

Defensive backs coach Joe Woods sprinted down the sideline at least 35 yards and exchanged a jumping high five with Gordon.

Practice six wrap-up

Fans enjoyed a fun practice this morning.

Adrian Peterson flashed that explosive speed on a few runs, although it was limited contact.

But I was most impressed with a catch by Troy Williamson. On third and six, Tarvaris Jackson rifled a pass toward Williamson, who was closely defended by Cedric Griffin. But Williamson snatched the ball with Griffin all over him for the first down.

Very encouraging play for the offense, both because Jackson made the pass and because Williamson made a tough catch.

In other news, Ben Leber, Brian Robison and Visanthe Shiancoe returned to practice.

After practice, Peterson signed autographs and conducted a press conference.

He said he is all set physically, and he's excited to have the collarbone injury behind him.

Asked about full contact, he said, "Oh, I'm ready for that. This is football."

He said he'd like to be Rookie of the Year.

"Some people say I'm crazy," he said. "But I set my bar high."

Peterson on the field

Take a deep breath, Viking fans.

Adrian has arrived.

Around 7:43 a.m., Peterson stepped onto the practice fields at Minnesota State, and he received quite a greeting from fans.

Apparently, the Vikings had no concern about his health and, more specifically, his shoulder.

He also doesn't have a red "don't you dare touch me" jersey on like the quarterbacks.

That means Cedric Griffin, Antoine Winfield, E.J. Henderson and so on can tee up on him.

Now, he is warming up by taking hand-offs from the quarterbacks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Practice five highlights

The defense is dominating practice.

After a slow start, things got interesting around 4:20.

The defense created three turnovers in a row, including two picks and a fumble recovery.

Rookie Marcus McCauley made a diving catch on a crazy play I will not divulge, to protect the team's interests. Then, Cedric Griffin hauled in a pass Cortez Hankton bobbled. Griffin a few plays earlier made a diving deflection of a pass intended for Troy Williamson.

On an aside, DE Khreem Smith has been a quiet star in practice. He's had several nice pass rushes, including a likely sack of Brooks Bollinger.

The line got so jumpy, both tackles - Artis Hicks and Ryan Cook - had false starts. Per new team rules, they had to make the jog of shame for their mistake. They had to run around the far goal post then back.

So it doesn't look like I'm picking on the offense, Chester Taylor had a good run on the No. 1 defense, and TE Jim Kleinsasser had a nice catch and run that would have netted at least 10 yards.

The No. 1 offense also did a good job in third-down situations, including one to Williamson.

But the top offensive connection was on a third-and-three. Bollinger threw a perfect pass down the left sideline to Martin Nance. The play, which was defended well by Dovonte Edwards, would have netted at least 20 yards.

Rookie Tyler Thigpen also zipped a pass that Chandler Williams dove for and held on to.

Not to be outdone, though, DT Alex Guerrero tipped a Drew Henson pass then actually intercepted it.

Vikings announce Peterson deal

The Vikings officially announced that they have agreed to terms with first-round pick Adrian Peterson.

Peterson was a three-time All-Big 12 1st-team honoree and finished his collegiate career
ranked third in Oklahoma history with 4,045 yards and fourth with 41 rushing touchdowns.

Peterson agrees to terms on a five-year deal

Adrian Peterson is no longer a holdout.

He will sign a five-year, $40.5 million contract later today that includes $17 million in guarantees.
Peterson had missed the first two days of training camp, and he is not expected to participate in the 3 to 5 p.m. practice later today.

Vikings coach Brad Childress gave his players the morning off, so they could attend church and relax.

If he misses the afternoon practice, as expected, Peterson will have missed five practices.

It is unclear if Peterson will be available for a press conference today. But Childress is scheduled to speak to reporters after the practice.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Practice four wrap up

Didn't miss a whole lot in the afternoon. The players were not fully padded, and the tempo was much slower than in the morning.

Brian Robison and Visanthe Shiancoe left the field with minor injuries, although the tight end did return.

Also, Darren Sharper was kept out in the afternoon because of the hard shot he endured from Tony Richardsom.

Other observations:

* Brooks Bollinger and Cortez Hankton hooked up two times.

* Todd Lowber had a nice catch across the middle of the field.

* Aundrae Allison had the niftiest play, a one-hander while speeding toward the left sideline.

* On defense, Jason Glenn picked off Bollinger.

Meanwhile, coach Brad Childress said he isn't concerned about the break-off in talks toward a long-term deal.

"I've had great conversations with Pat," Childress said. "I did read what was said.
"Just as long as my relationship with Pat is good and I know where Pat stands, he knows where I stand," Childress said. "He's a team guy who wants to be here. He's a valuable member of our football team and I appreciate everything he does for us on the field and off of it."

Decisions, decisions

Several people have e-mailed me, informing me that Pat Williams cannot up and leave after the season. The Vikings, for instance, can place the franchise tag on him, limiting his mobility.

This offseason, for instance, the Detroit Lions used the franchise tag on defensive tackle Cory Redding, guaranteeing him a base salary of $6.775 million. Next offseason, that figure could push $8 million.

Added to his $2.65 million base salary this season, Williams would get an average of about $5 million for the two seasons, which seems like a fairly modest bargain for the purple.

But there's a few issues at work. His agent Angelo Wright's comments on Pat's future were pretty firm, which means Williams could be quite a distraction if the team tries to franchise him. Notice all the drama in New England in Chicago with the franchise players they had no intention of signing? Williams could skip all the offseason work, unlike this year, and he could basically show up at training camp to get his handsome paycheck.

Secondly, if the Vikings were turned off by his age in terms of an extension, why would they commit upwards of $8 million for one more season of his services? For a few million more, the Vikings could have locked him up for three years, instead of two, and they would have a player who feels the love.

In addition, it would be highly unlikely for a team to slap a franchise tag on a player who will be 35 next offseason and 36 during the 2008 season.

The Vikings may not want to give him a long-term extension that includes a double-digit guarantee. But if he plays solid this season, would it be all that farfetched to think one team out there might give him the guaranteed money he wants?

Big Pat stays mum

One day after his agent officially ended talks on a contract extension, defensive tackle Pat Williams had nothing to say about this possibly being his final season with the Vikings.

Unable to reach agreement on an extension, agent Angelo Wright said Friday that Williams, who brushed off interview requests following the morning practice, will play out the final season of his contract and enter the free-agent market.

First-year defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier praised Williams' leadership qualities and said he doesn't expect Friday's developments to affect the 11-year veteran's play this season.

"He's a leader for our defense, without question," Frazier said. "He's a guy who is not only a leader by his example, the way he plays, but verbally as well. I love being around him. The short time I've been around him, I've really enjoyed. He's a very, very valuable member of our football team and a joy to work with."

Injury note: Linebacker Ben Leber missed the morning practice because of a strained calf, but Frazier said he's expected back in a few days.

Practice three wrap up

It got off to a slow start. But things got real interesting when the offense and defense worked on short-yardage situations.

Rookie DE Brian Robison had the best play, when he was on the first-string defensive line. Against the top offensive line, Robison zipped through the line and drilled Mewelde Moore for a three-yard loss.
Overall, the defense won the battles, until they moved to the goal line.

Other observations:

* Sidney Rice worked as the second or third receiver, but he didn't really stand out, either way.

* One of the wackiest plays happened in one-on-one drills between corners and receivers. CB Antoine Winfield tipped a Tarvaris Jackson pass. But the ball popped up in the air, and Troy Williamson made the catch, with plenty of field in front of him.

* Rookie Marcus McCauley continues to shine. He picked off Brooks Bollinger and deflected another pass later in practice.

* Tony Richardson caught a pass and ran over Darren Sharper, who looked a little woozy.

* Pat Williams jumped the count of a goal line play and forced a fumble, which Dwight Smith recovered.

Stat tuned for more entries throughout the day.

Rice on the field

Sidney Rice just got his uniform adjusted, and he's bounding around on the field like a kid.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rice at Minnesota State

Sidney Rice has joined his teammates at Minnesota State University, and he is sitting in a meeting already.

Rice earlier this evening told the Pioneer Press that he was on the verge of signing his four-year deal.

“I know there’s a lot of stuff, and there’s a lot of stuff I have to catch up on,” Rice said. “I didn’t want to miss time, but things happen. So I’ll have to get in and ask a lot of questions.”

Rice says he will be ready for Saturday practices

While his teammates were enduring two practices in Mankato, second-round pick Sidney Rice ran three miles on a treadmill in the Twin Cities.

But Rice told the Pioneer Press that he will be on the practice field Saturday morning.

"Actually, I’m going to sign my papers right now," Rice said Friday evening.

Rice said he was disappointed to miss the two practices Friday, but he is excited to quickly catch up.

"I know there’s a lot of stuff, and there’s a lot of stuff I have to catch up on," Rice said. "I didn’t want to miss time, but things happen. So I’ll have to get in and ask a lot of questions."

Fifth-round pick Aundrae Allison filled in for Rice as the third receiver in Friday's practices.

Rice's deal is for four years. Terms were not immediately available.

Pat Williams will move on in 2008, according to agent

The agent for defensive tackle Pat Williams said Friday evening that he has ended negotiations with the Vikings toward a long-term contract extension.

"We engaged in a dialogue and set a date before the season kicked in, and today was the day they strapped up, so by not reaching an accord on a new deal, we will move on after the season," agent Angelo Wright told the Pioneer Press.

Wright said he and the Vikings first talked about an extension in February but made no serious progress toward a deal. Williams said earlier in the offseason that he wanted a four-year extension.

"Teams sign their core players, and don’t let them get into a situation where the player’s value is determined by the market," Wright said. "Since we couldn’t reach an agreement with the Vikings on where his value is, we’ll go into the market next offseason, and let the market dictate his value. We anticipate there will be a lot of interest in him, especially with his ability to nose tackle in the one or two gap schemes, or as a pure base d-tackle."

Asked if he ever got close to a deal, Wright said, "We had a real different philosophy in value, and we view their offer as a veiled non-offer."

Wright declined to discuss specific details. But he indicated that the market was set by "several "
deals this offseason.

"The guaranteed money is the reality in the NFL landscape," Wright said.

The Vikings are clearly concerned about the age of Williams, who will be 35 in October.

"Whether they think he has two years left or five years left, you still pay value to value," Wright said of Williams, who went to the Pro Bowl in February. "This guy is an anomaly. If their concern is whether he will have a drop off, then that drop off would still exceed the production value of the majority of the defensive tackles in this league. He’s at his pinnacle now. The skill level has not eroded, and he’s maintained durability."

Wright said Williams will not be a distraction this season, fulfilling the final year of his original three-year, $13 million contract with the Vikings.

"We just want Pat to focus on his job," Wright said. "Contract negotiations during the season is like dangling a carrot in front of Bugs Bunny."

Asked if a deal during the season is possible, Wright said, "I would never say never. But our focus now is to play and move on."

Asked if the Vikings will be able to compete for his client's services next offseason, Wright said, "They could compete, but, in our opinion, they’ve established what they believe Pat’s value is. You don’t need to be Alan Greenspan or Milton Friedman to understand where the money has risen in the National Football League, in the last year, and where it’s headed next season. Some teams are reactionary, and some teams are stationary. And some teams are just nary."

Rice nearing agreement

The Vikings are expected to finalize a deal to ensure Sidney Rice is in place to practice Saturday. Rice, a second-round pick, has been in the Twin Cities, awaiting word from his agents on his contract status.

The Vikings and Rice's agents, Ethan Lock and Eric Metz, made significant strides Friday.

McCauley shines

With the top two picks unsigned, the third stole the spotlight Friday afternoon at Blakeslee Stadium on the campus of Minnesota State Mankato.

Marcus McCauley made a quick jump on a pass intended for Aundrae Allison and nearly picked it off. The play got the most rousing ovation from the hundreds of fans in attendance.

On the play, McCauley showed his explosiveness.

First practice down...

Who knows how many to go.

Some observations:

* Troy Williamson dropped a pass, but he immediately rebounded, and he actually made a very tough diving catch on Cedric Griffin during seven-on-seven drills.

* With Sidney Rice still unsigned, fifth-round pick Aundrae Allison served as the third receiver and did a solid job.

* Chad Greenway wasn't held back at weakside linebacker, and E.J. Henderson looked very comfortable in the middle, shutting down an inside run attempt by Chester Taylor.

* It was apparent that Bryant McKinnie wasn't out there at left tackle, and coach Brad Childress didn't provide an estimated time of return.

* Childress on Rice and Adrian Peterson missing the first practice: "Those turns are important, and there is a point where you can't make up for those. And my best advice to them would be to get their tails in camp."

Peterson the pitchman

Adrian Peterson isn't in camp, but he's still working. CytoSport Inc., maker of Muscle Milk and Cytomax Performance Drink, announced today that they have signed Adrian Peterson to a three-year deal.

Peterson will appear in print and broadcast spots, as well as in-store programs and web site initiatives.

Shaquille O'Neal is the official spokesman of another CytoSport product, Mighty Milk Nutritional Drink for Kids.

Foreman to be inducted into Ring of Honor

Chuck Foreman, the Vikings second all-time leading rusher, will be inductedinto the team's Ring of Honor.

A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Foreman ran for 5,879 rushing yards from 1973 to 1979 for the Vikings, with 52 touchdowns.

He was the NFC rookie of the year in 1973, and the NFC player of the year in 1974.

Foreman will be the 16th member of the Ring of Honor.

No Rice or Peterson

Are you ready for some football blogging?

I'm here at practice, and I don't see Sidney Rice or Adrian Peterson.

I will keep you posted.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Another Rice on Vikes?

It'll be interesting to see if the Vikings make a play for veteran defensive end Simeon Rice, who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today.

Fox Sports reported that the Bucs terminated Rice's contract because he failed a physical. But after making the move, Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said Rice is confident he can play this season.

"He needs more time to recover," Bucs general manager Bruce Allen was quoted as saying on "We felt now was the time to make the move. You let it drag on for weeks, it might not be fair to him.''

Rice has 121 career sacks and ranks second among active players behind Michael Strahan.

Rice, 33, appeared in eight games for the Bucs last season but ended up on the injured reserve on Nov. 22, 2006 with a left shoulder injury.

Stadium talk

MANKATO--Vikings owner Zygi Wilf addressed the annual convention of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council, which unanimously approved two bills supporting the team's stadium efforts.

Wilf told the group he has two goals, to win a Super Bowl and get a new stadium built, and vowed, "We're going to get both of them done, I promise you."

In a subsequent Q&A with media members, Wilf said the team is still working to come up with a financial partner for a proposed, $954 million, retractable-roof stadium and reviewing options for funding.

Asked how important success on the field is to those stadium efforts, Wilf said: "I can't say it wouldn't help. ... Our goals have never wavered from Day 1. That was to win championships. That will be the No. 1 goal that we will have."

Asked how close the team is to competing for a championship, Wilf said: "Much closer than from the first day we stepped in to be owners. Every day we grow and every day we get better. That's why I'm so excited today is starting our training camp because I can see how it's growing and how successful it can be. We have the makings of a team that can not only win but can win consistently."

Wilf, a longtime proponent of an open-air stadium, said he has come to accept that a retractable-roof, multi-purpose facility would be best for all parties.

Watching wounded

Defensive end Erasmus James, who is coming off two knee surgeries, will open training camp on the physically unable to perform list, coach Brad Childress said today.

Also, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie and wide receiver Billy McMullen were placed on the non-football injury list because of muscle strains to what Childress called their "lower extremities."

Childress said both those players are day to day and that Artis Hicks will take McKinnie's place at left tackle during his absence.

Anthony Herrera will replace Hicks at right guard and Childress has indicated that the two would compete for the starting spot.

Childress said there is no timetable for James' return but that he reported to camp in good shape and was able to pass his conditioning test.

Ray Edwards will practice as the No. 1 right defensive end in James' place.

Childress said safeties Mike Doss and Tank Williams are good to go for the start of practice Friday morning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Koren Robinson serving time in St. Peter

As his former teammates prepare for training camp, former Vikings receiver Koren Robinson isn't too far from Mankato.

He's sitting in the Nicollet County Jail in St. Peter, just north of Mankato.

The Nicollet County Sheriff's office confirmed to my colleague Tad Vezner that Robinson was admitted into the jail on July 18, and he is set to be released on Aug. 2.

Robinson was released last year, 11 days after he was arrested following a high-speed chase that ended near the Minnesota State (Mankato) campus. Robinson was charged with a felony count of fleeing a police officer, two misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree driving while impaired, and misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, careless driving and driving after his North Carolina license was suspended.

In March 2006, Robinson signed a three-year contract worth $12.7 million.

The Vikings open training camp with practices Friday.

McCauley done

MANKATO--Third-round draft choice Marcus McCauley, a cornerback from Fresno State, just checked in after agreeing to terms on a four-year contract.

That leaves the Vikings with two unsigned draft choices: No. 1 pick Adrian Peterson (running back, Oklahoma) and second-round wide receiver Sidney Rice (South Carolina).

Vikings nearing deal with McCauley

Third-round pick Marcus McCauley is expected to sign a four-year deal with the Vikings.

The terms are not known at this time. But Jacoby Jones, who was picked one spot behind McCauley, got a signing bonus around $770,000.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Peterson talks heating up

Contract talks are expected to intensify today between the Vikings and No. 1 draft choice Adrian Peterson.

The team is believed to be close to a deal with third-round pick Marcus McCauley and reportedly has made good progress in talks with second-round choice Sidney Rice.

One or both could sign as early as today and both are expected to be on the field Friday when the Vikings hold their opening practice of training camp at Minnesota State Mankato.

Peterson, the seventh overall selection in the April draft, could take longer, with just four of 32 first-round picks signed at the start of the day.

The Vikings are scheduled to report to training camp Wednesday.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Culpepper talking to the Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper are discussing a contract, according to a person close to the situation.

Depending on the quality of the offer, Culpepper may agree to terms, even though Jeff Garcia and Chris Simms are already on the roster. In addition, the Bucs still technically have the rights to Jake Plummer.

Culpepper visited Bucs officials earlier today.

If the deal is not satisfactory, the other possibilities include the St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Robison agrees to terms

The Vikings fourth-round pick, defensive end Brian Robison, has agreed to terms on a four-year deal.
That leaves top pick Adrian Peterson, receiver Sidney Rice and cornerback Marcus McCauley left unsigned.
Robison received a signing bonus around $482,000, and his base salary in 2007 will be $285,000. His base salary jumps to $370,000 in 2008, $460,000 in 2009, and $550,000 in 2010.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Culpepper released by Dolphins

In a long-anticipated move, the Miami Dolphins have released Daunte Culpepper, the team announced in a press release.

Culpepper is now a free-agent and surely will get picked up. The question is by whom.

Could he wind up back in purple? I'd be curious to see what fans think of this.

In another development, the NFLPA announced that they have settled a grievance they filed on Culpepper's behalf, against the Dolphins. Under the agreement, Culpepper was released by the club.

In the release, Culpepper said: "Now that I have won my freedom and I get to choose my next team, I am just like many other people who have to go out and find employment so that I can take care of my family.
"I just hope that there is still a team or two out there that has an opportunity for a hard working quarterback who is willing to come in and contribute wherever needed. I am ready to get into a training camp so that I can prepare for the 2007 season."

Fifth round pick agrees to terms

The Vikings have agreed to terms on a four-year deal with receiver Aundrae Allison, reported. Allison, the team's fifth-round pick, is the fourth draft choice to agree to terms. The remaining players are: Adrian Peterson (1st round), Sidney Rice (2nd), Marcus McCauley (3rd) and Brian Robison (4th).

According to, Allison received a signing bonus of about $180,000, and he will get $285,000 in base salary in 2007.

Childress downplays Holcomb rumors

With training camp fast approaching, Vikings coach Brad Childress bolstered his support of quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger and tempered speculation that he is actively searching for another veteran.

Last week, Philadelphia veteran backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb told Fox that the prospect of joining the Vikings "makes sense," citing the similarity of the offenses and Childress' tenure with the Eagles.

"We keep that whole thing wide open, in terms of who we think is going to be waived at the defensive back position, or the offensive line. There's always people of interest," Childress said. "But I wouldn't single out Kelly Holcomb as someone who has been singled out. Obviously, the similarities that he mentioned are apparent.

"He's a good player, and a good player for a long time," Childress said. "But I haven't studied him that much lately."

Childress said he is pleased with the amount of work Bollinger and Jackson invested at Winter Park this offseason, and he reiterated that they are, in fact, competing.

"When you evaluate quarterbacks, you have to make sure you see them with the same talent," Childress said. "I don't think it's fair that you evaluate a third quarterback behind a third- or fourth-string line, and throwing to third-string receivers.

"But there are a limited number of reps. But you will see both of those (with the first team)."

As for Adrian Peterson, Childress indicated the rookie is set to go -- if he signs his contract on time.

"I don't think there's much else he has to do to satisfy us that he's ready," Childress said.

Asked if it would hurt Peterson to show up late to training camp, Childress said, "I don't think you can underestimate the value of practice reps and reps in a system that is new to you.

"So my encouragement to everyone is to get in here on time, and get the turns you need. I think you have a better chance of getting on the field faster if you understand what's going on with the system. You're not thinking about it. You're letting your God-given athletic abilities come into play."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pat Williams deal not "imminent"

On the day Cory Redding became the league's highest-paid defensive tackle, the agent for Pat Williams indicated that no significant progress has been made toward a new deal for his client with the Vikings.

"We've had pedestrian discussions," agent Angelo Wright said. "No deal is imminent."

Asked if there is a timetable to finalize an extension for Williams, Wright declined comment.

Although he has never been to a Pro Bowl, Redding was signed to a seven-year, $49 million contract that included $16 million in guarantees, according to Redding, a fifth-year player, has 12 career sacks, eight of them in 2006. His deal trumped the one that Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams got from the Vikings in December.

Williams heads into the final year of a three-year, $13 million contract he signed with the Vikings in March 2005. He is scheduled to make $2.65 million in 2007.

In April, Williams said he was hoping for a four-year extension.

“I want to feel like I’m wanted," Williams told the Pioneer Press in late April. "I don’t want to feel the same way I did in Buffalo. I want to feel that there is a home (in Minnesota) for us. I don’t have to look over my shoulder.

“I want to retire a Viking.”

During that interview, Williams also lamented the sizable contracts "average" players were getting.

“You got average players getting paid big-time money, and they ain’t proving it,” Williams said. “I just want to get treated right. I think I’m one of the top five defensive linemen in the league, and the top nose tackle in the league.”

Hutchinson talks about Jackson, the 2007 season

Vikings Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson just talked to Jim Rome on ESPN. During the interview, Hutchinson was optimistic about the team's prospects this season, and the prospects of second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Here are some highlights:

On expectations this year: "I think people are going to see a much improved Minnesota team. I think our defense is going to be very stout. Offensively, we got some key additions, in Adrian Peterson, and a handful of young receivers. I think our line has a year underneath our belts.
Everybody is not just fresh, trying to figure out what’s going on.

On if he is concerned about Jackson: "Not at all. He’s a guy who has all the tools. He was thrown in the fire last year. He’s been working tremendously this offseason...
He’s demanded more respect in the huddle. He’s going to be just fine."

On not being concerned: "It’s a team sport. Obviously, quarterback is one of the most important on the team. Most quarterbacks need three seconds. Well, maybe we have to give him four seconds until he finds his niche. If we can get the running game going, that will take the pressure off of him."

Redding becomes highest-paid DT

Kevin Williams didn't last long as the league's highest-paid defensive tackle. After signing a seven-year contract extension with the Vikings last December that included $13 million in guarantees, Williams was trumped today by Cory Redding of the Detroit Lions.

Limited by the franchise tag, Redding agreed to a seven-year, $49 million contract that included $16 million in guarantees, according to

Redding is a solid player. But his credentials certainly are nowhere close to Williams. Since 2003, Redding has 12 sacks, including eight last season. Williams, meanwhile, has 31 sacks, although he has just nine in the last two seasons.

Again, the Redding and Dwight Freeney deal bolsters the wisdom of the Vikings' decision to sign Williams last December.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Holcomb comments on Vikings

The website Pro Football Talk recently posted that the Vikings may be interested in adding a veteran quarterback and speculated about Kelly Holcomb as a possiblility.

Holcomb, currently with the Philadelphia Eagles, was asked about that prospect by Fox Sports. Here's what he said: "You do think about situations like that," Holcomb told Fox. "Every now and again, you hear some rumblings and rumors about that. I think it makes sense. Coach (Brad) Childress was a coordinator in Philadelphia. It is the same offense. Obviously the Eagles just drafted Kevin (Kolb) to go with Donovan (McNabb) and AJ (Feeley). I love the guys in Philadelphia and love the professionalism and Andy Reid and the staff and I'd like to stay. But there is a logjam here and that situation you are describing, with the young talented quarterback in Minnesota, is one I've thought about."

This curious comment is obviously self-serving. Holcomb wants this to happen, thinking he has a chance to beat out the duo of Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger.

Freeney deal makes the Vikings look smart

The Indianapolis Colts made defensive end Dwight Freeney the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, with a six-year, $72 million contract that includes $30 million in guarantees, according to ESPN.

How is this relevant to the Vikings?

Tthe Vikings signed one of the league's top young defensive linemen, Kevin Williams, to a seven-year extension last December. Williams received $13 million in guarantees.

As good as Freeney is, I'm not sure he's more than twice the player Williams is.

This bolsters the Vikings' decision during the 2006 season to re-sign players such as E.J. Henderson, Bryant McKinnie and Williams. All three deals raised eyebrows at the time, but all three deals look like bargains now.

As for the Colts, I just don't see how they are going to be able to afford any other players, now that they've committed more than $60 million in guarantees to two players, Freeney and Peyton Manning.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Vikings pass on supplemental draft

The San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens were the only teams to make selections in the 2007 NFL Supplemental Draft. The Chargers selected cornerback Paul Oliver of Georgia in the fourth round, and the Ravens selected offensive tackle Jared Gaither of Maryland in the fifth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oklahoma forfeits 2005 season victories

The NCAA announced today that the Oklahoma football program must forfeit all wins from the 2005 season and will lose scholarships as a result of players being paid for work they had not performed, according to the Associated Press.

Last August, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops dismissed quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn amid allegations that the players had been paid for work they had not performed at a local car dealership. The NCAA later alleged that Oklahoma had failed to adequately monitor the employment of several athletes, including some football players who worked during the academic year.

The NCAA said Oklahoma's "failure to monitor" led to the university not detecting NCAA rules violations.

The Vikings drafted two players who played on that team, running back Adrian Peterson and linebacker Rufus Alexander.

The Sooners were 8-4 in 2005, capping the season with a 17-14 victory over Oregon in the Holiday Bowl.

Bomar started 10 games, throwing 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Peterson gained 1,207 rushing yards and led the team with 14 touchdowns. Alexander led the team with 102 tackles, five sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.

A call to Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, was not immediately returned.

Agent Doug Hendrickson said of Alexander: "Rufus was a member of the team, but he had absolutely nothing to do with any of the violations that led to today’s punishment."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mann to the Browns

WR Maurice Mann, who played in one game for the Vikings last season, was signed by the Cleveland Browns. Mann (6 foot 1, 190 pounds) was originally a fifth round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2004.

Mann spent 11 weeks on the Vikings practice squad last season.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Bethel Johnson to Texans

Former Vikings receiver Bethel Johnson has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans, according to the NFL Network.

Johnson, a second-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2003, started two games for the Vikings at receiver and returned 45 kickoffs for 1,054 yards (23.4 average).

Vikings sign Finnish prospect

The Vikings have signed offensive tackle Seppo Ewvaraye of Finland to the practice squad as part of a special program connected to NFL Europa.

Ewvaraye is one of 11 international players selected to be a part of the NFL International Development Practice Squad program. This past season, he started seven games for Cologne, which featured NFL Europa co-MVP Derrick Ross, a running back.

In its third year, the program has placed one player on an NFL roster, guard Rolando Cantu of Mexico. He made his NFL debut for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2005 season finale.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

O-lineman signed

The Vikings added some depth to their offensive line with the signing of Adam O'Connor, who started all 10 games at left tackle this spring for the NFL Europa-champion Hamburg Sea Devils.

O'Connor, a starting defensive end during his collegiate career at William & Mary, spent time last season on the Carolina Panthers' practice squad after signing as a rookie free agent.

To make room for O'Connor on the roster, the Vikings released defensive back Andre Maddox.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tickets available

Single-game tickets and two-game mini-packs for 2007 Vikings home games will go on sale next Monday, July 9, at the Metrodome Gate B ticket booth and all Ticketmaster locations.

Single-game ticket prices range from $46 to $124, while two-game mini-packs are priced from $92 to $248.

If available, tickets for the Green Bay and Chicago games will be sold only in two-game mini-packs that include one preseason contest each: Green Bay (Sept. 30) and St. Louis (Aug. 10); and Chicago (Dec. 17) and Dallas (Aug. 30).