Atogwe has Vikings connection, other interest

Safety is one position that Vikings could look at in free agency and there are a couple of good ones available, including Oshiomogho Atogwe and Bob Sanders. Atogwe was recently released from the Rams and is visiting the Redskins.

It has been three days since his contract was terminated by the Rams, and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is on the move.

Atogwe, who was released Friday because the team wouldn't pay an $8 million bonus that was due today if he had been on the roster, is scheduled to visit Monday with the Washington Redskins. The Redskins' defensive coordinator is Jim Haslett, who was with the Rams from 2006-08.

Said Atogwe, "My agent has been talking to a few teams and we have discussed the possibility of going to different places. I'll meet with them (Redskins) and see what's up."

The Buffalo Bills are another team that has reportedly expressed interest. Free agents like Atogwe that have been released can sign with new teams immediately. The question is whether other teams will be willing to make significant financial commitments with the collective bargaining agreement expiring at midnight March 3 and the potential of a lockout.

During the previous two offseasons, Atogwe was unable to truly find out what his value might be on the open market. He was the team's franchise player in 2009, and was then restricted last year. While there would have been no compensation to the Rams had he signed an offer sheet with another team, other clubs didn't make offers in the $7 million-per-year range he was believed to be seeking.

He became an unrestricted free agent on June 2 and re-signed with the Rams three weeks later.

Now, he will have the chance earlier in the process to gauge the interest of other teams.

"This is an opportunity for me to explore other options," he said. "It doesn't mean the Rams aren't still an option. A door has been opened so I can really see if this is where I'm supposed to continue to be or if I am supposed to go elsewhere. It gives me and my family more options to make a decision.

"At the end of the day, I'll make the decision that I believe I'm led to make and be in the place where I'm supposed to be. That doesn't count the Rams out and it doesn't count any team out. It gives me an opportunity to evaluate my current situation while giving me the option to go where I believe I'm supposed to go."

His family will grow on May 21, when he will be married to Jill Singletary, the daughter of former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, now an assistant with the Minnesota Vikings.

Atogwe's skills are best-suited as a ball-hawking free safety. He hasn't had as many opportunities the last two seasons because at times he's lined up as a strong safety depending on the defensive call. A team's defensive system could play a role in the decision he makes.

Said Atogwe, "That will be part of the decision, playing the position I'm most comfortable in. I've been blessed to have been able to do so much, to play so many schemes and have a comfort level to being anywhere on the field whether it's deep middle, deep pass, quarters, up close, blitzing.

"Largely, it will come down just to the best fit from a family standpoint, a city standpoint and, of course, football. Just where I believe in my heart will be the best fit for me to do what I'm blessed to do."

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