June 1 has been a sad day in Minnesota over recent years. With the team almost always buried against the salary cap, June 1 was a time when the Vikings would get rid of players -- like ill-timed QB Randall Cunningham -- in order to spread the pain of the salary cap implication over two seasons.
Under the league's collective bargaining agreement, the NFL's fiscal year starts June 1. Except this year. Because June 1 falls on a Sunday -- not viewed as a business day by the league -- any players released will not hit the waiver wire until Monday afternoon. While players like Brian Griese and Akili Smith are sure to be among the highest-paid players cut loose, they won't become official until tomorrow at the earliest.
* The new releasees will join a group of high-profile players who still have failed to hook on with new teams, including safeties Kwame Lassiter and Larry Whigham, wide receivers Oronde Gadsden and Antonio Freeman, defensive linemen Henry Ford and Bernard Whittington and offensive tackle James "Big Cat" Williams.
* When players are released, it creates what the league calls "dead money" -- cash that counts vs. the salary cap, but can't be used to sign new players. The Redskins, for example, are strapped for $8 million for Stephen Davis, who is no longer with the team. A couple of local examples? The Raiders are still on the hook for $2.9 million in cap space for Greg Biekert and the Chiefs are still liable for $2.5 million in cap space for Derrick Alexander.
* There's been some discussion that the Vikings and safety Lethon Flowers could be in each other's future, but a VU source with the Broncos told us this weekend that, barring some collapse in talks, Flowers will be a Bronco as early as later this week.
* In what VU hopes will become a new trend, the Steelers announced the signings of two draft picks late this week -- a self-proclaimed "proactive approach" we would like to see catch on leaguewide.
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