Williams Wait/Watch Begins

The Vikings have concluded all player camps before training camp opens at the end of next month. Now it's time for the suits to earn their money and sign the players the Vikes have boasted as first-rounders -- starting with DT Kevin Williams, drafted seventh by Vikings data and ninth by everyone else.

As of Friday, the Vikings are officially in wait-and-see mode. VU has been told the Vikes are in love with what they believe first-rounder Kevin Williams can do for the defensive front. Here is where the rub comes.

For those unaware of the Vikings draft-day gaffe, the same agent who represents Byron Leftich – actually taken with pick No. 7 – represents Williams at No. 9. It will be impossible to ask for BOTH players to get No. 7 money, but don't be shocked to see the Vikes "overspend" to get Williams in on time.

As most of us at VU see it, the Nos. 7-9 picks next year will belong to teams we're unconcerned with. The Vikes took the chance on Williams, they like what they've seen, they have the money to spend and they know what a difference not having Bryant McKinnie meant last year. A deal will get done. Bet on it.

* As reported a couple of weeks ago, expect Willie Howard to announce his retirement in the next couple of weeks. He and the Vikings have reached an understanding. It's just a matter of time.
* VU has been told that today's NFL Europe title game may be the last. With the combination of terrorist threats, low return revenue and the general lack of U.S. interest in the games, the league may be teetering on the verge of folding. However, VU has also been told that a U.S.-based developmental league may be sanctioned by the NFL in the future – revenue bonanza or not.
* Aside from Williams, Tice believes LB E.J. Henderson, WR Nate Burleson and RB Onterrio Smith will all be immediate contributors.
* The Packers made a nominal investment in the team's future by signing QB Akili Smith Friday. While he got a low-ball deal, he may have a chance as being the poor sap to follow Brett Favre as the Pack's starting QB. Do the names Scott Hunter, Jerry Tagge and John Hadl ring any bells? They will.

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