Free-agent linebacker Rocky McIntosh left Tuesday without a contract from the Minnesota Vikings after going through a workout, but that might not be the end of the story.
For now, the Vikings tentatively have Jasper Brinkley tabbed as the replacement for E.J. Henderson at middle linebacker. They also signed free agent Marvin Mitchell as insurance. But they will keep McIntosh in mind in the coming weeks and months if he continues to be unsigned.
"We'll continue to monitor that as we go," said Rick Spielman, Vikings general manager. "Looking at signing Mitchell was a big signing for us and getting Erin (Henderson) back and Jasper coming along – I know he's coming off his hip, but he's looked very well – we'll continue to monitor, not only that position, but every position as we go through this and more people are getting released. We'll have more workouts coming up for sure."
McIntosh played six seasons with the Washington Redskins and became a free agent in March.
In addition to working out for the Vikings, he has also visited with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins.
He played in 15 games last year, starting eight. It was the first time since his rookie season he started fewer than 13 games. In 2010, he started 15 games and registered a career-high 110 tackles. He also has eight sacks, 18 passes defensed and three interceptions over his six-year career.
KICKOFFS HELPED WALSH
The rule to move the kickoff line up to the 35-yard line last year put greater emphasis on touchbacks, and that's part of the reason Ryan Longwell became expendable in the eyes of the Vikings after they drafted former Georgia kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round.
"The kickoffs are a huge part of our game because where you're seeing teams and how they eliminate the kicker – and we play some very explosive kickers in this division. The kickoff, and being able to have touchbacks, can be a huge advantage too," Spielman said.
After Chuck Priefer, the father of Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer, coached Walsh at the East-West Shrine, the Vikings got to know him better. They were impressed with his kicking performance at February's NFL Scouting Combine and Mike Priefer worked him out, too.
Although Walsh was only 21-for-35 in field goal attempts last year, Spielman believes it was a small technical error that contributed his senior-year struggles in what was otherwise a very solid career at Georgia. And then there is the leg strength. Walsh connected on 10 of 17 fields of 50 yards or more.
"You look at the history, he was a 90 percent kicker most of his career since he's taken over," Spielman said. "And the kickoffs are exceptional from all the work that we've done on him. He did have a down year his senior year, but felt very confident that we can bring him along."
As for Longwell, Spielman said they released him this week, rather than putting him through a training-camp competition with Walsh, to give him the best chance to catch on with another team.
"He had probably not his best year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is still kicking in this league. He's had a unique career here and a unique career in Green Bay, and he's even a better person," Spielman said.
"(I) can't say enough good things about Ryan Longwell."
BRACING ON PETERSON
Adrian Peterson was wearing a brace Wednesday on his left knee while working out in front of the media as part of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. But athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said players typically end up throwing the brace at him at some point in their recovery and don't want to wear it during games.
In Peterson's case, teams already know which knee he hurt and the extent of the injury.
"It's like a big red flag. You might as well just tape a red flag to the guy. We're not going to be able to hide this injury from anybody I'm pretty sure," Sugarman said.
But, so far, so good in Peterson's recovery. Peterson said his rehab has been ahead of schedule since Week 1 and Sugarman likes what he is seeing in the leg.
"I will say that the recovery and just watching his quadriceps, his range of motion, all that stuff, has been better than I expected and better than I've really seen, which is great," Sugarman said. "He does well and he's so much fun to work with because of that. Because you know you're generally going to have success and he's going to do well at any challenge you give him."
READY TO SIGN
Drafted rookies around the NFL have begun to sign with increasing regularity because the new Collective Bargaining Agreement essentially spells out rookie contracts, with little room to negotiate.
"I've talked to our ownership and Rob Brzezinski, who is our lead negotiator, and we'll probably get started on that process when the rookies come in," Spielman said. "Hopefully we'll have most of them signed before training camp. We have to. I don't anticipate any holdouts."
After going through rookie minicamp last weekend, the 2012 draft picks and undrafted free agents that signed with the Vikings will return to Winter Park to work out with veterans for the first time on Monday.
The Vikings had 39 unsigned players in their rookie mimicamp and Spielman said four to five guys were "interesting" and stood out, meaning they have a chance to stay on the team's list of potential callbacks down the road.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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