3 free agents emerge with Vikings interest

The Vikings weren’t known to show interest in some of the top-end free agents, but appeared to be searching for depth early in the negotiating process.

The Vikings likely made dozens of inquiries to representatives of free agents on Saturday, but so far the known interests are with backup types.

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, the negotiating window opened for NFL teams to start contacting the agents for pending free agents around the league, but the Vikings weren’t discovered to be in the early bidding wars for any of the top free agents. That’s not to say they won’t be – they will have about $25 million in cap space to work with when the official signing period begins at 3 p.m. Tuesday after trading QB Matt Cassel and releasing guard Charlie Johnson – but so far they are “laying in the weeds,” as general manager Rick Spielman termed it at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Still, three names emerged with outside free agents, and interest remains in re-signing some of their own free agents, although they are likely to first test their value with other teams.

Here are the three players from other teams that the Vikings have reportedly shown interest in, according to ESPN.com.

A.J. Hawk, linebacker, Green Bay Packers: After nine years with the Packers, Green Bay released Hawk, making him eligible to sign at any point with another team. At 31 years old, the middle linebacker would go against the trend of Vikings free-agent signings that are usually younger, but his experience in the middle could of a defense and in the NFC North could be a valued commodity for the Vikings. He has five seasons with 100 tackles or more and has nine career interceptions. While he has started all but six games he has played for the Packers, his best days are likely behind him, but Jasper Brinkley is also a free agent and the Vikings could use an experienced linebacker in the middle.

George Selvie, defensive end, Dallas Cowboys: Selvie didn’t start a game in his first four seasons in the league, bouncing from the St. Louis Rams to the Carolina Panthers to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But in 2013 he joined the Cowboys and has started 29 games in the last two years, including all 16 in 2013, his best season as a pro, when he had 45 tackles and seven sacks. The Vikings don’t need a starter – they have Everson Griffen and Brian Robison – but a rotational defensive end is necessary and Selvie could provide that.

Adrian Clayborn, defensive end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: He was on the Vikings’ radar in 2011 as a potential early-round draft pick out of Iowa, but he ended up going to Tampa Bay, where he started 16 games as a rookie. He also started 16 games in 2013, but in 2012 and 2014, he played in just four games combined. Last year, he torn a biceps and was lost for the season after only one game. In the two seasons he was a full-time starter, he produced a combined 13 sacks. The competition for his services will be steep. He is also getting interest from the Cowboys, Titans, Steelers, New York Giants, Seattle and Falcons.

In addition to those defenders, the Vikings also inquired about veteran quarterback Shaun Hill, who spent 2002-05 with the Vikings, then played under offensive coordinator Norv Turner one year with the San Francisco 49ers. He has also played with the Detroit Lions and most recently with the St. Louis Rams in his 13-year NFL career.

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