Vikes Sign Birk

The Vikings agreed to a huge contract Monday night for Matt Birk that will keep him with the team through the 2008 season.

About dinnertime Monday, VU got a call from a source inside the Vikings who said that a major announcement was likely coming in the next few hours. Considering that we had been told earlier that the team was trying to get a quick deal done with Matt Birk, we got it confirmed that was likely what would be getting done.

Good as his word, it happened later Monday night, as the Vikings and Birk agreed on a seven-year contract extension that will keep him with the Vikings through the 2008 season.

The deal, which was forced to move up since the Vikings had lost four starting offensive linemen since January, 2000, is worth $31 million and includes a $6 million signing bonus.

Birk is still playing under a one-year tendered offer of $1.15 million and the big contract will kick in next season, effectively making the deal an eight-year contract.

* When the final cuts came down Sunday, those of us at VU pondered how long it would take the Ravens to call Moe Williams to help their depleted running game. It didn't take long. VU was told Williams was flying out to Baltimore to take a physical Monday night and would likely be signed today and in uniform for the season-opener for the Ravens.
* The Vikings added four players to the practice squad -- linebackers Antonio Wilson and Mike Crawford, safety Brian Russell and tight end Matt Cercone. Dennis Green said that with just six linebackers on the 53-man roster, having two additional LBs on the practice squad was a must. There is still room for one more player on the practice squad.
* With Birk now signed, the only potential free agents after this season that the team is concerned about locking into contracts are linebacker Kailee Wong and safety Robert Griffith.
* Todd Steussie will return to the Metrodome for his first start since being released by the Vikings. You think the crowd will get on him if he jumps a false start early?
* St. Paul native Chris Weinke was officially named the starting quarterback for Sunday by Carolina coach George Seifert, although it wasn't a huge surprise. The team cut preseason starter Jeff Lewis Sunday.
* A couple of injury updates. Robert Tate practiced Monday, but is still a question mark for Sunday's game. The same is true with Carolina wide receiver Patrick Jeffers. He is still suffering from a knee injury and is questionable for Sunday.

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