Lesnar Works Out for Vikings

The Vikings worked out former WWE wrestling champion Brock Lesnar Friday. While no contract was offered after the workout, the Vikings are playing the waiting game -- a game they are likely to lose unless Lesnar declines multi-year offers from another team.

There was only one number that mattered to distant observers of the Vikings workout of former WWE champion Brock Lesnar Friday. That number was 4.75.

That was the time it took Lesnar to cover 40 yards. For a 6-4, 286-pound man, that's impressive. But it may not be enough for him to wind up a Viking.

Lesnar struggled in some of the drills and had a stance – he's hoping to be a defensive lineman – that will obviously have to be drastically changed.

But, the 4.75 number is sure to lure somebody – if not the Vikings. Lesnar left Winter Park Friday without a contract offer. This from the same team that secreted Antoine Winfield out of New York to sign him. The Vikes are willing to play the waiting game, but that likely won't be a winning strategy in this case.

A big point of contention has been a persisting rumor that Lesnar's foray into the NFL is at the behest of WWE owner Vince McMahon. McMahon made a laughable attempt to compete with the NFL with his XFL, which quickly garnered the unsavory moniker Ex-FL. But, there is a serious flaw with that theory.

Lesner had run roughshod through the WWE at an unprecedented rate. While 26 is an age almost untouchable for NFL teams when looking at raw rookies (much less someone who hasn't played football since high school), Lesnar had risen to the top of his profession in a very short amount of time. His physical abilities alone make him an exception to any rule. If his NFL dreams fail, he can always return to the wrestling ring, fight the "heel du jour" and win back the love of wrestling fans. They're by and large gullible and easily swayed. But, his timing was the problem. After effectively buying out or killing off his wrestling competition, McMahon is sadly lacking of his top drawing cards – Dwayne Johnson ("The Rock) and Steve Williams ("Stone Cold Steve Austin").

For that reason, VU has been told that McMahon increased an offer for Lesnar to stay with WWE that was much more lucrative than what he had made prior to announcing his intent -- which was met with scorn by in-the-know wrestling fans at Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar is serious about giving the NFL a shot while he can and someone will come knocking.

The official Vikings party line is that there isn't a roster spot open at this time. Simply translated: Steve Farmer and Eric Kelly are much too valuable to release at this time.

Lesnar is scheduled to work out with what has been stated as "a half dozen other teams" by his handlers. That 4.75 number is going to increase that interest – regardless of problems he had in other aspects of the workout.

A prediction? The 4.75 alone will perk the ears of the more arrogant owners in the league. Daniel Snyder, Jerry Jones and, oh yes, Al Davis will now get involved. Wouldn't it be perfect for Lesnar to end up with the Raiders? With the money they've spent to have Warren Sapp and Ted Washington cover 30 square feet of a football field, having a genetic Ubermensch like Lesnar on the outside would be ideal … and helping fill the Coliseum with wrestling fans wouldn't sully the Black Hole's face-painting largesse.

To sign Lesnar, the Vikings would only be obligated to a minimum salary of $260,000 for this year. He is sure to be offered more by a team looking for a short-term publicity angle. Once again, the Raiders fit and, unlike the Vikings, they will have a roster spot open when they tell Rich Gannon thanks for the memories and start the brief "Collins Era" by the bay.

Look for some team to offer Lesnar an incentive-laden contract worth much more than the minimum it is believed the Vikes would be willing to offer. If the Vikings believe he wants to go home every night after work, they'll make the offer and he'll sign. The bigger question is will it be too late?

* As reported earlier by VU, Eric Kelly is seeking his release from the Vikings, but, as of this writing, the Vikes have refused to accommodate his request. Kelly didn't work out the last two days of this week's developmental camp and coach Mike Tice said he excused the absence. The contentious nature of the situation began when Kelly was dropped behind Rushen Jones on the team's official depth chart. Kelly apparently was more hurt than motivated by the demotion. If track record means anything under the Tice Administration, Kelly will likely be given his release within the next two weeks.
* From the "Another Precinct Heard From" Department comes this: Athlon has joined the growing list of preseason publications to pick the Vikings to win the NFC North. Somewhere Packer fans are passing Mason jars of clear beverages and cursing the media.
* The Minneapolis Police Department has turned the case against three Vikings players to the Hennepin County Attorney's office without citing specific charges. While charges are all but assured to be made, it is likely that a grand jury will be called to hear testimony before any indictments are handed down – which would likely push any potential trial into 2005.
* The Vikings placed wide receiver Blake Elliott on injury waivers. However, VU has been told he will be re-signed and the release is more a formality with league rules than anything else. Elliott broke his left leg earlier this month during developmental camp, had surgery and will be lost for the 2004 season. The severity of his injury is such that rehabilitation time is nine to 12 months.

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