Exposing Players To Expansion

While the Vikings have been adding special teams, practice-squad players and backups to their roster lately, Mike Tice and crew could be forced to lose some players to expansion Houston in a month.

The Vikings announced the signings of a number of low-level players yesterday, as they signed mostly players who were either cut in training camp or on the practice squad last year to new contracts in the last week. But in a month they could lose some players one rung above those they added.

To free agency? Not really. Today is the day the Vikings are required to expose five players from their active roster for the Feb. 18 expansion draft and the Houston Texans. While you aren't likely to see key players in their plans for next year on the list, you could see some names you recognize.

Most likely among those is quarterback Spergon Wynn, who was a key player Dennis Green wanted to develop but one that didn't live up to his hopes in the chances he was given at the end of the season. Other teams will follow a similar formula, but some teams may go for salary-cutting measures in their strategies.

The Broncos are expected to expose high-priced but aging linebacker Bill Romanowski. Detroit is also rumored to be ready to expose high-priced, low-return quarterback Charlie Batch. It depends on both the Vikings' and the Houston Texans' strategy for the expansion draft next month, but don't expect to see any players of serious consequence on the list submitted from Winter Park. They may want to hang onto those type of players for potential trade bait, or at least give them another month to decide on their fate before the March 1 start of the real free-agent period.

SATURDAY NOTES
* Former Vikings linebacker Jack Del Rio, currently a linebackers coach in Baltimore, is on Detroit's wish list for a defensive coordinator in 2002. Last year about this time, Del Rio was hoping to assume the defensive coordinator position in Baltimore, but when Marvin Lewis didn't get any head-coaching opportunities Del Rio was forced to wait until this year.
* Think the Bucs wish they had their Bucs in a row before they released Tony Dungy as head coach. Bill Parcells is no longer a candidate because the league has frowned on his courting other coaches under contract with other teams while he was trying to assemble the new Parcells staff. Current coaches aren't allowed to tamper with coaches under contract without permission, but Parcells, who didn't officially sign his own contract with Tampa Bay, interpreted that to mean that he didn't have to abide by those rules. The league, kind of like the Godfather, feels otherwise.
* Speaking of Dungy, he interviewed for the Carolina Panthers head-coaching job and is interested, but he may wait to see if his rumored involvement with Indianapolis comes to fruition before deciding on Carolina.
* After all the Green Trading (Jeremy Green and father Dennis Green for Spergon Wynn, Stalin Colinet, Travis Prentice and Everett Lindsay) between the Vikings and the Cleveland Browns, the Vikings still have six picks in April's draft.
* When the league announced its final list of nominees Friday for the 2002 Hall of Fame inductees, it knocked former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman off the list. The league started with a list of about 50, but narrowed it to 15 Friday.
* The low-level players signed by the Vikings over the last week or so (but announced Friday) are: tight ends Matt Cercone and Jeff Kostrewa, running backs DeWayne Miles and James Wofford, defensive backs Mesene Louisdor and Brian Russell, wide receiver Kenny Clark and guard Mike Malano.

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