Chamberlain Likely Next To Go

The Vikings now look to lose all of their top free agents, as Byron Chamberlain's agent is speaking of the Vikings in the past tense.

The Vikings were riding a slippery slope when Dennis Green left the team. While blasted by the media, Green was popular with the players and the late-season slide may have taken its final toll on the team.

New coach Mike Tice said he planned to sign three of the top four free agents targeted by the Vikes -- Robert Griffith, Dale Carter, Byron Chamberlain and Kailee Wong. Griffith signed with Cleveland Wednesday. Wong signed with Houston Thursday. Carter is expected to sign with the Saints Monday and Chamberlain is in limbo.

VU has been told that Chamberlain wanted to sign with the Vikings after having his most productive season as a pro, but the Vikings apparently made a take it or leave it offer of $1.5 million a year and, from what we're hearing, he'll leave it.

Chamberlain is getting a lot of interest in the free agent market and all indications are that the Vikings are in the rear view mirror. Whether he is worth the $2 million a year he is seeking is yet to be seen, but it now looks like he will be the final piece in the Vikings exodus -- marking what can only be described as a complete rebuilding as the Tice Era begins.

SATURDAY NOTES
* A VU source with the Bengals sent some rare good news. He told VU that DE Kenny Mixon, a free agent targeted by the Vikings, is more interested in being a Viking than a Bengal.
* The Saints are expected to have Dale Carter in Monday, a meeting expected to result in a contract being signed.
* The Browns, like the Rams, have apparently given up on Cris Carter. A VU source close to Carmen Policy said the Browns' head man made Carter his best offer and he balked at it -- a two-year deal with a $1 million signing bonus and $2 million in the first year with nothing guaranteed beyond that. Carter balked at the offer and continues to have egg on his face, as Policy has said the team has closed off talks and will look elsewhere.
* The Vikes preseason schedule for 2002 is set. It is as follows: Saturday, Aug. 10, home vs. Cleveland; Friday, Aug. 16 at Buffalo; Friday, Agu. 23, at home vs. Tennessee; Friday, Aug. 30 at Pittsburgh.
* The Vikings are expected to bring in three more defensive linemen Monday -- Keith McKenzie, Sean Moran and Reinard Wilson (who contacted the Vikings last week and was originally told the team had no interest). In addition, LB Bernardo Harris is expected to come to Winter Park Monday.
* As if Brad Johnson didn't have enough problems, VU has been told the Bucs are looking to bring in brittle QB Rob Johnson -- just another sign that new coach Jon Gruden is not a Brad Johnson fan.

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