Pathon Visits, Bates Close to Deal

While one WR comes through town looking to be a starter, the Vikings are closing in on an offer for a No. 3 receiver.

The Vikings made some progress Tuesday to fixing their depleted wide receiver corps, but no permanent changes are expected to be resolved immediately.

Jerome Pathon came through town Tuesday, meeting with Vikings officials and going through a battery of medical tests on his injured foot. Pathon, who had screws removed from his foot earlier this month, isn't able to practice and word from Winter Park is that he won't be able to fully work out for a few more weeks. The Vikings aren't prepared to make him a contract offer of substance until he shows that he is 100 percent recovered from the injury.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are closing in on an offer for restricted free agent D'Wayne Bates. Negotiations Tuesday essentially set the ground rules for a final offer, which, once signed, will give the Bears one week to match.

The Vikings signings are going to likely end by the beginning of next week, but the remainder of this week will continue to keep the focus on wide receiver, since the only veteran WRs on the roster are Randy Moss and Chris Walsh.

* One name that has surfaced in halls of Winter Park as a possibility is Jacksonville WR Keenan McCardell, who could be an ideal Cris Carter replacement. McCardell has skipped the Jags pre-draft mini-camp, another indication that he will be released June 1. While the Vikings can't officially speak with him until he's released, there is said to be interest and, if he is cut loose, the Vikes will be one of the first teams chasing him down.
* With the Vikings not looking to immediately make an offer to Pathon, he isn't holding his breath. He is in New Orleans talking to the Saints today.
* Another wide receiver went out of the picture Tuesday, as Tony Simmons signed a deal with Houston.
* The Vikings signed free agent RB/kick returner David Allen Tuesday. The Vikings had pursued Allen for more than a week, signing the former Kansas State kick returner to replace Troy Walters in that role with the Vikes. Allen was last seen in 49er training camp last year.
* Mitch Berger is likely to sign by the end of the week. He has narrowed his choices down to St. Louis and Indianapolis. Berger passed a physical with the Rams yesterday and could be made an offer as early as today.

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