Vikes Lose Out On Pathon

The Vikings had set their sights on WR Jerome Pathon from the time free agency began but lost out to New Orleans Wednesday, leaving the option open to consider a draft run at a top WR.

The Vikings had hoped to fill the big shoes of Cris Carter with a guy wearing one big shoe -- Colts WR Jerome Pathon, who is recovering from foot surgery.

Pathon had been a target of the Vikings since free agency began, but he opted to turn down an offer from the Vikings to sign with New Orleans late Wednesday.

The Saints had a deal on the table with Pathon last week, but sweetened the pot by increasing his signing bonus to $1 million on a four-year, $10 million contract. With a base salary of just $525,000, Pathon will be a limited risk if it is determined he isn't fully recovered from his injury.

From what VU is being told, the Vikings were a little upset with the development, because they made a similar offer of more than $2 million a season on a four-year deal, but Pathon opted for the deal offered by the Saints. The Vikings had hoped having offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who coached Pathon in college, would be an incentive to come, but he now joins a growing list of former Vikings in the Big Easy.

THURSDAY NOTES
* Oakland DT Grady Jackson will be in town today to meet with the Vikings, along with kicker Doug Brien and OT Roman Oben. Jackson turned down an offer from the Jets Wednesday, which was viewed as a low-ball one-year, $850,000 contract.
* Former Viking Brad Badger will likely sign today or tomorrow, either with Oakland or Seattle, for the league minimum. Badger is said to be leaning toward Oakland, but, in an interesting sidebar, his agent contacted the Vikings this week saying Badger was willing to return to the Vikings for the veteran minimum, but the Vikings turned him down.
* With Pathon off the block, the future of Saints free agent WR Willie Jackson looks cloudy. He is said to be one of the wideouts the Vikings are interested in.
* While word is that Jacksonville WR Keenan McCardell will be one of the veteran WRs released June 1, one that is guaranteed to go is Kansas City's Derrick Alexander. He got a $100,000 bonus to restructure his contract so he can be released by the Chiefs June 1. He has been given permission to shop around the league for potential suitors and the Vikings are said to be one of the teams he and his agent will contact in the near future.
* One interesting rumor floating around is that the Vikings are looking for a veteran quarterback to serve with Todd Bouman as backups, and one name that has come up is the ageless Mark Rypien. It's unsure if the two sides will work out a deal, but it's a clear sign the Vikings don't want to risk the bind they found themselves in last year when Daunte Culpepper went down -- two QB's with limited NFL playing experience.
* CB Phillip Buchanon visited Winter Park Wednesday, but another player the Vikings might consider with their first pick -- Tennessee WR Donte Stallworth -- apparently won't be able to squeeze the Vikings into his visit schedule before the draft, which could have an adverse effect on the team's consideration of drafting him.

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