Sunday Morning Massacre

News and notes from the Vikings -- from a politician's take on the stadium to talk of Victor Green warming up -- plus notes on the NFC North and the rest of the National Football League.

VIKINGS NOTES
Vikings' owner Red McCombs caused quite a stirring with the Minnesota Legislature this past week with his comments regarding the stadium situation in the Twin Cities. The legislature has fast-tracked a stadium proposal through the process for the Minnesota Twins due to the proposed contraction and now is working toward a resolution for the Vikings.
Both teams in Minnesota share the belief that a new stadium is necessary in the Twin Cities, the legislature agrees.
The Minneapolis legislature has already set aside funds to develop plans for a new stadium for the Vikings. A member of that branch of the state government would not go on the record regarding the Vikings' situation, but was willing to lend his thoughts on the Minnesota situation to The Insiders.
"Our priority was to get something solid on the table for the Twins, that is no way a slight towards the Vikings," the legislator said. "Baseball and football are equaling important to the Twin Cities community, the fans and business environment. We will get this done, we will take care of our end of the deal."
And as for Mr. McCombs?
"He talks a good game. We hear him say he is willing to help funding, he wants to stay in Minnesota and wants to stay and work to get something accomplished. He has given indications that he has grown impatient and expects a stadium to appear out of the blue, well it won't that way, here or anywhere else. His threats of leaving, moving the team to another city is a viable threat, but he has a lease and responsibilities to the State of Minnesota that he will not be easily removed from," the legislator added.
"What we do not want here is another example of a team that has been fully supported leaving to what an owner perceives as greener pastures, much like what transpired in Cleveland."......
Forget about expansion as an option for the vacant Los Angeles market, commissioner Paul Taglibue's words not withstanding.
The "E-word" was thrown out by the commish to pacify the feelings of those upset over reports that yet another NFL could soon pull up stakes and break the hearts of yet another loyal fan base, a league source told The Insiders.
While the commissioner's words should not be taken to heart, the words of Titans owner Bud Adams should, the source said.
Following the league's owners meeting earlier this month, Adams was quoted as saying "it'll either be San Diego, Minnesota or Arizona" that moves to Los Angeles, then adding "it'll be one of those three, so you can kind of take your pick."
"That was not a threat," the source said of Adams' quote.
"There were some owners who were very pissed off that Bud decided to specifically identify those teams, but privately it's how a lot of the owners feel this whole LA thing will shake out. It's inevitable that LA will get a team, and it's very likely that one of those three teams that Bud mentioned will fill the void."
When pressed as to which team is most likely to become the Los Angeles _______s, the source said that he sees the Chargers as the early frontrunners, followed by the Cardinals and Vikings, in that order......
The Vikings have extensively entertained the possibility of adding safety Victor Green to a questionable safety group. The losses of Orlando Thomas and Robert Griffith this offseason have left the team vulnerable in the middle of the secondary.
A source close to the team tells The Insiders more of what is happening in the Twin Cities.
"The Victor Green thing has all but stalled. The belief is that Green would like to plan in New York, but hasn't ruled out coming to Minnesota. Right now the Vikings appear to be in a holding pattern," the source said. "We expect that a few moves will be made after June 1st and the Vikings will make one last push for Green."
As for the June 1st date, it is closing in quickly and a wide receiver is on the mind.
The rumor is that the Vikings want to or, should we say, need to sign a wide receiver. Derrick Alexander is the player that is commonly associated with the Vikings in regards to upgrading the wide receiver position, The Insiders are hearing another tale.
As we have reported in this column on numerous occasions, the Vikings really would like to land the services of Keenan McCardell, the former Cleveland and Jacksonville standout receiver. The benefit of adding McCardell is an easy one. He would add leadership, physical dependability and a knowledge of the game that would be a calming influence on and off the field.
At the present time the Vikings are opposed to getting into a bidding war over McCardell or Alexander, but knowing their position of concern at the position, the Vikings are expected to make an exhaustive effort to land one of these wide receivers.
NORTH-SIDE TIDBITS
The signing of linebacker Robert Jones will not prevent the Packers from pursuing Hardy Nickerson once he's released by the Jaguars, a league source told The Insiders. Jones was close to signing with Green Bay two months ago before opting for a contract with Houston. Recently, Jones asked for, and was granted, his release from the Texans......
The Lions are still looking at early June as the earliest wide receiver Germane Crowell can begin limited participation in football drills. Crowell tore a patellar tendon in the fifth game of the 2001 season and missed the remainder of the year......
Running back Jason Brookins, released by the Ravens on Monday, worked out for the Packers last week. Green Bay is still searching for a backup for starter Ahman Green, but will likely wait until June 1 to make any addition to the backfield.
LEAGUE-WIDE BAUBLES
With Robert Holcombe's bolting of the Rams and signing with the Titans earlier this past week, will that affect Trung Canidate's availability on the trade market? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask. "We'd be open to listen to anybody that has an interest [in making a trade], even with Robert leaving," a Rams source told The Insiders. However, a league source feels that Holcombe's decision to leave St. Louis virtually closes the door on a trade involving Canidate. "[Holcombe] was nothing special, but he did provide valuable veteran insurance behind Marshall [Faulk], and I'd be very surprised if the Rams would consider dealing him now," the source said. The Eagles are in the market for a RB, either via the free-agent route or in a trade. As reported in this space last week, Canidate is one of the players in which Philadelphia has an interest......
Why would the Cowboys decide a full two months before the start of training camp to release quarterback Ryan Leaf? According to those in the know, the organization has been attempting to drum up trade interest in the 1998 draft bust for the past month. During that time, they found literally no one who would even come close to being willing to offer up any type of draft pick in exchange for Leaf. Even a conditional seventh-rounder -- contingent on playing time -- could not be pried away from another team. With four other QBs on the roster, and no hope of getting even a bag of balls in return, the club decided to cut Leaf and allow him the opportunity to be picked up by another team......
Barring a sudden and unexpected change in prognosis, Jets Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae will miss at least the start of training camp after undergoing surgery to repair a small rotator-cuff tear in his left shoulder. According to one league source, there is a chance that, if Mawae's rehabilitation does not go according to plan, that the offensive lineman's availability for the start of the regular season could be affected......
Word coming out of Baltimore is that the contract unhappiness of Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware could lead to the linebacking duo holding out when training camp commences in July. What a shock, heh? Regular readers of this space knew a tandem holdout was a possibility two months ago......
If the Ravens cannot reach an agreement on restructured contracts with Boulware and Lewis, they will not have the salary cap space to sign anyone on the post-June 1 free-agent market. Baltimore is still seeking a veteran running back to provide insurance for current starter Jamal Lewis' still-recovering knee, and at least one more offensive lineman. Additionally, the club is still holding out hope that they can re-sign free-agent defensive tackle Sam Adams......
The Bengals and second-round draft pick Lamont Thompson have come to a semi-compromise in their dispute over the now-infamous "injury-waiver form." While the rookie safety will not participate in any on-the-field drills, he will be at the club's ongoing minicamp and will attend meetings being held by position coach Darren Perry. Thompson and his agent Mike Sullivan want the Bengals to guarantee the signing bonus the player picked in his spot last year in case of injury, while the Bengals, as per the collective bargaining agreement, will only give the player a guarantee of a one-year tender at $225,000......
Bengals cornerback Artrell Hawkins, who suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his knee this past Wednesday, should be close to 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp in late July. Fortunately for both Hawkins and the Bengals, surgery was not needed to repair the damage suffered during a minicamp workout......
The Jaguars, Ravens and Browns will have an interest in guard Ray Brown upon his release from the 49ers in early June.
Both the Dolphins and the Eagles will have an interest in defensive end Marco Coleman when/if he's released by the Redskins early next month.

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