Just a few months ago, it looked like Denny Green had his future set. He had received a full settlement on his contract from Red McCombs and was willing to sit out a season in expectation of a job opening up in Oakland or San Francisco.
Now it looks as though at least one of those options is gone. VU has been told that the Raiders, if unimpressed with Bill Calahan, the former offensive coordinator now assuming the head coaching duties with Oakland since the trade of Jon Gruden, will be eyeing a head coach as a replacement.
Unfortunately for Green fans, it's not him. It's Jim Haslett out of New Orleans. Haslett, like Green last year with the Vikings, is quickly falling out of favor with owner Tom Benson and is viewed by many as facing a lame duck season in 2002. Haslett is a coach the Raiders and Al Davis have expressed interest in and, if cut loose by the Saints, has become the front-runner to be a full-time replacement in Oakland — where nothing is ever guaranteed with Al Davis at the wheel.
For now, many think Denny Green has just put up the "Gone Fishin'" sign. However, it sounds like, especially in light of recent discussions about the meltdown of the Vikings, his sign may end up hanging longer than anticipated.
* Vikings season ticket holders will have an easy way to keep track of the 2002 home schedule this season. After the home opener vs. Buffalo, just show up before noon and you'll be good to go. With the exception of an 12:30 p.m. Saturday game in the regular season home finale vs. Miami, all other home games will start at noon Sunday. Whether the NFL is sending a message or not is unclear, but Carolina is the only NFC team to have all of its home games starting at noon (Central time) this season — a sign the league doesn't view the Vikings as a huge national TV drawing card.
* Of all teams to potentially make a run at WR Derrick Alexander, Jacksonville is emerging as one contender. Hoping to get someone like Alexander for about $2 million, the Jags would shave about $1.5-2 million off what they would be paying Keenan McCardell, who is expected to be released when the June 1 date for cutting loose players hits.
* For those unfamiliar with the June 1 date and its implications, the NFL year starts June 1. When a player is released after June 1, his team cap hit is spread over two years, meaning if a player had $4 million remaining on a signing bonus with his team and was released today, his entire $4 million left on his signing bonus would be applied to the 2002 salary cap. By waiting until June 1, $2 million would count against this year's cap and $2 million against the 2003 cap. The Vikings have used this option often in the past, which is another reason why 2003 has the expectation of anywhere from $25-27 million being available under the cap in Minnesota.
Green Could Be On Hold Indefinitely
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