Free Agency On Hold Until Monday

Saturday was officially the opening of the NFL's free agent market with June 1 releases...or was it?

There's a saying in the NFL that says the league is a 24/7 league now -- with free agency, the draft and minicamps, the NFL runs year-round and never stops.

Or so it would seem. When it comes to the NFL league office, it's more of a 8/5 affair -- eight hours a day, five days a week -- and it has affected how free agency is going to be run.

Part of the release process is that it doesn't become official until it is recorded as a league transaction in the NFL's main office in New York. But, because the league's office is closed on weekends, free agency won't officially begin until 3 p.m. Monday, June 3.

Yes, teams can cut players like Derrick Alexander and Jamal Anderson, as both have been told they will, but the players don't officially become free agents until 3 p.m. Monday and teams that try to negotiate with those players before that will be fined by the league.

So much for a June 1 free agent signing period.

* Different rumblings are coming out concerning the status of the Vikings and the stadium issue. One school of thought has it that the State Legislature is moving in the direction to approve a new stadium for the 2003 session, while another rumor mill has it that Red McCombs is looking to sell just less than half of the team to move to Los Angeles -- keeping more than 50 percent of the team (which would have a value much higher than the $220 million he spent to buy the team in 1998) and have the 49 percent (which could be as much as $400 million) to pay legal expenses and potential fines to break his Metrodome lease, which runs through 2011.
* The Vikings want Bryant McKinnie to drop from his current weight of 350 pounds down to somewhere in the neighborhood of 330 to 335 pounds. It is believed he won't lose any strength by dropping the weight and will increase his quickness and stamina -- both of which came into question at last week's developmental camp.

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