The Vikings, no doubt, will be looking for linebackers in free agency, and there are a few speedy playmakers available. We go around the league with input from the beat writers on their feelings of some the top LBs scheduled for free agency.
Carolina Panthers LB Will Witherspoon will be an unrestricted free agent on March 3 but said he wants to re-sign with Carolina. "I hope this was not my last game in a Panther uniform," Witherspoon said in the locker room after the Panthers' playoff loss to Seattle. "It's a long time from now until all of that kind of stuff gets worked out. So we'll just go day-by-day."
Witherspoon is the Panthers' leading tackler over the past four seasons and an all-around great guy in the locker room. But he's likely going to look for Dan Morgan-type money (five years, $25 million) and the Panthers may not be willing to dish out that kind of dough when they have last year's first-round draft pick Thomas Davis waiting in the wings. Witherspoon is close friends with Morgan
San Francisco 49ers LB Julian Peterson has twice been made a franchise player, but don't expect the 49ers to tag him again this year. His salary would jump to $8.7 million, and the 49ers appear inclined to allow him to hit the free agent market. It is doubtful they would pay that much in guaranteed money to keep him. Peterson was a disappointment this season, as he didn't seem to grasp the new defense. Also, he did not exhibit the same speed that made him one of the game's premier linebackers. Peterson returned after missing 10 games in '04 with a torn Achilles' tendon.
Dallas Cowboys OLB Scott Fujita, who took over as a starter for the injured Al Singleton, is an unrestricted free agent and may not return.