Talks Break Down

An 11th hour appeal to keep the labor peace in hand and not force teams to make drastic cuts by midnight tonight failed this morning.

NFL owners met in a special emergency session this morning in hopes of finding a way to slow down the runaway train that is the pending death of the salary cap in the NFL.

With the players association demanding a bump in revenue sharing to 60 percent of the take, the owners took less than an hour this morning to unanimously vote down a proposal to keep negotiating.

In short, the league and players union are at an impasse. NFLPA Director Gene Upshaw called the situation "bleak" on Wednesday. On Thursday, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue took it one step further by calling the situation "dire."

What this means is that today could be one of the ugliest days in league history. Thirteen of the NFL's 32 teams are over the salary cap, which means that when free agency begins at midnight Eastern tonight, with no salary cap in place for 2007, incentive bonuses can't be rolled over into contracts. The result is that teams like the Titans, Raiders, Jets, Dolphins, Redskins and Chiefs must pare salaries to get down to the $94.5 million cap.

The cuts began yesterday with players like Sam Madison, Sam Adams, Trevor Pryce, Mike Anderson and Brentson Buckner being forcibly released by their current teams. By day's end, there could be 20 or 30 more big-name players cut.

Whether this was the intention or not, both sides appear to be digging in. While this will be a death knell for some teams, the Vikings currently have $24 million under the cap and have the ability to be free spenders in what now has all the makings of a buyer's market.

VU will update the progress of the cuts and who might become available for the Vikings to take a look at starting tomorrow, as free agency takes on a much different look thanks to these recent developments.

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