Vikings Visits Continue

Even while the whole Daunte Culpepper trade was being completed, the Vikings were meeting with more free agents.

The Vikings continue their quest to upgrade the overall roster despite the trade of Daunte Culpepper Tuesday.

On the same day Culpepper was dealt for a second-round draft pick, Green Bay Packers free agent fullback William Henderson was due to arrive in the Twin Cities, preparing to visit with the Vikings on Wednesday.

Henderson, like a number of other former Packers, seems disenfranchised with the direction Green Bay has been heading the last few years if words from his agent are an accurate of Henderson's feelings.

"At this point in his career, with a new start and a new running back in the backfield in Chester Taylor — William has always blocked for 1,000-yard guys — sometimes a fresh start at the end of your career is what you want to do and where you want to go," said Henderson's agent, James Williams.

Like the Vikings, the Packers struggled with their offensive line last year. But Minnesota is expecting the return of Pro Bowl center Matt Birk and signed All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson to an offer sheet on Sunday.

Henderson, a 6-foot-1, 262-pound fullback, is a 1995 third-round draft pick of the Packers. He has played in 174 of Green Bay's 176 regular-season games since then, with 103 starts, and earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2004. He has 426 yards rushing and 2,347 receiving in his career. The Vikings will use a fullback in their new offensive scheme this year and already signed street free agent Joey Goodspeed last month.

"The Packers want (Henderson) back, and there are about three other teams that have expressed a level of interest in him," said Williams, who declined to name the other suitors.

Asked about the Packers' level of interest in re-signing Henderson, Williams said: "I think it's about money. How do you value the fullback position? It's one of those things where we have to see what's out there. They've got a brand new coaching staff, so we don't really know which direction they are going to go with it. You all have a brand new coaching staff too. However, there are a number of people that William knows and respects there, guys that he previously played with."

ON THE LINE

Scout.com has confirmed that the Vikings met with free agent guard Stephen Neal on Tuesday. The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder started 16 games last year and 14 games in 2004. He played in 34 games with the Patriots over his five-year career.

The visit is a bit of a surprise, but indications are that Neal's visit is part of a backup plan in case guard Steve Hutchinson's offer sheet from the Vikings (seven years, $49 million) is matched by the Seahawks. However, Hutchinson played left guard and Neal has played primarily right guard with the Patriots. The Vikings have Chris Liwienski, Adam Goldberg and Anthony Herrera already on the roster. Each of those three started at least six games at guard for the Vikings last year, with Goldberg starting 11 at right guard.

Neal played on a one-year, $1.43 million contract last year after being tendered that level by the Patriots as a restricted free agent.

The Vikings have also met with Baltimore safety Will Demps and Packers quarterback Craig Nall over the last two days.


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