What's Happening with Henderson, Others?

The Vikings wanted fullback William Henderson, and fullback William Henderson wanted them. So why is Henderson not signed? And what is going on with other free agents of interest or potential interest to the Vikings?

Why isn't free agent fullback William Henderson a Viking yet? In a word, "money."

Henderson's agent, James Williams, told Viking Update after initial negotiations on Wednesday that the signing bonus was the sticking point. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Henderson is seeking a signing bonus of $3 million and when the two sides resumed negotiations on Thursday the stalemate continued.

According to a league source, it's believed Henderson is leaning toward re-signing with the Green Bay Packers. Henderson, according to the source, wanted more than the Minnesota Vikings were willing to pay in a signing bonus. The Packers have plenty of room under the salary cap and the Vikings aren't able to accommodate his demand.

Considering the number of quality fullbacks on the free agent market and the limited demand for them, the Vikings might be inclined to look elsewhere for another fullback.

They aren't the only team that has balked at Henderson's financial request. Asked Tuesday night 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 (Minnesota) 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."

Henderson said that the Packers had a good chance to sign him before he hit the free agent market, but that he was going to look into his options after they failed to do that. For the first time in years, the Vikings will value the fullback position, but, like the Packers at the outset of free agency, the Vikings probably aren't willing to sink a guaranteed $3 million bonus into the position.

Henderson, like a number of other former Packers, seemed disenfranchised with the direction Green Bay has been heading the last few years if words from his agent are an accurate reflection of Henderson's feelings. However, after failing to get the Vikings to succumb to his financial request, Henderson may settle for less to rejoin Green Bay.

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.

"There are about three other teams that have expressed a level of interest in him," said Williams, who, like Henderson, declined to name the other suitors.

Henderson said he wanted to shut door on the opportunity in Minnesota before pursuing those other options. The Vikings seem inclined to pursue their other options as well if the guaranteed asking price is $3 million.

  • The wheels on the Hutch go round and round. Conflicting reports and indications seem to surface daily on the probability of the Seattle Seahawks wanting to match the seven-year, $49 million offer sheet guard Steve Hutchinson signed with the Vikings.

    NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported that it looks like the Seattle Seahawks are leaning toward matching the offer sheet. The team has until Monday to make its decision.

    When Hutchinson was signed to the offer sheet, the Seahawks were a reported $17 million under the salary cap, including the money they will need allocated to their rookie draft picks. With $16 million in guaranteed money and a 2006 cap figure of $13 million for Hutchinson, it seemed like it would be extremely difficult for Seattle to match the offer.

    Then the Seahawks signed defensive tackle Rocky Bernard. Then they scheduled visits with high-priced free agents such as linebacker Julian Peterson. It all seemed to add up to Hutchinson going to Minnesota and the Seahawks looking to spend their money elsewhere.

  • Seattle was also in position to sign Vikings wide receiver Nate Burleson, a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet. Burleson visited with the Seahawks on Thursday, but Seattle also was arranging a visit wide receiver Tim Dwight and re-signed wide receiver Peter Warrick to a one-year, $1 million deal. Again, they are conflicting signals in a period where teams are typically hushed with their plans.

  • The Denver Post reports that former Vikings linebacker Patrick Chukwurah will visit Tampa Bay next week.

  • The New Orleans Saints reportedly met with former Vikings running back Michael Bennett this week. Bennett was also receiving interest from the Carolina Panthers and, according to the Pioneer Press, the Miami Dolphins.

  • The Washington Redskins agreed to terms with former Vikings defensive tackle Cedric Killings.

  • Now that Daunte Culpepper is with Miami, the Dolphins are expected to sign wide receiver and Culpepper pal Kelly Campbell, according to the Sun-Sentinel. It is what it is.

  • Keyshawn Johnson to the Vikings? Not if a report by Sports Illustrated's Michael Silver is true. Silver reports that Johnson believes he is worth at least $2.5 million per season. Johnson reportedly said he would be interested in visiting with the Vikings.

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