Predraft News and Notes

As free-agent and draft-prospect visits are discovered, they are indicators of where teams may be headed in the draft. We have news and notes on more than a dozen teams, including the Vikings, from sources around the league.

Minnesota VikingsAccording to a league source, with the team set at the running back position, look for RB Onterrio Smith to be released after his one-year suspension is over in May.

Arizona CardinalsWith the team signing UFA RB Edgerrin James, the Cardinals, according to a league source, have their eyes on finding their future quarterback in the first round of this month's NFL draft.

The signal caller that the team is looking hard at is the University of Texas' Vince Young. The other player that they covet is Ohio State LB A.J. Hawk, but it's almost certain that he'll be gone before the Cardinals select at No. 9.

Buffalo BillsAfter the team trades veteran WR Eric Moulds to Houston, many fans believe that WR Josh Reed will take over in the starting lineup for him. A team source indicated that fourth-year WR Sam Aiken has been Moulds' backup for the past three seasons and could take over as a starter with Reed handling the No. 3 role.

Cincinnati BengalsA team source told earlier this week that the Bengals are eyeing UTEP's Thomas Howard with their first-round pick (#24). However, if they do select him, it wouldn't be to play him at linebacker, rather at strong safety. They believe the athletic Howard would add a very physical presence to their secondary.

Cleveland BrownsAs first reported by, the team is eyeing FSU DE/OLB Kamerion Wimbley with their first-round selection (No. 12). Wimbley, if selected by the Browns, would play at outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. An interesting side note is Wimbley is represented by the same agent as head coach Romeo Crennel.

Dallas CowboysAccording to a league source, the team has its eyes on University of Pittsburgh OL Charles Spencer, who visited the Cowboys recently. Spencer projects to play inside at the next level though he's capable of play at tackle if needed.

Spencer is seen as a developmental player that could improve Dallas' depth initially but challenge for a starting job later on. He also could be the eventual replacement for soon-to-be 34-year old G Marco Rivera.

Houston TexansA league source told this weekend that speedy but oft-injured WR Jake Schifino has signed a one-year contract with the team. He was last with New England in August of 2005. Schifino could also compete for the kickoff return job in training camp.

The team also had visits with UFAs WR Jerome Pathon, OT Mike Pearson, and G Tutan Reyes this week.

Pathon is unlikely to be signed after the team reeled in Schifino and is expected to acquire veteran WR Eric Moulds this coming week.

Pearson could provide depth at left tackle and Reyes could compete for the starting jobs at right or left guard if signed.

Kansas City Chiefs - As first reported by, the team had a visit with UFA DE/OLB Kamerion Wimbley. The Chiefs are looking for pass rush help and would likely play Wimbley at end in their 4-3 scheme if they select him (No. 20).

As also first reported by, the team also worked out University of Pittsburgh G Charles Spencer who, if selected (likely in the second round), could be the eventual replacement for All-Pro G Will Shields.

New York GiantsA league source told that the team has a visit set up with Hofstra G Willie Colon, who would be selected for depth early on the second day of the draft.

New York JetsAccording to a league source, the Jets were trying to sign veteran TE Jeb Putzier before he signed with the Texans recently despite re-signing TE Chris Baker. Word is that TE Doug Jolley is on shaky ground with the team and the possibility exists that the team selects a tight end on the first day of the draft.

Philadelphia has confirmed the team will have a visit from University of New Mexico WR Hank Baskett soon.

As also first reported by recently, the Eagles worked out University of Pittsburgh G Charles Spencer, who offensive line coach Juan Castillo is very high on.

Pittsburgh SteelersThe team, according to a league source, will have a visit with Hofstra G Willie Colon, who is expected to meet with head coach Bill Cowher and members of the front office on Monday. The source noted that there's one NFC team that has Colon rated as the eighth-best offensive lineman overall in the draft.

Another league source indicates that the team is eyeing University of Virginia QB/WR Marques Hagans as a developmental receiver that could eventually replace departed WR Antwaan Randle El down the line.

San Francisco 49ers - As reported by last month, the team showed interest in signing veteran TE Jeb Putzier before he signed with Houston. The fact that they were interested in signing him could be a sign that they plan to address the tight end position on the first day of the draft and also could be a sign that oft-injured TE Eric Johnson may be gone after this coming season, which is also the final year of his contract.

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