Smith Decision Looming

The decision on whether the Vikings add veteran defensive back Dwight Smith to the roster as early as today will come after he concludes his two-day visit with the Vikings at Winter Park later today and makes a final decision.

The Vikings remain one of three teams in the front of the pecking order to get defensive back Dwight Smith.

Smith, who is concluding a two-day visit with the Vikings brass at Winter Park, has apparently narrowed his list of prospective teams to the Vikings, Buccaneers and Ravens.

Last week in a published story in a Tampa-area newspaper, Smith said if he couldn't get a multi-year deal with someone else, he would sign a one-year deal with the Bucs. Smith had spent his career with the Buccaneers before signing a five-year, $15 million deal with the Saints that included a $3.5 million signing bonus. He was released last week after playing just one year of that contract.

Neither Smith nor agent Drew Rosenhaus would comment on the contract talks, but with training camps ready to open throughout the league this week, it's expected that a final deal will be done within the next couple of days.

Smith, a six-year veteran who broke into the NFL with Tampa Bay, was the Saints' top acquisition during the free agency period in 2005 because of his playmaking ability and moved into the starting lineup at free safety.

But Smith, who turns 28 next month, was brought in by former coach Jim Haslett and signed to a five-year contract with a $3.5 million signing bonus. It was obvious, however, that Smith didn't fit in with the plans of new coach Sean Payton and was unsuccessfully shopped around the league before being released.

Smith said during a minicamp in early June he had heard rumors he was being offered to other teams after working with the second-team defense this spring.

Smith, who was to earn $1.2 million this season and base salaries of $1.6 million, $2.5 million and $3.5 million the following three seasons, said last week several teams had shown interest in him — including Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Oakland and Dallas.

"At least now I get a chance to get in training camp somewhere, to see who's going to give me the best opportunity to really come in and work and start," said Smith, who had two interceptions last season and a total of 14 for his five-year career. "Somebody might want to sign me long term, so we will see."

However, there are off-the-field issue to consider with Smith. In 2003, he pled guilty to charges of brandishing a gun at a motorist. He was sentenced to one year probation, 25 hours of community service, fined $225 and ordered to receive anger management counseling.

In 2005, he was charged with pulling a pellet gun on two people who approached his car while he was waiting at a McDonald's drive-up window. He was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon, but charges were later dropped.

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