Winter Park Clears Out

After spending almost the entire offseason at Winter Park training for the 2002 season, the facility lays largely empty today as the trek to Mankato at the start of the 2002 season looms.

Winter Park has been buzzing since late January, as players including Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss have spent the entire offseason working out and preparing for the 2002 season. Today, however, it is largely silent, as players and coaches have left for Mankato.

On the way, however, several current and former Vikings, as well as the coaching staff are taking part in their 16th annual charity golf tournament at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan.

The event is scheduled to raise between $50,000 and $70,000 which will go the Viking Children's Fund. It will also represent the last off-day that the Vikings have for some time. Once they report Friday, the Tice regime officially begins and the 2001 season will be left behind them.

THURSDAY NOTES
* There was no progress made in talks with Raonall Smith or Bryant McKinnie Wednesday. Word VU is hearing is that Smith, if he signs a four-year deal, is expected to receive signing bonus of $1.5 to $1.8 million. McKinnie, meanwhile, is likely to get a five-year deal with a signing bonus between $7.5 and $8 million.
* The Vikings have made some preliminary calls about the availability of recently released DT Darryl Gardener, but VU has been told that, unless he's looking for much less than what is viewed as his market value, the Vikings likely won't be among his suitors in the coming week.

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