Future Free Agents: Fullbacks

The Vikings aren't expected to make a big push to sign another fullback, but there could be plenty of veteran options available come March 2 should they need one. We review the top possibilities and list the remaining fullbacks scheduled to become free agents.

The Vikings may not have an immediate need for a fullback with Tony Richardson under contract for 2007 and Jeff Dugan through 2011, but depending on Dugan's continued transition to the fullback position from tight end, the team may find itself at least investigating the possibilities on the free-agent market.

It's unlikely Minnesota would sign a veteran, but their interest in talking with Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard at the Senior Bowl indicates they are at least open to scouting the position for the future. If their interest goes beyond that to a more immediate need, there are plenty of options that could become available in free agency.

Mike Alstott, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Alstott's best days are behind him, but the 12-year veteran still carried the ball 60 times for the Bucs last season and caught 21 passes.

Heath Evans, New England Patriots – A six-year veteran, Evans is expected to return to the Patriots in 2007 and proved he can be effective carrying the ball a few times a game and blocking for Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney.

Justin Griffith, Atlanta Falcons – After his rookie year of 2003, Griffith has caught more passes than he has rushed the ball in each of the last three seasons. He has been effective in both roles, although used sparingly besides as a lead blocker.

Chris Hetherington, San Francisco 49ers – The 11-year veteran of the league and former Yale product has bounced around the NFL and, besides a 27-carry season in 2000 with the Carolina Panthers, he hasn't carried the ball more than five times in a season. He has played for the Colts, Panthers, Rams, Raiders and 49ers.

Patrick Pass, New England Patriots – The seven-year veteran's future with the Patriots is uncertain after going on injured reserve in December. After carrying the ball 54 times and catching 22 passes in 2005, his numbers wilted to six carries and two receptions in 2006.

Cory Schlesinger, Detroit Lions – It's been five years since Schlesinger has carried the ball more than 10 times in a season, and four years since he's caught more than 10 passes, but he has long been an effective fullback for the Lions. He's been with the team his whole NFL career – since 1995 – but that could end this offseason. He'll likely have to accept a modest offer as he is getting in the twilight of his career.


B.J. Askew, New York Jets
Darian Barnes, Miami Dolphins
Joey Goodspeed, Minnesota Vikings
James Hodgkins, New York Jets
Kyle Johnson, Denver Broncos
ReShard Lee, Oakland Raiders
Fred McCrary, Atlanta Falcons
Sammy Morris, Miami Dolphins
Ovie Mughelli, Baltimore Ravens
James Mungro, Indianapolis Colts
Moran Norris, San Francisco 49ers
Josh Perry, Seattle Seahawks
Cecil Sapp, Denver Broncos
Daimon Shelton, Buffalo Bills
Paul Smith, St. Louis Rams
Jerald Sowell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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