Sharpening the Axe

With just over two weeks remaining until the start of free agency, the cuts have begun for some NFL teams. The Vikings should be no exception with as many as a half-dozen high profile players being subject to the potential of being released outright.

The Vikings and the other 31 NFL teams are just over two weeks away from the March 2 start of free agency and, as it stands now, the Vikes have made no moves to release players and increase their current salary cap level. While it has been all but assured that Brad Johnson will be gone, there are others who also find themselves on the bubble.

Depending on who you ask, Fred Smoot's future with the team is at varying degrees of doubt. With a roster bonus due him in March and a base salary of almost $3 million, the returns might not be enough to save his job. The same could be said for Jim Kleinsasser. Despite being one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, the Vikings overspent when he was franchised to avoid the Redskins from grabbing him in free agency two years ago. His 2007 cap number is $2.9 million – far too high for a player who caught just seven passes last year.

There has also been talk that the Vikings might have to dump Jermaine Wiggins, Mike Rosenthal and Dwight Smith for similar cap reasons and replace them with younger talent. The process of cutting the veterans has begun. On Monday, the Giants rid themselves of about $10 million in cap money by dumping LaVar Arrington, Carlos Emmons and Luke Petitgout. Other teams are expected to follow in the coming days and weeks. Don't be shocked if the Vikings follow suit and, some of the players that were counted on heavily last year are shown the door.

* According to the agent for Anthony Herrera, the Vikings are expected to tender an offer to the restricted free agent lineman, thus likely assuring that he will be with the team in 2007. There has been no word whether the Vikings have made a similar offer to DE Darrion Scott, also a restricted free agent.
* As of today, the Vikings haven't had any meaningful contract discussions with their top potential free agents, including Napoleon Harris and Travis Taylor.
* It will be interesting to see who is calling the shots for the Eagles now that Andy Reid has taken a one-month leave of absence to attend to family problems. The Vikings have been rumored to be one of the teams interested in signing QB Jeff Garcia and, if the Eagles are going to wait to make big decisions until Reid returns in mid-March, Garcia and his agent may jump at the first good offer that comes their way and not wait for Reid to return.
* The other QB rumor floating around is that the Vikings might be interested in David Carr of the Texans. Head coach Gary Kubiak is convinced that Jake Plummer can operate his offense better than Carr and the asking price isn't steep at all – a second-day draft pick, most likely a fourth- or fifth-rounder.

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