Taylor Case Continued

Vikings wide receiver Travis Taylor was scheduled in court Wednesday to face charges of assault and obstruction stemming from a New Year's Day altercation outside a Twin Cities bar. Instead, his case has been continued -- until three weeks into free agency.

The Vikings' attempts to clean up their act as an organization had its ups and downs in 2006, as players like Dwight Smith and his antics in a stairwell have given cause for some to believe that he's likely out the door.

So it came as a shock when wide receiver Travis Taylor, viewed as a model citizen by just about anyone involved with the Vikings, was charged with a pair of gross misdemeanors stemming from an altercation outside a Twins Cities nightclub Jan. 1. Taylor was charged with fourth-degree assault and obstruction as well as misdemeanor disorderly conduct from the incident.

He was scheduled for a court hearing this week, but it has been continued until March 22. Taylor, who didn't appear in court Wednesday, is expected to become an unrestricted free agent March 2.

THURSDAY NOTES
* No NFL player likes the franchise tag designation, but one player has found a way around the rules. Patrick Kerney of the Falcons is heading to free agency and there's nothing the team can do to stop it. Kerney, who intends to void the final two years of his contract, is going to wait to do so until the day after the deadline for teams imposing the franchise tag on players. No team can put the franchise tag on a player that is under contract, so, when Kerney voids remaining two seasons, the team will be powerless to stop him.
* What a difference a team makes. The Chargers finish with the best record in the NFL, lose at home in their first playoff game and coach Marty Schottenheimer gets fired. The Ravens finish with the second-best record AFC, lost at home in their first playoff game and Brian Billick gets rewarded with a four-year contract extension.
* From the NFL Trend of the Month Department comes this: The Colts found a way to open up $11 million in cap room without making a single cut. As part of his monster contract, Peyton Manning was due a $10 million roster bonus this season and DE Robert Mathis was due a $3.9 million bonus. By guaranteeing the money and converting into signing bonuses that can be spread over the term of the contract, the Colts dropped Manning's cap number from $16.53 million to $8.2 million and Mathis' cap hit from $7.1 million to $4 million. In essence, the Colts opened up $11 million in 2007 cap space without a single cut or spending an additional dollar that wasn't going to be spent anyway.
* Vikings fans who may have been upset that a man like Randall McDaniel, the picture of class and dignity, was snubbed as even a finalist for the Hall of Fame and a player like Michael Irvin, who has a laundry list of off-field incidents that included cocaine possession, hooker possession and, as recently as last year found to have a crack pipe in his S.U.V., was selected to the Hall. This week, ESPN announced they were no longer employing Irvin. The network didn't give an explanation, but VU has been told the reason is likely a comment Irvin made late in the season about Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. In explaining his talent level, Irvin said that some of Romo's ancestors must have "slept was some slaves back in the day." Considering the stance the network … eventually … took with Rush Limbaugh when he made statements that were viewed as patently racist, Irvin may have become a victim of a similar fate.
* From the You Can't Make This Stuff Up Department comes this: With word that center LeCharles Bentley's career is in jeopardy following a staff infection that got into his injured knee after tearing his patellar tendon, the Browns have announced that they are applying what they term "a glaze" to the team's training facility. Bentley isn't the only Brown to have suffered staff infections. With this news coming on the eve of free agency, it's possible the woeful Browns could be even more unattractive to potential free agent signees.

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