Cuts Add To Free Agent Pool

The Vikings may have surprised some of their fans with the cuts of Fred Smoot, Jermaine Wiggins and Mike Rosenthal, but they were not alone. Several other teams cut loose veteran players in order to drop their salary cap numbers before it began at midnight Eastern last night.

The Vikings' shopping list may have gotten bigger Thursday as, following a series of cuts of veterans Fred Smoot, Mike Rosenthal and Jermaine Wiggins, the Vikings entered free agency with what is believed to be $31.5 million in available spending money.

The Vikings were far from alone in clearing cap space by cutting out some of the franchise's dead wood or problem children. The Bills released OL Chris Villarrial (and later signed Jason Whittle). Dallas cut veteran QB Drew Bledsoe. The Saints cut veteran wide receiver Joe Horn, who refused to accept a pay cut. The Chargers cut wide receiver Keenan McCardell and Steve Foley, and the Steelers cut disgruntled linebacker Joey Porter – who apparently wasn't too hip about the move from Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin.

With all the movement around the league, the Vikings enter free agency with more money to spend and more players available than originally anticipated. While the signings are expected to come fast and furious around the league today and into the weekend, the Vikings have the financial ability to get as involved as anyone and that process begins in earnest today.

* The Vikings have convinced wide receiver Kevin Curtis to visit them first in his free agent tour. However, bad weather in the Twin Cities area may have prevented him from getting an early flight.
* WR Ashley Lelie is scheduled to visit the Vikings Monday. He has a visit scheduled with the Texans today.
* The Vikings appear to be in the process of trying to schedule visits with TE Daniel Graham and DE Patrick Kerney.
* The Vikings also have a visit scheduled with Giants tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
* It seemed like déjà vu all over again with the Broncos Thursday as they made a blockbuster trade that included a starting running back going away and a Pro Bowl cornerback coming over. The Broncos traded RB Tatum Bell, OT George Foster and what is believed to be a fifth-round draft pick to the Lions for CB Dre Bly.
* It looks like Jake Plummer will also be out of the Broncos' plans. He is expected to be announced as the new Buccaneers quarterback – which takes another team out of the Jeff Garcia sweepstakes.

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