Pepp Hearing Delayed

Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper was supposed to have his future in large part determined by a hearing scheduled for Friday. But, seeing as nothing else has gone right for Culpepper over the last 20 months, why should this have been any different? It wasn't.

As if Daunte Culpepper's spring and early summer haven't been bad enough, his grievance hearing was pushed back from Friday to Tuesday. Why? Bad weather.

John Feerlick, the former dean of the Fordham University Law School and the arbitrator set to hear the case Friday, had his flight out of New York postponed due to bad weather on the East Coast.

In a statement, NFL Players Association General Counsel Richard Berthelson, who is representing Culpepper in the hearing said, "Every day the hearing is postponed is one he misses from being on the free agent market."

While there is no guarantee that Feerlick will side with Culpepper and Bethelson, the case is very similar to that of Steve McNair, who won a grievance in front of Feerlick last year when he was locked out by the Ravens in a contract dispute in which it seemed clear that the Ravens were going to release him rather than pay him a crippling $50 million roster bonus. While Pepp has a different set of parameters in his grievance, the one important connection that both cases share is that the team the grievance is being filed against has no intention of keeping the quarterback.

In McNair's case, he was completely banned from the Ravens practice facility. In Culpepper's case, he hasn't been banned from the facility, but was pulled out of minicamp practice and told to practice essentially on his own in non-contact activities.

If the Culpepper case retains its similarities to the McNair hearing, a result would be expected within two weeks of Tuesday's hearing.

* According to the NFL Players Association, there are 14 teams with $10 million or more in room under the 2007 salary cap, with the Vikings right near the top of the list. The Vikings are currently $20 million under the $109 million cap, which ranks third behind only the Browns ($22 million) and the Bills ($21 million). Rounding out the big non-spenders list are the Jaguars ($16.5 million), the Chiefs ($16.2 million), the Packers ($16 million), the Titans ($15.3 million), the Cowboys ($13.8 million), the Raiders ($12.5 million), the Eagles and Rams (both at $11.5 million), the Saints ($11.2 million), the Seahawks ($10.5 million) and the Jets ($10 million). The huge underages would include the Patriots if they could reach a long-term deal with Asante Samuel because he currently is capped out at more than $8 million because of the franchise tag designation. If he was to sign a long-term deal, the contract would push the Pats up over the $10 million range in available funds. The reason? In the last collective bargaining agreement to avoid an "uncapped year" in 2007, the salary cap jump to over $100 million last year and $109 million this year. That, combined with what some experts have called the weakest free agent crop in years, and a lot of organizations have felt there is no use spending money that isn't necessary for pedestrian talent, such as the megabuck deal the Cowboys signed with Leonard Davis, a washout tackle with the Cardinals who the Cowboys are moving to guard.
* Wide receiver Aaron Hosack, who briefly spent time with the Vikings in training camp and was named All-NFL Europa this year, has signed with the Saints.
* The Gold Star Award goes to this year's rookie class. For the third straight year, all 255 rookie prospects attended the league's rookie symposium. The last time someone didn't was in 2004 when Redskins safety Sean Taylor left early and was fined $25,000 by the league.

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