Fitzgerald Staying Put

Fans that were hoping the Vikings could somehow swing a deal to bring hometown hero Larry Fitzgerald back to Minnesota got a bucket of cold water thrown on that wish as Cardinals VP Rod Graves said that Arizona has no intent of trading Fitzgerald, despite his being disgruntled and having a crippling 2008 salary cap number.

At times, the news coming out of the Combine can be a little strange. Saturday was no exception, as the Cardinals made national news by saying a star player is staying with the team and that the Cards have no intention of trading him.

That was the story, as Cardinals VP of Football Operations Rod Graves said the team has no intention of trading Larry Fitzgerald, a fourth-year wide receiver who grew up in the Twin Cities and served as a ballboy for the Vikings during the 1998 season. Fitzgerald, who has discussed his disenchantment with the organization, is in a tough salary situation. He is entering the fifth year of a six-year deal signed as a rookie and his agent made it clear at the time of the signing that it would likely have to be restructured after the fourth season.

How did he do that? The deal was tailored in such a way that, if not renegotiated, Fitzgerald would count a crippling $16 million against the 2008 salary cap. While the Cardinals are trying to work out a deal that would make Fitzgerald the highest paid wide receiver in league history, it's clear that even if he was to be traded, a new deal would have to be struck. At just 24 years of age, many believe the best is yet to come for a player who has averaged better than 80 receptions, 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns in his first four seasons.

Graves was quite clear in his interviews at the Combine that the Cardinals have no intention of trading Fitzgerald, which is likely enough to get the Vikings to look in another direction either in free agency or on draft weekend. So for those hoping to see Fitz come home to play for the Vikings, stop holding your breath, break down and just buy a Cardinals uniform because it doesn't look like he'll be coming home any time soon.

* There are rumors that the Vikings might make a strong push to sign Bengals safety Madieu Williams when free agency begins Saturday morning.
* Another name that has cropped up and been linked to interest from the Vikings is Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon, who Rick Spielman has some personal knowledge of.
* The Vikings haven't made any progress in trading wide receiver Troy Williamson. When word got out that the Vikings were shopping Williamson, his agent said between eight and 10 teams had expressed an interest. His agent, David Carter, left Indianapolis to attend a wedding Saturday, but is expected back in Indy today and there is the belief that a trade might be worked out before the Combine ends on Tuesday.
* If the Vikings have an interest in Bernard Berrian, they are not alone. Word coming out of Cleveland is that the Browns are prepared to make a big push for Berrian if he makes it to free agency and doesn't re-sign with the Bears, who recently released veteran Muhsin Muhammad.
* The Vikings will let safety Mike Doss test free agency.

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