With all the money the Vikings have had under the salary cap in recent years, they have spent a considerable portion of that to lock down veteran players to contract extensions. Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, E.J. Henderson and Bryant McKinnie have all signed substantial contract extensions to prevent them from potentially fleeing to free agency.
One name that has been conspicuously absent from that list has been Matt Birk. The Pro Bowl center is entering the final year of his current contract and is slated to make $5.72 million this season. Acknowledged as a team leader for much of his tenure with the Vikings, Birk hasn't been offered a decent contract extension and the talk is that he might be preparing for his last season as a Viking.
While there is a still a chance to get something done long-term, Birk, who has always been a regular at the team portion of workouts at Winter Park, isn't taking part in the voluntary offseason training program.
Last year, Antoine Winfield maintained a similar stance, but his issues dealt with communication between coach Brad Childress and the players and not with his contract status. While Birk won't take part in the voluntary program, he could still attend at all mandatory workouts. In the meantime, he will train with former Vikings long snapper Mike Morris.
* The website ProFootballTalk.com is showing a "for sale" listing on a house that they're claiming is Birk's. Read into that what you will, considering he is a native Minnesotan who would likely retain a residence in the area even if he sold his current home.
* It looks as though Chiefs QB Damon Huard, who was the starter for the team when it jettisoned Trent Green a year ago, might be the odd man out. Coach Herm Edwards said he is comfortable with the duo of Brodie Croyle and former Viking Tyler Thigpen. He indicated the team may look at another rookie QB, which would be the third straight year the Chiefs have added a rookie. As a result, Huard could be traded or released.
* The NFL league office announced that sufficient evidence was available that the 49ers tampered with linebacker Lance Briggs before the start of free agency. As a result, the Niners and Bears will switch third-round picks and the 49ers will have to forfeit their fifth-round draft choice.
* Herm Edwards dropped the cheating gauntlet at the feet of the Buccaneers and Rams, saying that the Chiefs being unable to sign center Jeff Faine (who signed with the Bucs) and kicker Josh Brown (who signed with the Rams) was probably the result of those teams and the agents for the players working contract terms before the official start of free agency. There is no word whether the Chiefs, like the Bears, lodged an official complaint with the league.
* Cornerback Benny Sapp, who spent the last four seasons with the Chiefs, visited Winter Park Monday and signed a contract Tuesday morning.
* Brett Favre has yet to file his retirement paperwork with the league, meaning he still counts $11.4 million against the Packers 2008 salary cap.
Birk Sits Out Workout Program
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