Vikings Find Competitive Advantage

Whether it was well-time strategy or simply a case of luck, the Vikings ended up getting potential compensation for a player they were done with anyway.

Brad Childress often speaks of teams seeking a competitive advantage when it comes to dealing with several aspects of the game. Whether it is disclosing the extent of injuries or different formations the team may introduce at a given game, not giving other teams a clue as to the Vikings' plans and preventing a competitive advantage has been a hallmark of Childress' head coaching tenure in Minnesota.

But the move to announce the waiving of Erasmus James last Friday was, in hindsight, a brilliant move that gave the Vikings something of a competitive advantage in its own right – even if it was unintentional.

Because of the holiday weekend, by announcing that James would be placed on waived-injury Friday afternoon, the Vikings bought themselves four days to retain James while technically not yet waiving him. By league rules, the waiving of James would not have been official until 3 p.m. Tuesday. In the meanwhile, the other 31 teams were aware that James was available.

Washington, a playoff team from 2007 that was lower in the pecking order for making a waiver claim, would have had to wait for more than half of the league's teams to make a potential claim. As a result, by rescinding the waiver call on James, the Vikings were able to work out a deal with the Redskins to get some value out of him rather than a full-out release in which any team that signed James would not have to give the Vikings compensation.

The Vikings will receive a draft pick only if James plays in a regular-season game in 2008, but, considering that the Vikings wouldn't have received any compensation had he simply been put on waivers and claimed by someone else, the move appears to be one that shows the Vikings are always thinking or simply the benefactor of fortuitous timing. In either case, along the way they found a means to achieve a competitive advantage – even in the offseason.


  • By trading James, the Vikings no longer are responsible for the $275,000 James will get if he can't continue playing, an incentive for the Redskins not to simply place him on injured reserve and keep the seventh-round pick they traded for him.

  • James will be reunited with his college defensive line coach John Palermo, who coached James at Wisconsin and has the same job with the Redskins now.

  • The Vikings added LB Brannon Carter of Northern Iowa and WR Daniel Davis of Texas Southern to the roster Tuesday.

  • Childress was the commencement speaker at his alma mater –Marmion Academy in Aurora, Ill. – over the weekend. He was given the school's prestigious Marmion Centurion Award, given to an alum who has displayed exceptional achievement in his chosen profession.

  • Kenechi Udeze was seen in the Vikings locker room Tuesday as the team returned to OTA sessions. He is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant this summer after being diagnosed with leukemia in February.

  • Former Viking Bethel Johnson didn't find any takers in the offseason for his services in the NFL, so he has signed a contract to play for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

  • The NFL made the decision Tuesday to begin its new, tougher personal conduct policy June 1 – the official start to the NFL year. The reforms to the policy will make the organization that an offending player works for responsible as well as the individual. If a player has a serious altercation with the law, not only will the player be subject to suspension, but the team he plays for could be fined or forced to forfeit a future draft pick.

  • Adrian Peterson is said to be one of the finalists for the Madden '09 cover. In previous years, it has been considered a curse to end up on the Madden cover, as players have routinely suffered injuries or sub-par play after being cover boys for the video game.

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