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Despite missing recent OTAs, Pro Bowl center Matt Birk is expected to be on hand for mandatory minicamp workouts next weekend.

Birk will make mandatory workouts

There's really no new news here, but Judd Zulgad's recent blog confirms once again that Vikings center Matt Birk will be at the team's mandatory minicamp next weekend.

His agent, Joe Linta, is on record saying:  "Out of respect for Coach [Brad] Childress and the team, Matt intends to be at the minicamp."

The attention the Birk situation has received is good fodder for discussion during the offseason, but nothing has really changed or is being decided by his participation (or lack thereof) in the team's OTAs.

Like with the Antoine Winfield situation a year ago, a proven veteran like Birk missing the time is a double-edged sword.

On the plus side, it gives additional reps to other guys, which enhances their development.

On the downside, those younger guys might benefit from the veteran presence of a player like Birk.  His absence also cannot help with the timing and cohesiveness of the offensive line as a unit.  It certainly doesn't promote the team concept.  And players that miss time with the team typically seem more prone to injury problems later.

There's also the issue of principle that most normal, hard-working individuals would rightly struggle with.  Namely that Birk is under contract with a base salary of $5.32 million this season, and a $400,000 roster bonus.  Most would be happy to do whatever management asked them to do for that kind of salary, whether it was mandatory or not.

The organization has done nothing wrong in this situation.  They simply haven't offered Birk a contract extension yet.  They picked up his entire salary while he missed five starts in 2004 and all of 2005 because of injury.  He's under contract.

Matt Birk is a good guy.  He's a solid citizen and a really good football player.  He probably should be there, but players have a very limited window with limited leverage to make as much money as they can.  He's doing what he thinks is best for him and his career.

At the end of the day, his performance on the field in an intensely competitive game with a lot of money at stake will determine his long-range future with the Vikings, or another team for that matter.

In the meantime, younger guys like John Sullivan (sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame) and Dan Mozes (IR all of last season) are getting the extra reps and one-on-one time with the coaching staff.

Audibles:

Despite Adrian Peterson, the addition Bernard Berrian on offense and Jared Allen on defense, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is still the key to whether the Vikings are good or perhaps great.  According to this Bleacher Report, if he can manage the game the Vikings can surely make the playoffs and maybe win the Super bowl.

Undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Brannon Carter is a longshot to make the team, but he could surprise some people given his productivity in the Gateway Conference if he isn't too awed by the size and speed of the pro game.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that they have extended the contract of general manager Tom Heckert to the 2011 season.  Heckert, if you'll remember, is who the Vikings wanted to get as their GM when they first hired Brad Childress three years ago, but the Eagles promoted him so they wouldn't lose him.

Somewhat related to Heckert's extension was the promotion of Howie Roseman, replacing VP of player personnel Jason Licht , who was fired last week.  Licht was another name on the Vikings' list back then but the Eagles moved to keep him also.  Word in Philly is that Licht and Heckert had a falling out last season.

Ex-Viking WR Jason Carter continues to impress in Carolina.  In fact, veteran receiver Muhsin Muhammad said, "One guy that that has really been turning my head is Jason Carter.  He comes out here and makes plays every day.  He's a guy that really hasn't made a big splash in the NFL yet, but I think he's a guy that can play."  Nevertheless, Carter may still find himself on the bubble for making the 53-man roster with the Panthers.

Former Vikings quarterbacks coach and hometown boy Marc Trestman is currently a first-year head coach for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.  Trestman has coached with Bud Grant, George Seifert, Jon Gruden and Bobby Ross.  He has tutored quarterbacks like Steve Young, Bernie Kosar, Rich Gannon and Jake Plummer, along with receivers Jerry Rice, Webster Slaughter and running-back Barry Sanders.  The Browns, 49ers, Cardinals and Raiders each made the playoffs during their first seasons with Trestman, with the Raiders reaching the Super Bowl in 2002, when Gannon was named the league's most valuable player.

Vikings LB Chad Greenway was among some local sports celebs getting a sneak preview of the launching of McCafe' products at the McDonald's in Golden Valley.

Despite drafting Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall with their first-round pick, former Viking Mewelde Moore does not regret signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story.  "I know my role," Moore said.  "My role is being a return guy and a third-down guy, spelling the (starter and backup).  That's something I'm comfortable with."

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Birk will make mandatory workouts

There's really no new news here, but Judd Zulgad's recent blog confirms once again that Vikings center Matt Birk will be at the team's mandatory minicamp next weekend.

His agent, Joe Linta, is on record saying:  "Out of respect for Coach [Brad] Childress and the team, Matt intends to be at the minicamp."

The attention the Birk situation has received is good fodder for discussion during the offseason, but nothing has really changed or is being decided by his participation (or lack thereof) in the team's OTAs.

Like with the Antoine Winfield situation a year ago, a proven veteran like Birk missing the time is a double-edged sword.

On the plus side, it gives additional reps to other guys, which enhances their development.

On the downside, those younger guys might benefit from the veteran presence of a player like Birk.  His absence also cannot help with the timing and cohesiveness of the offensive line as a unit.  It certainly doesn't promote the team concept.  And players that miss time with the team typically seem more prone to injury problems later.

There's also the issue of principle that most normal, hard-working individuals would rightly struggle with.  Namely that Birk is under contract with a base salary of $5.32 million this season, and a $400,000 roster bonus.  Most would be happy to do whatever management asked them to do for that kind of salary, whether it was mandatory or not.

The organization has done nothing wrong in this situation.  They simply haven't offered Birk a contract extension yet.  They picked up his entire salary while he missed five starts in 2004 and all of 2005 because of injury.  He's under contract.

Matt Birk is a good guy.  He's a solid citizen and a really good football player.  He probably should be there, but players have a very limited window with limited leverage to make as much money as they can.  He's doing what he thinks is best for him and his career.

At the end of the day, his performance on the field in an intensely competitive game with a lot of money at stake will determine his long-range future with the Vikings, or another team for that matter.

In the meantime, younger guys like John Sullivan (sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame) and Dan Mozes (IR all of last season) are getting the extra reps and one-on-one time with the coaching staff.

Audibles:

Despite Adrian Peterson, the addition Bernard Berrian on offense and Jared Allen on defense, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is still the key to whether the Vikings are good or perhaps great.  According to this Bleacher Report, if he can manage the game the Vikings can surely make the playoffs and maybe win the Super bowl.

Undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Brannon Carter is a longshot to make the team, but he could surprise some people given his productivity in the Gateway Conference if he isn't too awed by the size and speed of the pro game.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that they have extended the contract of general manager Tom Heckert to the 2011 season.  Heckert, if you'll remember, is who the Vikings wanted to get as their GM when they first hired Brad Childress three years ago, but the Eagles promoted him so they wouldn't lose him.

Somewhat related to Heckert's extension was the promotion of Howie Roseman, replacing VP of player personnel Jason Licht , who was fired last week.  Licht was another name on the Vikings' list back then but the Eagles moved to keep him also.  Word in Philly is that Licht and Heckert had a falling out last season.

Ex-Viking WR Jason Carter continues to impress in Carolina.  In fact, veteran receiver Muhsin Muhammad said, "One guy that that has really been turning my head is Jason Carter.  He comes out here and makes plays every day.  He's a guy that really hasn't made a big splash in the NFL yet, but I think he's a guy that can play."  Nevertheless, Carter may still find himself on the bubble for making the 53-man roster with the Panthers.

Former Vikings quarterbacks coach and hometown boy Marc Trestman is currently a first-year head coach for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.  Trestman has coached with Bud Grant, George Seifert, Jon Gruden and Bobby Ross.  He has tutored quarterbacks like Steve Young, Bernie Kosar, Rich Gannon and Jake Plummer, along with receivers Jerry Rice, Webster Slaughter and running-back Barry Sanders.  The Browns, 49ers, Cardinals and Raiders each made the playoffs during their first seasons with Trestman, with the Raiders reaching the Super Bowl in 2002, when Gannon was named the league's most valuable player.

Vikings LB Chad Greenway was among some local sports celebs getting a sneak preview of the launching of McCafe' products at the McDonald's in Golden Valley.

Despite drafting Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall with their first-round pick, former Viking Mewelde Moore does not regret signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story.  "I know my role," Moore said.  "My role is being a return guy and a third-down guy, spelling the (starter and backup).  That's something I'm comfortable with."

Join the Discussion

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