Free-agent interests: Another OT gone

The Vikings likely won't be going after another offensive tackle they were believed to have an interest in. Plus, get updates on the cap situation and notes from a couple of players they are still in negotiations with.

The Vikings lost out on one final tackle hope Thursday before free agency began when the Pittsburgh Steelers placed a first-round tender on Willie Colon. If the Vikings wanted to sign him to an offer sheet that the Steelers declined to match, it would cost them a first-round pick as compensation. That's in addition to whatever sort of offer sheet they would put together.

That's very likely too steep a price for the Vikings to pay for Colon when there will be other unrestricted free agents they can pursue at offensive tackle, as well as tackle being a deep position in the draft.

As NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell noted, he doesn't believe Colon is worth signing if a high draft pick is required in return.

"It's what you have to give up. See, I think you can get Willie Colon in the fourth round of the draft. I think Willie Colon is a nice player and nothing more. He's more than just a guy, but I would not give up a second-round pick to get Willie Colon," Cosell told Viking Update at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I think you can get right tackles in the second round, third round, fourth round on your own without having to give up that. I watched him a lot this year because I watched the Steelers pretty much every week, and I think there are times he played well and I think there are other times he struggled. I think there is an inconsistency to his game. I think he's a solid player on a good team, but I would not give up a second-round pick for him."

Colon likely will have to settle for the one-year tender and a $2.198 million salary.


The Vikings are in solid position with the salary cap, believed to be about $31 million under the adjusted cap of $127 million. All NFL teams gained another $4 million in cap space, the NFL told them Wednesday, because they didn't spend enough on player salaries in the previous three years, according to Adam Schefter of NFL Network.

The Vikings have tendered qualifying one-year offers to restricted free agents Fred Evans, a defensive tackle, and Naufahu Tahi, a fullback, for $1.01 million and signed cornerback Charles Gordon to a one-year deal that could be worth that much after incentives.

According to Schefter's figures, Tampa Bay has the most cap space at $61 million after their Wednesday purge of veterans, including Derrick Brooks, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard and Warrick Dunn. Next is Kansas City with $57 million, Philadelphia at $48 million, Denver at $37 million and Green Bay at $34 million.

The Carolina Panthers have the least amount of cap space at $1.9 million, meaning they likely will have to release or restructure others before signing their top draft picks. New England has $3.2 million, Indianapolis $6.6 million and Pittsburgh $7.4 million, according to Schefter.


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  • As of late Thursday afternoon, the Vikings were still working to sign center Matt Birk, but the two sides were believed to have some meaningful differences in order to come to an agreement before free agency starts at 11 p.m. Central Thursday.

  • Linebacker Heath Farwell was still in negotiations with the Vikings on Thursday afternoon, but defensive end Jayme Mitchell agreed to a two-year deal. Mitchell was a restricted free agent. While the Vikings didn't tender him, which would have guaranteed his contract had he signed the tender, he will have a chance to complete his comeback from a knee injury suffered in the preseason opener.

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