Action-packed free agency on the fly

After a weekend with no signings, the Vikings were back in the news on several fronts on Monday, and for much more than just the T.J. Houshmandzadeh stock (or is that stalking) watch. We have updates on the potential for a new Vikings quarterback or two, a wide receiver, a cornerback, a few right tackles and one of their own free-agent linebackers.

  • The Denver Post reported that the Vikings have shown an interest in trading for Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler has been public recently with his dissatisfaction of the Broncos trying to trade him in a proposed three-way deal in which the Broncos would have obtained Matt Cassel. Instead, Cassel went directly to the Kansas City Chiefs without the New England Patriots needing a third team involved to move him.

    But reports that the Broncos were looking to trade Cutler irked him. On Saturday, new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels told the Post, "We don't want to trade Jay. We never did. He's our quarterback."

    According to what one NFL source told the Post, the Vikings and Lions have expressed an interest in Cutler. And the Post story speculated that the Broncos likely wouldn't be interested in the Lions' No. 1 overall draft pick because it would require the cash-strapped team to shell out at least $30 million in guarantees to that player. The Vikings' No. 22 overall pick in the first round might be more palatable.

  • With all the Vikings quarterback talk of late, between the trade for Sage Rosenfels and the rumored Cutler interest, checking in with the top free-agent quarterback, Kurt Warner, made sense. Warner's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told Viking Update that he "really can't comment right now" on Warner's situation and that he hope to make a decision "in the near future." Warner reportedly is visiting the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, and he is believed to be deciding between them and the Arizona Cardinals.

  • Despite reports of the Vikings' interest in Nate Washington, his agent told The Tennesseean that the Ravens, Bengals and Bucs are the teams that are interested in him.

    It's interesting to note the Bengals are interested in Washington since they would have two solid starting receivers if T.J. Houshmandzadeh returns to join up with Chad Johnson (Ocho Cinco) again. At a time when much is being read into every move made in the Houshmandzadeh sweepstakes – the Vikings, Seahawks and Bengals all reportedly have offers on the table to him – does the Bengals' interest in Washington mean they believe they may not be getting Houshmandzadeh back?

  • Another player the Vikings reportedly have an interest in is Titans free-agent cornerback/kick returner Chris Carr. That move would make a lot of sense, as the Vikings are searching for depth in their cornerback ranks and Carr could immediately compete with Charles Gordon for the nickelback role. The Vikings also released kick returner Maurice Hicks before free agency began and could be looking to add to the competition for that role. Second-year players Darius Reynaud and Albert Young, two undrafted free agents last year, would appear to be the top competitors to return kicks at this point.

    The Lions either have visited or going to visit with Carr, according to various reports, and The Tennessean reports that the Cleveland Browns are one of three other teams Carr could visit. There still hasn't been any confirmation on the Vikings' reported interest in Carr.

  • The Vikings have an interest in free-agent offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. E-mails sent to Tauscher's agent at the start of free agency and again on Monday haven't been answered yet. The Vikings were also reportedly interested in Titans free-agent offensive tackle Daniel Loper, but a source with knowledge of that situation said that wasn't the case, saying the Vikings weren't among the teams expressing an interest in Loper. Another free-agent offensive tackle with name recognition is Kwame Harris, but a source said the Vikings haven't shown an interest in him either.

    At the start of free agency, another league source said the Vikings appeared ready to focus on their own in-house players (Ryan Cook and Artis Hicks), along with a deep tackle class in the draft, to improve at the tackle position.

  • Vikings free-agent linebacker Heath Farwell is expected to start taking visits in the next few days. The linebacker would like to return to the Vikings, but the team hasn't made a satisfactory offer to him yet.

  • According to multiple reports out of the Tampa, Fla. area, the Coast guard has found one of the four men missing after they went out on a fishing trip Saturday morning and didn't return as expected. The man found clinging to the overturned boat late Monday was Nick Shuyler. Among the missing are former Vikings linebacker Marquis Cooper, now with the Oakland Raiders, and Detroit Lions free-agent defensive tackle Corey Smith.


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