Notebook: Playmaker possibilities?

Rick Spielman's most insightful comments on the free-agent field might have come when talking about the available free-agent wide receivers. See what the Vikings vice president of player personnel had to say about the team's possibilities at several positions.

Rick Spielman is guarded about giving away too much information to reporters, but the Vikings vice president of player personnel may have revealed his true feelings about the free-agent market recently when asked if there were any other wide receivers the team might be interested in.

"Every day you check the wire. Guys get released," Spielman said, which might be a clue that there aren't many wide receivers currently available that interest the team. "You say, 'Hey, this guy, does he still have anything left in his tank, or not?' And if there is guys available, we'll definitely bring 'em in and check it out. If there is guys … better than what I think our young guys can potentially continue to be, then we'll just continue to go on with what we have and add in a different direction. Like I said, it's a never-ending process."

The Vikings did try for the top-ranked free-agent wide receiver for the second year in a row, but after wining and dining T.J. Houshmandzadeh, he opted to sign a five-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks. In a radio interview after signing with the Seahawks, Houshmandzadeh said the Vikings' quarterback position played a part in his decision to sign elsewhere.

Shortly after making that statement, the Vikings were reportedly talking with the Denver Broncos about trading for young Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler. When asked about that report in Denver Post, Spielman seemed irritated with the ensuing local reports on those possibilities.

"You guys read something in paragraph 27 in the newspaper and it's headlines here. That's your prerogative, but I'll just leave it at that," he said.

But Spielman declined to say whether or not the Vikings' current group of quarterbacks – Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty – would look the same heading into training camp.

"I don't know. Again, I don't think you ever paint yourself into that, ‘We're set at this position,'" he said.

Spielman was then asked if it would need to be s "superstar" quarterback to make a move.

"I wish I had a crystal ball to say that. I know T-Jack has progressed. I know what we feel about Sage and what he's done. He's been out at Houston, and right now those are the guys that we're going in (with) to compete," he said. "And John David Booty is getting better too and he'll be going into his second year. There's another young quarterback that we think is developing."

The Vikings entered free agency with 12 unrestricted free agents. They have re-signed two of them – linebacker Heath Farwell and tight end Jim Kleinsasser – while center Matt Birk signed with Baltimore. Safety Darren Sharper is expected to weigh his options between the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears. Spielman said that the team isn't trying to re-sign Sharper.

As for the remaining eight unrestricted free agents, Spielman said the team isn't ruling them out, but for now the Vikings haven't made a big push for any of them.

"We're always going to keep the door open, but you identify the guys you want to try to keep," he said. "You have to prioritize, too, but we'll always keep the door open on whether we've talked or not talked to those guys as things go along."

Spielman said that the loss of Birk is all part of the cycle of life in the NFL. Older players move on in free agency or retire, younger players move up the depth chart.

"You can't preserve guys. Eventually they get old and eventually they start to come down and you have to have young guys step up and replace them," he said. "At one time, all the guys that we had were young that grew into their positions. I think that's the same thing. You can't keep everybody all the time, but you also, that's why you draft and that's why you bring other guys in and bring young guys in, to watch them progress and watch them develop."

  • With Terrell Owens signing a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Buffalo Bills only days after the Dallas Cowboys parted ways with him, we revisit what Spielman had to say about any potential Vikings interest in Owens: "We would never say never, but you can put the pieces together and the history with Coach (Brad) Childress."

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