Kennedy getting another chance

Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy was looking for a little stability in his career after the season ended and he was scheduled to be a free agent. After signing a one-year deal with the Vikings, he'll get a chance at that elusive stability.

The Vikings took one of their first steps in covering their bases Wednesday with the re-signing of veteran defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy to a one-year contract.

Kennedy, a late-season pickup by the Vikings, was retained for much the same reason he was signed in the first place – as a hedge against the potential suspension of Pat Williams and Kevin Williams.

Kennedy, the former 12th overall selection of the Rams in 2003, was widely speculated to be in the Vikings' sights that year. He was one of the few players brought into Winter Park for a pre-draft visit and the Vikings had an obvious need at defensive tackle that season. The team would eventually take Kevin Williams that season, which is remembered more for the botched trade with the Ravens that allowed three picks to come off the board before the Vikings eventually made their selection.

Kennedy told Viking Update after the season that he wanted to return to Minnesota.

"It's a blessing to be part of this group. I would have loved to be out there with Pat and learned some things from him. This was the second time in my career playing nose guard, my last time in St. Louis my last year," he said. "Other than that, it's been three-technique, so there are still a lot of things that I have to learn. A lot of things that if I'm going to be here and be a nose guard, be a swing guy with three-technique – Pat can't go forever, so it would be great to be here and play with Kevin and Jared and those guys. We've got a young guy in Ray, so I think I could be a huge piece of the puzzle."

The Williamses are scheduled to have their court case heard June 15, as both attempt to block a four-game suspension imposed last December by the league for their role in the StarCaps scandal that resulted in several suspensions being handed out. Kennedy was brought in last year when the word initially came down that both of the Williamses would be suspended and his signing is seen as potentially being more than merely adding depth to the position for 2009. Whether the Williamses will be exonerated in court or not has yet to be seen, but it would appear quite clear that the Vikings are hedging their bets and making preparations for a potential worst-case scenario if they should be suspended for up to four games to start the year.


  • The Vikings may be looking to tap the University of Oklahoma gold mine once again. Head coach Brad Childress led a contingent of Vikings personnel to the Pro Day at Oklahoma. The Sooners have a slew of top prospects, including wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, guard Duke Robinson, center Jon Cooper and safety Nic Harris.

  • Word out of Cincinnati is that the Bengals are looking for a fullback and have likely pared the list down to a pair of NFC North restricted free agents. The Vikings' Naufahu Tahi and the Packers' John Kuhn have both met with the team in the past week. One of them is expected to get an offer sheet in the coming days.

  • Former Vikings offensive lineman Adam Goldberg was in Cleveland Wednesday to meet with the Browns about a potential free-agent contract.

  • The likelihood of Darren Sharper ending up with the Saints took a step forward Wednesday. Over the weekend, reports out of New Orleans hinted that the Saints were deciding on whether to offer a contract to Sharper or Gerald Sensabaugh – a free agent safety who played with the Jaguars. The Cowboys answered part of that question, by signing Sensabaugh to a one-year contract late Tuesday.

  • As of Wednesday, even after signing safety Anthony Smith and having to pay out $4 million plus in contract escalators to some veteran players, the Packers still remain $29 million under the salary cap. Only Tampa Bay ($39 million), Philadelphia ($38 million) and Kansas City ($35 million) have more room under the cap.

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