Vikings UFAs don't generate much interest

While the Vikings haven't been big players in the free-agent market around the league, only one of their own unrestricted free agents (Matt Birk) has signed with another team. The market is relatively slow to evolve for all involved.

As free agency begins its third week, things remain essentially status quo for the Vikings. The signing of cornerback Karl Paymah marked the first signing from outside the organization, but just as the Vikings haven't been adding players, they haven't been losing them either.

The Vikings entered free agency with 12 unrestricted free agents. Of those, four have re-signed with the team – Heath Farwell, Jimmy Kennedy, Jim Kleinsasser and Benny Sapp. Of the remaining eight players, only one has signed with another team – center Matt Birk, who signed with the Ravens a little more than a week ago.

The Vikings have expressed little in the way of public interest in the remaining seven players and they have garnered little in the way of interest around the league. Darren Sharper made a free agent visit to New Orleans, but remains unsigned. Last week, backup offensive tackle Marcus Johnson met with the Tennessee Titans, but no satisfactory offer was extended. Both remain on the market, but appear to have limited leverage.

Of the remaining five players, about the only one who looks to have a fair shot at coming back is DT Ellis Wyms. With the re-signing of Farwell and the return to health of E.J. Henderson, it seems less likely that the team will make a push to bring back either Dontarrious Thomas or Napoleon Harris, both of whom were brought in during the 2008 season when the Vikings were desperate for linebacker help due to injuries and ineffectiveness on special teams.

The only other two UFAs from the Vikings are DT Kenderick Allen and safety Michael Boulware, who both spent the 2008 season on injured reserve. The Vikings were able to get along without them and neither of them would appear to be a priority to re-sign.

Although the Vikings have been largely inactive in the 2009 free agent market, it would seem as though they have a plan of some kind in place and know what they're doing in regard to their own veteran free agents. Aside from Birk, nobody has drawn much amount of interest and the only one who actually went on multiple team visits (Farwell) was re-signed.

About the only free agent the Vikings made a strong push to go after was wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who accepted a five-year, $40 million contract with Seattle. Other than him, the Vikings haven't made a full-court press attack that has become their trademark to bring in outside free agents.

With the draft still six weeks away, a lot can change, but as it stands right now, it looks as though the Vikings are satisfied with where they're at and will start shifting their efforts to the draft. We knew coming in that the free-agent class of 2009 wasn't all that strong, but the Vikings have made it clear that they're not going to break the bank to overspend this year, especially with the prospect of 2010 being an uncapped year that would make much uncertain the effects of the current contract language. The silence of the UFAs continues.

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