Safety Darren Sharper spent the last four years with the Vikings, but it appears as if he'll be with New Orleans in 2009, as the Saints have made a contract offer to him.
Since the start of free agency, Darren Sharper
and the New Orleans Saints
have been linked as potential free-agent partners. Since then, nothing has changed that opinion. Despite entertaining some other safeties, the Saints have zeroed in on Sharper and the feeling has been mutual – the Saints have been the only team that Sharper has made a free agent visit with.
On Tuesday, it became clearer that the two sides are near reaching a deal. In a story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune
, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Sharper would become "the quarterback" of the Saints secondary. While no official offer was made to Sharper when he visited the team two weeks ago, a proposal has been made since and the team expects to have a deal done before offseason workouts begin March 30.
Speaking at the Pro Day of LSU, head coach Sean Payton said, "We'll know sooner than later. I think we'll know something probably in the next two weeks."
When asked about the possibility of adding Sharper, Williams sounded like quite the fan, saying, "I've always liked Darren from afar. If Darren ends up being a Saint, I'll be happy, but he has to handle his business decision with our business people."
The Vikings have made no effort to re-sign Sharper and it appears to be a foregone conclusion that, whether he signs with the Saints or not, he won't be returning to the Vikings in 2009.
The Bears began their first minicamp Tuesday. The Vikings won't have their first official team functions until early April.
With many teams beginning offseason activities, there have been numerous teams signing multiple players at once, like the Patriots and Steelers – who each signed a handful of their own free agents this week.
The Vikings remain in the middle of the rumor mill concerning Jay Cutler. Tuesday ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer told the Star Tribune the Vikings trading for Cutler would be a good PR move to inspire the fan base, but doesn't believe it would necessarily translate into more success on the field. The Vikings have yet to claim publicly that the team has had any interest in trading for Cutler.
The Vikings lost out on other of their rumored interests in free agency. On Wednesday morning, the Ravens announced the signing of cornerback Chris Carr, who had been with the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens also signed former Vikings center Matt Birk earlier in free agency.