Kleinsasser Early Key to Free Agency

With money to spend, the status of Jim Kleinsasser is going to be paramount for the Vikings to gameplan for free agency.

One of the first moves Mike Tice made when he took over as head coach was to move Jim Kleinsasser from fullback back to tight end. Over the course of the last season, Kleinsasser became a jack of all trades -- lining up alongside tackles as a blocking tight end, lining up as a fullback and also playing the role of H-back.

While he didn't have a huge statistical year, his contribution to the offense was enormous, and he has become the team's top priority in free agency.

The Vikings are planning to start negotiations in earnest before the free-agent period begins, because, if Kleinsasser hits the open market, there is a good chance another team will step up with a big offer. While fans in other cities may not know a lot about him, coaches and scouts have been impressed with him and he would be one of the hotter free-agent players as far as drawing interest from multiple teams.

While the Vikings may have to spend a little more than they anticipated a year ago to keep Kleinsasser, he would be worth the investment since his role with the offense has become critical.

* The other free agent priority is signing Moe Williams. However, Williams likely won't get as much attention from other teams as Kleinsasser, so he probably won't be as pressing an issue to sign.
* VU reported yesterday about the signing of two practice squad players. The team also signed OL Kenny Sandlin and Lorenzo White for 2003. VU is being told the team expects to sign RB Jeremy Allen soon as well. The only practice squad player lost was G Ed Ta'amu, who signed with Houston.

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