Test The Market Or Return?

A few Vikings scheduled to be free agents are indicating their desire to return, while a few others want to test the free-agent market before fully committing. And what about the return of Robert Griffith, Dwayne Rudd or Corey Fuller?

At the Vikings' Winter Park facility in Eden Prairie, the masses are hard at work breaking down numerous free agency scenarios that the organization anticipates to occur. With the process, the Vikings are planning their strategy of keeping some of their own players.

While the Vikings are maintaining a firm vow of silence, a source close to the team and two independent agents unveil some of the master plan to The Insiders.

A consistent belief resides throughout the Vikings organization that they must maintain the continuity established under Mike Tice. With this thought in mind, the Vikings are in the midst of a detailed evaluation process that has led to a few names being funneled to this column.

"Some of the players that the Vikings want to keep have expressed a desire to test the market in free agency, which is the right all players with full-vested time is entitled to under the Collective Bargaining Agreement," one agent said. "This isn't to say that any of the free-agent players won't remain in Minnesota, you really never know what is going to happen when a player hits the open market and is wooed by teams that have an interest."

"Looking at the Vikings, Jim Kleinsasser is obviously the one player that stands out among their free-agent players. He has come into his own and is the type of player at the tight-end position that is going to draw a significant amount of interest. Jimmy (Kleinsasser) loves playing in Minnesota and it would be a difficult decision for him to make to leave the city. All things being equal, he will stay in Minnesota. We expect the Vikings to make him an offer that is fair and in the ballpark of what his value is believed to be on the open market. If this is the case there shouldn't be an issue."

As much as players like Kleinsasser have earned the right to see what their value is on the open market, some of these players have absolutely no desire to leave their respective teams.

"Without a doubt, some of the players that are eligible for free agency have expressed their desire to remain with the Vikings. Running back Moe Williams and cornerback Ty Carter have indicated that Minnesota is home to them and want to remain here," a team source said. "Offensive linemen Lewis Kelly and Cory Withrow expect to remain with the team, although Kelly could receive some serious interest from teams that are looking for a potential left tackle."

"In all, the Vikings will have about $25 million of salary cap space to play with. They certainly will not come close to using this space, but expectations coming from the guys around the team are that 5 or 6 of the Vikings' 13 free agents are expected to be re-signed."

Could these guys return?
With an abbreviated house-cleaning on the defensive side of the ball in Cleveland possible, could ex-Vikings Corey Fuller, Robert Griffith and Dwayne Rudd find their way back to the Twin Cities, if released by the Browns?

The answer was a resounding, NO, NO, and NO, according to a member of the Vikings organization. The reasoning is quite simple. The Vikings are not looking for stop-gap players that will command a hefty salary. The only way that any of the three ex-Vikings return to Minnesota is a low base salary and, most importantly, if there was a roster spot available to compete for due to the team not being able to improve the positions with youth.

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