Free-agent guard Chester Pitts has a target date and several NFL teams have Pitts as their target.
Pitts, who suffered a knee injury in Week 2 last year that required microfracture surgery, told Sirius NFL Radio on Saturday that he has a workout date set for July 15. Several teams have expressed an interest in him, including the Vikings.
"I originally took three trips – Detroit, San Fran and Seattle – and they're all actually still in the mix, and then Philly and Minnesota actually called last week and said, ‘If you're ready on the 15th, we're going to work you out and we have a place for you,'" Pitts told Sirius. "For me, I'm 85 percent, I'm pushing at 90 but I don't like to say I'm at 90 because I'm not quite there yet. But I'll be 100 percent (in) probably six weeks. So I have about a two-week cushion to get it as healthy and get as strong as I can get it."
Pitts said in a previous interview with Fox Sports Houston that Seattle was the frontrunner because of need and best fit, but like the Houston Texans the Vikings also run a zone-blocking scheme that Pitts could transition well into without a full offseason. The key, of course, is the condition of Pitts' knee.
"Have you ever heard anybody say I wish I had an ACL, because I'd trade an ACL for what I had any day of the week? I actually had a guy roll into my knee, he rolled into my knee and right at that moment I had all my weight on my knee," Pitts said. "… Basically the knee rolled in the wrong direction and bones crashed into each other and I actually broke off the ends of both of the bones when they banged."
Pitts was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 24. Before that incident, he was productive and consistent. The 2002 second-round draft pick was the first player to start 100 games for the franchise, and he has the versatility the Vikings like as well, starting off his career mostly at left tackle before moving to left guard the last five years. He played almost 4,000 consecutive offensive snaps for the Texans from 2002-2006 and entered last year missing only seven plays in seven seasons.
But Pitts had to go from a productive start to his career to making sure he followed medical protocol and stay completely off his leg. Now he's almost ready to show interested NFL teams the progress his knee has made.
"I had to do the microfracture to fix it and then the biggest deal with microfracture is you have to actually get off the leg. When I say get off the leg, you've got to get-off-the-leg-like-when-you-were-in-mom's-womb get off the leg. I had to go two full months without being able to put my leg on the ground," he said. "Because I did that, it completely healed and now I just have to get strong again. Anybody knows without putting your leg on the ground you're going to have some serious atrophy. But I'm coming back and I'm getting stronger every day."
He said he's been pain-free for about three months and hasn't had any setbacks.
"It doesn't swell up on me, anything. I'm very blessed, but I listened to the doctor's orders. Most people have problems with microfracture because they don't stay off it like they're supposed to," he said.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Vikings among five teams interested in Pitts
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