Free Agent Reaction

Progress reports on visits with Tory James and Orlando Brown. Plus reaction to Corey Fuller signing in Baltimore and thoughts on Tyrone Williams.

Defensive back Tory James had a very good visit with the Vikings and contract discussions are underway. While James enjoyed the visit to Minnesota, he feels that he owes it to himself, as well as to keep his word on his previously scheduled trip to Cincinnati.

A stumbling block for the Vikings could be the serious interest the Bengals have in James. According to sources close to the Bengals, head coach Marvin Lewis believes that James is the best cornerback still on the free agency market and will aggressively attempt to sell James on the Cincinnati plan of building a playoff calibur team. With the number of quality cornerbacks dwindling in free agency and Minnesota wanting to sign an established player, rather than a rookie, the Vikings are expected to make James an offer that they hope will lure him to the Twin Cities.

Sources close to the Vikings were somewhat surprised when free agent cornerback Corey Fuller spurned their offer and signed with the Baltimore Ravens. According to our source in Minnesota, discussions with Fuller had gone extremely well and indications were that Fuller was close to rejoining the Vikings. A late push from Baltimore head coach Brian Billick and a few extra dollars lured Fuller to the Ravens. Also, the opportunity to face the team he previously played for and was released by, the Cleveland Browns, twice a year did not hurt the cause.

The saga of free agent offensive lineman Orlando Brown should come to an end in the next two weeks. Those close to Brown have indicated that the man they call "Zeus" should make a decision soon. As for Brown's visit to Minnesota, an associate tells this column that Brown was impressed with the desire and commitment of head coach Mike Tice and left Minnesota with a much greater appreciation of the organization. Contract numbers have been thrown around between the parties, but a deal is not imminent.

Quietly the Vikings have been evaluating the play of cornerback Tyrone Williams of the Green Bay Packers. Although he is somewhat inconsistent, the belief in the Twin Cities is that Williams has the ability to become "a much better" than average cornerback, and the team will open discussions with Williams in the near future.

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