Offering, But Still Waiting

The Vikings continue to play the waiting game while extending offers to a number of free agents, but in the end the Vikings could reap the benefits of other teams' overspending.

The splash into the free agency market hasn't been as loud as many expected from the Minnesota Vikings. Cornerbacks are falling to the wayside, linebackers have found new homes, and the Vikings have signed a defensive lineman. This may not sound like a promising start to the free agent signing period, but the Vikings have been a quiet player in the game.

A clear message has been sent by the Vikings: "Come in, visit, if we like you, lets make a deal" and we're not talking about the old game show.

Disappointing is an understatement when looking at the Vikings current status in free agency, when you take the perspective of actually adding the bodies to improve the roster. On the other hand, many teams are signing the average Joe Player for outlandish contracts, which does not fit into the Vikings' scheme. The consistent act of irresponsible free agency signings will almost certainly leave many above average players available for reduced salary deals in the marketplace throughout this off-season. Again, teams are at the wheel spending every last dollar, in numerous cases mortgaging the future.

Not in Minnesota though.

The Vikings have offers on the table for quarterback Neil O'Donnell, offensive lineman Orlando Brown and defensive back Tory James. O'Donnell must come to a quick decision or the Vikings will close the door and move onto the next participant in the process.

"Right now, O'Donnell would like to remain with Tennessee, and the Dolphins have shown a strong interest in the veteran," a league source said. "From what we are hearing, if O'Donnell does not agree to terms or seriously negotiate with the Vikings by Monday or Tuesday, the Vikings are going to open further discussions with Gus Frerotte."

As for Brown, the player, ex-player, is closing in on a decision, but that decision may have to wait on a team clearing salary cap space to accommodate the offensive lineman.

"Brown has had many good visits with teams that are interested in his services. Being in very good shape, Brown has impressed with his attitude and desire to return to the game," the source said. "He has received further interest within the past week and may take a look at a couple other teams, but as of right now one team has expressed serious interest but does not have the cap space to make a deal. Either Brown will wait this out or agree to a deal with another team soon."

Tory James wants to be a starting cornerback in the NFL and the Vikings have offered him a contract to fulfill that desire. James, who had previous scheduled visits with other teams, has kept his word and is visiting on his free agency world tour.

"James is a player that the Vikings have shown a serious interest in. He fits the scheme in Minnesota and is a player that is really ready to break out," a team source said. "The Vikings have been negotiating with James' representatives, while nothing is imminent, progress has been made. A darkhorse in the James derby is Cincinnati. They have some money to spend, they've been aggressive in free agency, and they need help in the defensive backfield."

Quick Hitters
* The Chicago Bears will match the offer sheet the Vikings signed kicker Paul Edinger to.

* The Vikings have shown an interest in recently released cornerback Jason Sehorn, but if he is still expecting a multi-year deal with a couple million dollar signing bonus and an average salary of about $2 million dollars a season, he will not get it from the Vikings.

* The team continues to negotiate with running back Moe Williams. The Vikings would like to get a deal signed with him within the next couple weeks.


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