Walker In, Edinger Out for Vikes

With Vikings fans getting vocal about the lack of free agent activity and questions arising about Red McCombs' willingness to invest in a winner, Mike Tice said Wednesday that Denard Walker is just the first (and not the last) free agent coming to Minnesota.

Mike Tice looked a little relieved Wednesday as the Vikings announced the signing of Denard Walker to help out their anemic secondary. Walker, a six-year veteran who played four years with the Titans and two with the Broncos, signed a four-year deal worth $13 million -- with $5 million of that coming this year in signing bonus (said to be $4 million) and base salary $1 million for 2003).

Tice said the Vikings have been looking for players and value, leaving some to speculate that the team is convinced the Lions grossly overspent on Dre' Bly (five years, $24.5 million). He said Walker is the first (hint: more to come) big-name free agent the team will add.

One player who won't be coming is kicker Paul Edinger. After signing a five-year, $7 million offer sheet that included $1.6 million in up front money, the Bears matched his offer sheet Wednesday, so the search for a kickoff specialist (whether he's a punter or a field goal kicker) continues.

THURSDAY NOTES
* The Vikings may announce as soon as today that the team has traded Todd Bouman to the Saints for a sixth-round pick in next month's draft and possibly a 2004 pick -- contingent on playing time this year. Contract details -- like Bouman's $1 million signing bonus -- need to be amended before the trade can go through, but all indications are that Bouman will be gone from Minnesota within a week.
* VU has learned that Shane Matthews, who is currently visiting Tampa Bay, has a two-year offer on the table from the Vikings.
* VU has also been told that the Vikings have made an offer to the agent for Orlando Brown in hopes of signing the offensive tackle quickly. Three other teams are said to be interested, but Brown wants to get the signing over with quickly and could decide as early as today or Friday on a new team, which is why the Vikings extended an offer.
* Despite signing Walker, the Vikings hosted CB Ken Irvin of the Saints Wednesday and still hope to make an offer to former Packer Tyrone Williams. Williams is visiting the Browns today.

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