Vikings target own free agents

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 8, 2008 - 12:08 AM

Quality role players such as Tony Richardson, Mewelde Moore, Heath Farwell and Dontarrious Thomas could stay with team, if the price is right.

The Vikings are going to take a good look at the free agent market, but coach Brad Childress says the team's priority is to sign their own free agents.

Those free agents include fullback Tony Richardson, running back Mewelde Moore, special teams standout Heath Farwell and linebacker Dontarrious Thomas.

"Well, you're in danger of losing everybody that's a free agent," Childress said, "but I talked to all those guys before they left. In some instances, they'd like to get out and see what their value is in the market, and in some instances we'll be making offers to them. They'll be weighing those things and seeing if they want to go on or if they want to continue on with us.

"But every one of those guys knows where they stand. Some are bound and determined to get out in the marketplace and some, if the money's right, would like to stay here."

A lot of the media were surprised the Vikings didn't make an effort to sign Moore during the season and the feeling was that he wouldn't be coming back, but Childress says he would like to keep him.

"Moore had a good year for us last year and did some good things. He'd like to play more, and I can't begrudge a guy an opportunity to do that," Childress said.

"What you lose with him is his return ability, but the snaps were going to be minimal with guys like Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. So, you respect that, if we can get him back at the right price, we'll do that; otherwise he'll probably be moving on. But those are how we kind of value judge those situations.

"Tony Richardson is one of those key guys. He's in the Pro Bowl. He's 36 years old and that is a tough, tough decision that we'll have to come to here in the next couple of weeks. We let the season kind of settle down and then he'll be back in here to sit down and talk here in a couple of weeks."

No doubt one of the best free agents is Farwell, who was named the team's special teams MVP two years in a row. Farwell wants to stay here, so look for the Vikings to make every effort to sign him.

As for Thomas, he told Childress he would like to play more.

"When you have a guy like E.J. Henderson and Chad Greenway and Ben Leber, it's hard for him to see snaps there," Childress said. "He sees more snaps on the special team."

Childress said the overall free agent market is lean, but he added, "We always do our homework. It makes us better as coaches at least knowing what's out there, knowing what was on other people's teams.

"Sometimes as free agency goes full-circle, [players] go through it two or three times. So, it's just great to see where they're at now and where they may be at later. In some areas, we're happy with what we have as opposed to what's there in free agency."

However, the Vikings are $30 million below the salary cap and the Wilfs are willing to spend the money to add the right players if it means becoming a contender to reach the Super Bowl.

Modano the best

Lou Nanne, who not only played for the North Stars but was the general manager who drafted Mike Modano first overall in 1988, says Modano is the best to ever play for the North Stars.

Modano, the Dallas Stars center who was honored Thursday night by the Wild for becoming the highest scorer among American-born players in the NHL, wound up playing with Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League for the first year after he was drafted because Nanne and Modano's agent couldn't agree on a contract.

Nanne recalls Modano signing for something like $300,000 his first year, compared to his highest salary with Dallas, $4.5 million.

"He could do everything," Nanne recalled of Modano's North Stars days. "I mean he could score, he was a playmaker, he was the best stickhandler, hardest shot and fastest skater. He's going to be in the Hall of Fame. We don't have anybody else in the Hall of Fame."

Nanne credited Modano for getting the North Stars to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1991, when they lost to Pittsburgh in six games.

At 37, Modano is still going strong, with 15 goals and 22 assists this season.

Jottings

The word at the Super Bowl was that had Bill Parcells not been able to hire Cowboys assistant coach Tony Sparano as the new Dolphins coach, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier would have gotten the job. Frazier said he enjoyed the experience of being interviewed for the Dolphins and Falcons jobs, and that he will do even better next time.

The Twins have hired Shaun McGinn as their new advance scout. McGinn most recently served as senior director of minor league operations for the Royals. Two scouts have been promoted to new supervisor positions: Sean Johnson on the West Coast and Mark Quimuyog on the East Coast.

When Gophers football coach Tim Brewster spoke about Ryan Grant, the recruit from Eden Prairie who played quarterback and defensive back, he also revealed that Grant was an outstanding long snapper.

Gophers basketball recruit Ralph Sampson III continues to star for his Duluth (Ga.) Northview team with 31 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks in a recent 68-61 victory over Walton. ... Two other Gophers recruits are doing well. Devron Bostick's Southwestern Illinois team is ranked fifth among junior colleges and is averaging 19.8 points and 2.15 assists per game. Devoe Joseph's Pickering High School is ranked No. 1 in the Canadian province of Ontario.

The Gophers hockey team lost eight players to the NHL the past two years but could lose just one this year, if Blake Wheeler decides to turn pro. ... For the Hershey Bears of the AHL, former Gopher Grant Potulny has 16 goals and 11 assists in 45 games and Ben Clymer has eight goals and 16 assists in 41 games. ... Ryan Potulny is the third-leading scorer for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL with 13 goals and 18 assists in 36 games. ... Former Gophers wing Kris Chucko has six goals and eight assists in 50 games for Quad City of the AHL.

Bloomington native Toby Petersen and Roseville native Marty Sertich are the top two scorers for the Dallas Stars' top farm club, the Iowa Stars. Petersen has 17 goals and 25 assists in 50 games and Sertich has 14 goals and 16 assists in 49 games. ... Former Gopher Barry Tallackson has 14 goals and 13 assists in 42 games for Lowell of the AHL.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

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