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- January 6, 2011 - 10:10 AM
As Vikings players packed up their lockers Monday morning, questions about who won't return next season kept coming up. With 18 free agents, the players understand that the locker room is going to see a significant makeover.
But the other popular question was, when will the players return? Needless to say, there wasn't much optimism amongst players that a lockout will be avoided.
Players were bracing for a work stoppage as they scattered for the offseason.
"I think the overall feeling is just to prepare for a lockout," linebacker Ben Leber said. "I don't think we want to give anyone false hope thinking that we're going to get something done and then we do get locked out and now we've got players that are upset because they weren't mentally prepared for it. I think at this point, we're telling everybody to prepare for the lockout, prepare with what's going to happen with insurance and prepare with what's going to happen overall."
Rookie cornerback Chris Cook said he was told there is a 95 percent chance of a lockout. Players around the league were told throughout the season to set money aside in the event of the lockout.
"I'm always a penny pincher," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "I'm the tightest guy on the team, probably."
Joked linebacker Chad Greenway: "I’m a farmer. We’re frugal. I can go for a long time.”
Leber said he's hopeful that a lockout would not last long enough to affect games.
"I just don't think that we could really go into a season where we're actually missing games," he said. "That's not good for the players, that's not good for the owners, that's not good for the fans and the overall integrity of the game. So I don't think it will be something that's going to linger around until August."
-- The Vikings finished the season ranked 29th in turnover margin at minus 11. Their 37 turnovers tied for third most in the NFL. Their 26 interceptions led the league. By comparison, the Vikings had only 18 turnovers and seven interceptions last season.
-- The Vikings have signed defensive end Adrian Awasom to a futures contract.