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Vikings: Planning stage for free agency begins

  • Article by: Kevin Seifert and Judd Zulgad
  • Star Tribune
  • February 13, 2007 - 10:25 PM

The Vikings will spend the next three weeks involved in the NFL's pre-free agency period, making determinations on their existing roster and solidifying the remainder of their offseason plans. The following is a look at several points of interest that should be resolved by the time free-agent market opens March 2.

Player departures

Each year, NFL teams jettison a handful of players under contract. Although no decisions have been communicated, the Vikings seem likely to release quarterback Brad Johnson and cornerback Fred Smoot by the end of this month. Both players have roster bonuses due in March, and Smoot also would have a $2.7 million base salary if he remains with the team.

The futures of tight ends Jermaine Wiggins and Jim Kleinsasser also are being evaluated. Kleinsasser, who caught seven passes in 2006, is scheduled to make $2.9 million in base salary during the 2007 season.

Meanwhile, ESPN has speculated that safety Dwight Smith and offensive lineman Mike Rosenthal also are candidates for release.

Unrestricted free agents

The Vikings have not held substantive discussions with any of their top three free agents -- linebacker Napoleon Harris, receiver Travis Taylor and receiver Bethel Johnson. All three appeared poised to test the market. A handful of second-tier free agents, including defensive tackle Ross Kolodziej and safety Tank Williams, could be candidates to return.

Restricted free agents

The Vikings will tender a contract to offensive lineman Anthony Herrera, according to agent Cliff Speck, and thus will retain his rights for 2007. There have been no known discussions with the Vikings' top restricted free agent, defensive end Darrion Scott.

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