VIKINGS VS. ATLANTA
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A player lost, another gained on active day for Vikings
- Article by: Kevin Seifert and Judd Zulgad
- Star Tribune
- September 3, 2007 - 11:14 AM
The Vikings added an intriguing tight end prospect but lost a promising quarterback during a flurry of activity Sunday at Winter Park.
Tight end Garrett Mills arrived via waiver claim from New England, even after Patriots coach Bill Belichick apparently implored the Vikings to pass on him. But rookie quarterback Tyler Thigpen, whom the Vikings wanted to put on their practice squad and develop for the future, was claimed by Kansas City and will begin the season on the Chiefs' active roster.
The day started with Childress recounting a midmorning telephone conversation with Belichick. Speaking on WCCO-AM, Childress said the Patriots wanted to sneak Mills onto their practice squad. According to Childress, Belichick said he was interested in a Vikings castoff but would not claim that player if the Vikings passed on Mills.
"I said, 'Well, I'm really interested in your guy, so we'll have to let our guy slide,' " Childress said. "He didn't really care for that. He was trying to leverage. You always find out who is honest and straightforward."
Ultimately, Belichick followed through on his alleged threat: The Patriots claimed linebacker David Herron, who had signed with the Vikings as a rookie free agent and was among 22 players cut Saturday.
Childress was not available for further comment Sunday and is not scheduled to speak publicly again until Wednesday.
Mills, a fourth-round draft choice out of Tulsa in 2006, can play tight end, fullback and H-back. He was inactive for nine games last season and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve because of a hip injury.
But Mills' agent, Mark Slough, said the ailment has healed.
"He had a good preseason," Slough said. "He's ready to go. ... He's anxious to get on the field."
The Vikings roster now includes three tight ends and three fullbacks. To make room for Mills, they waived offensive lineman Brian Daniels.
Meanwhile, the Vikings' success in grabbing Mills was tempered by the unexpected departure of Thigpen. They invested heavily in scouting him before the draft, identifying him as a raw prospect from Coastal Carolina but nonetheless a perfect fit for their offense.
A seventh-round pick, Thigpen did not disappoint in training camp, but the late-summer trade for backup Kelly Holcomb -- and the decision to retain Brooks Bollinger as their No. 3 -- eliminated Thigpen's roster spot.
Philadelphia also expressed interest in him, and it is believed Carolina wanted to sign him to its practice squad as well. But the Chiefs had higher priority in the NFL's waiver system.
Speaking on WCCO before the waiver deadline, Childress said he looked forward to developing Thigpen. If he were claimed, Childress said, "I'd be sick."
Free-agent safety Nick Sorensen, a coverage specialist, is expected to work out for the Vikings, but it's not certain when. He visited with the Saints on Sunday and was to be there today.
Although they missed with Herron and Thigpen, the Vikings got three players through waivers and onto their practice squad: defensive tackle Conrad Bolston, cornerback Chad Johnson and receiver Martin Nance. Offensive lineman Seppo Evwaraye has an international expemption, meaning the Vikings have five practice squad slots open.
The New York Giants claimed cornerback Dovonte Edwards, who was among the Vikings players waived Saturday. Edwards is expected to compete for playing time in the nickel defense. The Chiefs signed defensive end Khreem Smith to their practice squad. Safety Greg Blue and receiver Chandler Williams went unclaimed, meaning they become free agents. Williams has practice squad eligibility.
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