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Other Vikings news: Team puts tender on restricted free agent A.J. Jefferson

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  • March 11, 2013 - 8:02 PM

In other news …

Yes, yes, we know. All other Vikings news is incredibly minor today in the wake of the Percy Harvin trade, a blockbuster deal that has triggered widespread reaction. But there is other business to tend to. So, a few notables to put on the table …

-- The Vikings have put the low tender on cornerback A.J. Jefferson, the team’s only restricted free agent. With free agency officially set to open Tuesday at 3 p.m., the move puts the Vikings in position to pay Jefferson $1.323 million for 2013 while also giving the team the right to match any other offer Jefferson gets from another organization. If Jefferson is given an offer from another team that the Vikings don’t choose to match, they will not be awarded draft compensation. The 24-year-old cornerback came to the Vikings through a trade with Arizona just before the start of the regular season last summer. He wound up starting seven games, taking on a heightened role after Chris Cook broke his wrist in Week 8.

-- The Vikings have 10 unrestricted free agents due to hit the open market on Tuesday. They are right tackle Phil Loadholt, fullback Jerome Felton, linebackers Jasper Brinkley, Erin Henderson and Marvin Mitchell, safety Jamarca Sanford, receivers Jerome Simpson and Devin Aromashodu and offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz and Joe Berger. Here was our weekend projections on how all of those situations might play out. We’re told the Vikings have heavy interest in bringing Simpson back into the fold for a second season. And the needs at receiver just got a little more dire with the Harvin deal. Simpson has attracted interest from multiple other teams and will have a decision to make. We’re expecting Jerome Felton back as well, though it will be interesting to see if he ultimately makes a cash grab and rewards the highest bidder for his services or if, as expected, he truly values the situation he has found in Minnesota in a run-first, fullback-reliant offense that features league MVP Adrian Peterson.

-- Loadholt’s situation seems to be the hardest to get a pulse on. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier have made it very clear that it’s a top priority to bring the durable and improving right tackle back to retain stability up front. But a deal has not yet been reached and it will be interesting to see how things unfold Tuesday. All indications are that Schwartz is 99.5 percent out the door, seeking for heightened opportunity after failing to unseat Brandon Fusco at right guard last season. But Schwartz has the versatility to play tackle, too. So if negotiations with Loadholt stall out, there’s a slim chance Schwartz could be seen as the “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” option.

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