Vikings cut 3, will bring in receiver

  • Article by: KEVIN SEIFERT and JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 2, 2007 - 12:05 AM

Jermaine Wiggins, Fred Smoot and Mike Rosenthal were let go as the team opened up about $3 million in salary cap space.

The Vikings were attempting to arrange a visit with St. Louis Rams receiver Kevin Curtis as the NFL opened its free-agent market Thursday night.

On a day they released three more prominent veterans, the Vikings hoped Curtis could arrive in the Twin Cities today. Curtis, who caught 40 passes last season and 60 in 2005 for the Rams, is "at the top of [the] stack" of available receivers, Vikings coach Brad Childress said last month at the NFL scouting combine.

Curtis' visit also was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Vikings were planning other visits around Childress' plan to attend the pro day workout of Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn on Sunday.

In other free-agency news:

•The Vikings were scheduling a Monday visit for Atlanta receiver Ashlie Lelie, who will be in Houston today. Lelie played for new Vikings receivers coach George Stewart when both were with the Falcons last season.

•Free-agent receiver Drew Bennett was getting interest from about six teams, including the Vikings, but no visit to Minnesota had been scheduled. Other available receivers are Eric Moulds, Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth.

•Tight end Daniel Graham, the top player available at his position, will visit his hometown Denver Broncos today. The Vikings expressed interest in Graham as well as New York Giants tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who could visit Monday.

•The Vikings have expressed interest in Atlanta defensive end Patrick Kerney, a pass rusher who is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle. Tampa Bay defensive end Dewayne White is another potential target.

•Linebacker Napoleon Harris is expected to visit Kansas City today.

Earlier, the Vikings released tight end Jermaine Wiggins, cornerback Fred Smoot and offensive lineman Mike Rosenthal. Wiggins requested the move and Smoot no doubt welcomed it as well, but Rosenthal seemed surprised. Regardless, the moves helped the Vikings clear about $3 million of salary cap space and left them about $30 million under the $109 million limit.

Thursday's most notable departure might have been Wiggins, the Vikings' leading receiver in 2004 and 2005. He caught 140 passes during that span but was not a good fit for Childress' precision offense, slipping to 46 receptions in 2006.

Wiggins said he hopes to find a system that better fits his skills.

"I feel like I've proven that I can be among the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL," Wiggins said. "I feel like if I go to a team that is going to say, 'Hey, do what you can do and make plays,' I still feel like I can be among the top 10 in the NFL. I still have plenty left in the tank."

Smoot had two terrible seasons after signing a six-year contract worth $34 million -- with $10.8 million guaranteed. He started 18 of a possible 32 games and was benched for performance reasons in both seasons.

Smoot managed only three interceptions in his tenure and was fined one game check for his role in the Vikings' 2005 sex party on Lake Minnetonka.

Meanwhile, there had been indications that Rosenthal would remain with the team at a lower salary. He started three games last season at right tackle and can play all four non-center positions, but the Vikings released him Thursday amid indications they will give Ryan Cook a long look at right tackle in 2007.

"Did I expect it? Probably not," Rosenthal said. "But I can't say it's totally unexpected."

Etc.

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