Vikings will blitz their way back into business

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 21, 2011 - 7:26 AM

Once the NFL lockout is over, the Vikings will have only days to settle salary cap and roster questions that usually take teams months to decide.

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Vikings coach Leslie Frazier

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Leslie Frazier was scheduled to return from vacation Wednesday. That might be the last bit of rest and relaxation the Vikings coach gets for several months.

The NFL lockout that began on March 11 could end as early as Thursday.

Players and owners are in a position to vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement. Ratification from both sides would create an unprecedented frenzy of activity for the Vikings and other teams. The Vikings want to open training camp Aug. 1 in Mankato (if possible) but first would need to deal with numerous issues over a period of days that ordinarily would have been handled over months.

Here are five key issues:

Managing the salary cap

After a year's absence, the salary cap will return at a reported $120 million in 2011. ESPN reports that the Vikings are $5.1 million over that. That means vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and VP of football operations Rob Brzezinski, who manages the cap, are going to have to do some quick work to clear space.

Receiver Bernard Berrian ($6.258 million cap hit) and safety Madieu Williams ($5.5 million) could be jettisoned to create space. But would the Vikings want to let go of Berrian without knowing whether free agent Sidney Rice will return?

Another move would be to attempt to work a long-term extension with Adrian Peterson. The Pro Bowl running back is entering the last season of his contract and is due a base salary of $10.720 million but will have an eye-popping cap number of $12.775 million. Peterson is going to want an extension and the Vikings would create cap relief by giving him one. Linebacker Chad Greenway, who received the franchise tag before the lockout began, would have a cap number of around $10 million for 2011. A long-term deal for Greenway also would make sense.

Sidney Rice: Should he stay or should he go?

Rice had a Pro Bowl season in 2009, but that marked the only time the 2007 second-round pick has played a full season. Last year, Rice had hip surgery in August and did not play until late November.

Rice is a No. 1 receiver if he's healthy, but his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is likely going to want plenty of guaranteed money. The Vikings are expected to have a 72-hour window in which they will have exclusive negotiating rights with Rice and their other free agents, but once that's over he will hit the market. A team such as Seattle, which is reportedly $39 million under the cap, could pounce on Rice.

Decisions, decisions

Starting left end Ray Edwards almost certainly will sign elsewhere (Atlanta?) when free agency commences. Edwards had 16.5 sacks the past two season, but he has made it clear he wants to leave. Brian Robison will take over at left end. The Vikings also are going to have to decide whether to try to retain veteran nose tackle Pat Williams (38), kicker Ryan Longwell (36) and linebacker Ben Leber (32), among others.

Quarterback shopping

The Vikings made Christian Ponder the 12th pick in the April draft and would like to put him on the fast track to become the starting quarterback. But given that he has missed the entire offseason program, having Ponder start the Sept. 11 regular-season opener at San Diego might do more damage than good.

The Vikings also have Joe Webb and Rhett Bomar under contract, but odds appear strong they will look to add a veteran who can start the season and serve as a mentor.

Washington's Donovan McNabb (34), who could be released or moved in a trade, has been mentioned by the national media, as has free agent Matt Hasselbeck (35). But would the Vikings want to sign a veteran who sees himself as a potential long-term solution? Free-agent possibilities could include Marc Bulger or Bruce Gradkowski.

Address other needs

The Vikings long ago went through multiple free-agency scenarios, but will have to be prepared to act quickly next week if and when more than 400 free agents hit the market. The top-notch free agents -- it's expected that players with four accrued seasons will be unrestricted -- will be gone in the blink of an eye.

But there will be plenty of other quality guys available, meaning having cap space will be key.

The one thing about this coming period that should be less hectic than usual for the Vikings will be signing their 10 draft picks. A rookie wage system is expected to be in place in the new CBA, making reaching agreements with first-round picks much easier.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 0 1st Qtr 5:45
San Francisco 0
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 2nd Prd
Nashville 0
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 51 2nd Half 3:31
North Carolina 74
Long Beach State 13 1st Half 10:48
Western Mich 9
Marquette 0 1st Half 19:28
Georgia Tech 2
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 7 2nd Qtr 1:20
Texas A&M 7
(6) TCU 13 2nd Qtr 4:54
Texas 3
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 16 1st Half 3:37
Richmond 21
Oklahoma 11 1st Half 12:02
South Florida 15
Princeton 11 1st Half 12:30
Wake Forest 5
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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