Kennedy shocked to be among Vikings first cuts

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG and JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: July 27, 2011 - 6:40 AM

Jimmy Kennedy isn't Pat Williams' heir apparent after all.

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Nose tackle Jimmy Kennedy

Photo: Adam M. Bettcher, Associated Press

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Jimmy Kennedy isn't Pat Williams' heir apparent after all.

Kennedy, a 31-year-old nose tackle, said he will be among Vikings players let go when NFL teams are allowed to officially release players on Thursday.

"It definitely was a shock and a surprise," Kennedy said Tuesday. "I talked to [defensive line coach Karl Dunbar on Monday night] and he was talking positive and everything was great. The conversation [Tuesday], like literally, we were stunned. But I love the team, I love the Vikings. I thank God for the opportunity ... and I wish them the best."

Kennedy was the presumed replacement for the 38-year-old Williams, who wasn't expected to return. Rookie fourth-round draft pick Christian Ballard, Letroy Guion and Tremaine Johnson are left as possible options at tackle alongside All-Pro Kevin Williams.

Releasing Kennedy will save the Vikings $2.5 million in cap space. The latest figures have them reportedly $3.6 million above the $120.4 million cap. Teams have until Aug. 4 to be cap-compliant.

Kennedy had 11 tackles and half a sack in 10 games last season. He blamed his disappointing play on preseason arthroscopic knee surgery to clean out bone spurs and loose cartilage. Kennedy missed the final two preseason games and the first two regular-season games.

"Coach [Leslie] Frazier talked to me into having the knee surgery to have it cleaned out," Kennedy said of Frazier, who was defensive coordinator at the time.

"It was something that was supposed to take two weeks, and it ended up taking two months. I don't sit there and say, 'Woe is me, woe is me, I shouldn't have did that.' I tried to do the noble thing and not complain, not putting up a fight and all that other stuff. Literally going out there and giving everything that I had."

No decision on Williamses

While the NFL will have the ability to suspend defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams for four games apiece now that their StarCaps court case is complete, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail Tuesday that the league office hasn't addressed the issue since the lockout ended.

Pat Williams is a free agent and it's not certain if he will return, either to the team or to the league.

Rookies on board

The Vikings aren't announcing their list of undrafted rookie free agents until they have passed their physicals as early as Wednesday.

Some of the players believed to have agreed to terms include: wide receivers Andre Holmes of Hillsdale (Mich.) College and Dominique Johnson of Cal Poly; running backs Matt Asiata of Utah and Derrick Locke of Kentucky; tight end Allen Reisner of Iowa; kicker Nate Whitaker of Stanford; guard Conan Amituanai of Arizona; Ohio State defensive back Devon Torrence; and Valdosta (Ga.) State outside linebacker Larry Dean, last year's NCAA Division II Defensive Player of the Year.

Camp dates to note

The Vikings' first training camp practice will be from 3 to 4:35 p.m. Monday. There is only one practice session Tuesday, from 9 to 11 a.m.

There are two sessions per day -- one practice and one walkthrough -- Wednesday through Friday of next week. The first practice in full pads starts at 9 a.m. Aug. 4. The team will have a Saturday night practice in full pads from 7 to 9:30 on Aug. 6.

Etc.

• The agent for safety Husain Abdullah said his client will sign his restricted free agent tender on Friday.

• Receiver Freddie Brown also was told he will be released on Thursday.

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