Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Labor uncertainty concerns CFL star

Posted by: under Vikings, Lions, Leslie Frazier, Vikings defense, Vikings management, Brian Robison, Leslie Frazier, Ray Edwards Updated: January 27, 2011 - 8:34 AM

The Vikings have interest in signing CFL sacks leader Phillip Hunt but that doesn't mean a deal is going to get done.

Among the factors for the defensive end is the threat of an NFL work stoppage. Hunt led the CFL with 16 sacks this past season and does not want to put himself in a position where he signs a deal but then doesn't get paid when the season begins because of a lockout. At this point, a lockout stands to start in early March.

"I want a signing bonus worth enough that me and my family could live off it for the season just in case the NFL goes into a lockout or if things don't pan out and I come back to the CFL during the season," Hunt told the Winnipeg Free Press. "I want to have enough so that my family has some stability. The Bombers are a great safety net for me right now but I can't see myself putting that in jeopardy for an NFL tryout without a signing bonus.

"Me and [Bombers GM] Joe Mack have a good relationship and I know they'll take care of me in Winnipeg. I don't want to put that stress on myself where I have to go to the NFL just to make a practice roster when I've got the situation I have in Winnipeg."
 
Hunt, who just turned 25 and attended the University of Houston, worked out for a handful of NFL teams and has a few  interested in him. There is little doubt the success of Cameron Wake with the Miami Dolphins has helped Hunt.
 
Wake wasn't drafted coming out of Penn State and spent a brief time with the New York Giants before going to the CFL to play for the B.C. Lions. Moved from linebacker to defensive end, he became the two time CFL Defensive Player of the Year as he accounted for 39 sacks in two years with that team. Wake was the CFL Rookie of the Year in 2007 and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

He drew interest from many teams but signed a four-year, $4.9 million deal that included a $1 million signing bonus with the Dolphins in January 2009. Wake, who has moved to outside linebacker in the NFL, had 5.5 sacks in 2009 with the Dolphins but finished third in the NFL this season with 14.

The Vikings likely will need to add depth at defensive end with Ray Edwards and Brian Robison potentially headed  for unrestricted free agency, depending on what happens with the collective bargaining agreement.

Asked about the 6-foot-1, 248-pound Hunt at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Vikings coach Leslie Frazier told Viking Update: “We liked his burst and the way he gets off the football. As you know, one of the things that we’re trying to find all the time is pass rushers. He showed a propensity to be able to do that. Not that he’ll be – everybody wants to compare the Canadian guys to Cameron Wake -- but he has some qualities that we think really fit our scheme."

 

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