Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
By Judd Zulgad
CLEVELAND -- Former Vikings receiver Bobby Wade said he isn't yet ready to talk about his release from the team last week, but his silence is not expected to last much longer.
Wade's agent, Jerome Stanley, said in an e-mail today that he has "had conversations with a number of teams," about the receiver. "Bobby is well regarded around the league," Stanley said. "Hopefully after teams play a game, we will be able to move forward."
Wade already has been mentioned in connection with one of his former teams, the Tennessee Titans, and there also has been speculation that the Kansas City Chiefs might show interest.
Although he is no longer on the roster, Wade will still get a "game check" of roughly $88,200 for the Vikings' game Sunday in Cleveland.
Wade did not catch on with another team this week because vested veterans get their full salary if they are on the season-opening roster. Teams can pay them on a week-by-week basis if they are signed starting Monday. That means Wade likely will have a job early next week. When that happens, we should hear from Wade and perhaps get some insight into what happened with the Vikings.
There were definitely some eyebrows raised among Vikings players today when they found out Bobby Wade had been released, a week after he agreed to cut his salary for 2009 from $3 million to $1.5 million.
Greg Lewis was traded from Philadelphia to New England in March and made the Patriots 53-man roster out of camp. But the veteran wide receiver was waived earlier this week and was signed by the Vikings on Thursday to replace Bobby Wade.
Vikings coach Brad Childress served as Lewis' offensive coordinator for three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles so he has some familiarity with the offense. Lewis talked about his role and what he expects with his new team.
"For my family and myself, the last couple of days have been a whirlwind," he said. "I'm glad to be here in Minnesota with the opportunity to be around some good guys and play for a coach that I know."
Lewis played for the Eagles for the past six seasons so he has a basic understanding of the West Coast offense and how Childress wants it run.
"I know some of the concepts and some of the plays so I feel comfortable," he said. "But there's always wrinkles and new things. I'm ready and willing to dive into the playbook and to get caught up to speed so I can be productive."
Lewis said he can play multiple receiver positions, both in the slot and on the outside. He looks like he will provide depth at those different spots as well as contribute on special teams.
"I'm really not trying to come in and be some savior or anything of that nature," he said. "I'm just coming in and trying to find a role on the team and do what the coaches ask of me, whatever that may be."
Lewis said he's excited about being reunited with Childress.
"When I came into the league as a rookie free agent, I was making plays at Philadelphia," he said. "After one of the minicamps Coach Childress came up to me and said, 'Just keep doing what you're doing. You can play and you're going to get an opportunity.' That was the first coach that really gave me an opportunity and I felt had confidence in me to go out and do some things. To be back with him is a blessing for me."
Lewis grew up in Chicago and was a huge Bears fan so he said he's excited to play against them twice a year.
"I loved the Bears and I still do except when they play us," he said. "Wherever you're from, you're always going to have that hometown feel for that organization or that team. The Super Bowl shuffle and all that good stuff was cool. But I'm an adult now. I can put all that stuff aside."
Running back Adrian Peterson admitted he was surprised by the Vikings' decision today to release wide receiver Bobby Wade.
"I don't know why or anything," Peterson said of the reasoning behind the move. "That's something you have to take up with the coaches. But I guess it's done to benefit the team he said."
The Vikings signed wide receiver Greg Lewis, released earlier this week by New England, to take Wade's spot on the roster. Lewis played for the Eagles when Vikings coach Brad Childress was the offensive coordinator.
"I think the biggest thing obviously is coach had familiarity with Greg," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "I think Bobby Wade did an outstanding job for us. He did everything that we asked. He's a competitor. He worked hard, he made plays for us. I wish him the best."
Bevell said Lewis has the ability to play all the wide receiver spots; Wade was most effective as a slot receiver, a role that is going to go to first-round pick Percy Harvin. "It's a guy that we're able to bring in that can fit in quickly because this system is familiar to him," Bevell said of Lewis. "When you're talking about four or five receivers that are going to be up on game day at any point somebody can go down and now you have to move them and play a different spot. He has speed. ... There's a lot positives to him."
Wade led the Vikings in receptions the past two seasons and Bevell knew this was a tough move.
"Obviously, there's the business side of things and there's the personal side of things," he said. "You get close to a lot of players, you end up having all different kinds of relationship. Guys do a great job for you, make plays for you but the bottom line is to always to try and improve the team and bringing in the best pieces that you can bring in to put the best team on the field. Sometimes guys roles get elevated because guys get hurt, sometimes guys roles get pulled back a little bit because you get a new piece to the puzzle. Those can be tough decisions to make but again it always goes back to trying to do what's best for your team."
Players in the locker room seemed surprised by the move, especially considering Wade agreed to cut his salary in half last week. Wide receiver Bernard Berrian wore Wade's jersey during pre-practice meetings. Asked if that was his show of support for Wade, Berrian said, "Always. Definitely is."
"Very difficult more so knowing that he is a good player," Berrian said.
Berrian admitted that it makes it more difficult to see Wade leave considering that he agreed to restructure his deal.
"Definitely a lot harder," he said. "And then he still ends up getting released. But you know it might turn out to be a better situation for him and he'll probably become a great addition on somebody else's team."
Here is more reaction from the locker room.
'It's a big shock to us," running back Chester Taylor said. "He was a great receiver and a great leader. But we have to move on. He was a team player. He did whatever he can to help our team win. Everybody liked him in the locker room. He will be missed."
Kicker Ryan Longwell sat next to Wade in the locker room the past few seasons.
"It's just the brutal side of the business," Longwell said. "He was very popular in the locker room and a guy everybody liked. You know, just the tough side of the job. We all know the business side. We're all looking over our shoulders. I've been doing it for 13 years. But when the reality strikes, it's kind of crushing.
"We don't know all the facts but what we do know is he restructured to take a pay cut to stay here and then this happens. It's sad. He was as good friend. He was my locker mate. We had a lot of good banter back andf forth. It's just a sad reality to the business."
Wade's agent, Jerome Stanley, sent a one-sentence text about the Vikings decision that read: "I believe your behavior defines who you are."
ESPN is reporting that the NFL is looking into comments quarterback Brett Favre made Wednesday about his arm injury late last season when he played for the New York Jets.
Favre was not listed on the injury report last season, ESPN reported, but he acknowledged Wednesday that he had an MRI that determined he had a torn biceps tendon. Teams are subject to fines when they are not forthright on their injury reports.
Favre did not miss any games but he said the team was aware of his injury.
We're heading to the locker room for media access and we'll have more reaction to Bobby Wade's release later.
Update: A league spokesman has confirmed to the Star Tribune that the NFL is looking into the situation regarding Favre's comments.
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