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.
MANKATO -- Free-agent linebacker Ben Leber visited the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, according to multiple reports.
The Seahawks already have signed former Vikings Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice.
It appears the Vikings are going to give Erin Henderson every shot to win the weak-side linebacker job that Leber had held in Minnesota. Nose tackle Pat Williams also remains on the market and isn't expected back in Minnesota.
By Mark Craig
MANKATO -- Some highlights from reporting day while melting away in Mankato (Zulgad saying he's now down to his eighth-grade weight) ...
Coach Leslie Frazier said:
Other highlights ...
Keep checking back. Judd could be bringing more highlights later on.
The Vikings have agreed to terms with nose tackle Remi Ayodele on a three-year, $9 million deal, according to an NFL source.
The agreement comes on the same day the Vikings are expected to announce that they have released defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy. Nose tackle Pat Williams also is a free agent and might not return. Kennedy was expected to be his replacement at one time.
Ayodele, 28, has spent three seasons with the Saints and finished last year with 21 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He started all 16 games for the first time in his career. In 2009, he started 13 of the 15 games in which he played and had 30 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Ayodele, whose brother Akin plays in the NFL, was part of a Saints defense that was 16th against the run last season, giving up 112.3 yards per game. Remi Ayodele, however, was considered to be strong against the run and likely will step into the first- and second-down role (at least) playing alongside Kevin Williams.
The Saints replaced Ayodele by signing Shaun Rogers to a one-year deal in early March before the NFL lockout.
The 6-2, 318-pound Ayodele went undrafted in 2006 and then bounced from New England to Baltimore to Dallas to Atlanta. Ayodele's name should ring a bell with Vikings fans. He was the player who hit quarterback Brett Favre in the upper body during the 2009 NFC title game while Bobby McCray hit Favre low in the third quarter. Favre suffered a sprained ankle on the play and the NFL later admitted a penalty should have been called.
Ayodele also had a key fumble recovery in the Saints' overtime victory over the Vikings. That set up a 5-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Reggie Bush that gave New Orleans a 28-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings can not officially sign Ayodele until 5 p.m. on Friday and he can't practice until Aug. 4 when the collective bargaining agreement is expected to be ratified. The Vikings also have agreed to terms with journeyman wide receiver Devin Aromashodu, who had been with the Chicago Bears.
Free-agent addition: The Vikings signed undrafted free-agent running back Alexander Robinson out of Iowa State. The Vikings now have 15 undrafted free agents signed. The move came a day after Kentucky running back Derrick Locke failed his physical with the Vikings. Locke ended up signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Another busy day at Winter Park, so let's get right to it.
Kicker Ryan Longwell has agreed to terms on a four-year contract to return to the Vikings after being on the free-agent market, according to NFL sources.
The veteran won't be able to sign the deal until Friday and can't practice until Aug. 4 because that's when the NFL Players Association will recertify. Longwell's new deal is worth $12 milion and includes a $3.5 million in guarantees.
Longwell, 36, joined the Vikings as a free agent in 2006 after nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Last season, he made 17 of 18 field goals and 30 of 31 point-after attempts. Longwell has made 113 of 129 field-goal attempts since joining the Vikings and was 26 of 28 in 2009 as the team went to the NFC title game. With kickoffs being moved from the 30- to the 35-yard line this season Longwell becomes more valuable because his touchbacks will increase.
Longwell is the first of the Vikings' free agents that the team has retained. Given that Longwell signed quickly it's clear the team put a priority on keeping him.
The Vikings also are known to be trying to keep wide receiver Sidney Rice, who has drawn strong interest from Seattle and reportedly also is on the Rams radar. On Tuesday, the Vikings came to terms on an agreement with free-agent wide receiver Devin Aromashodu, who had been with the Chicago Bears.
Starting weak-side linebacker Ben Leber is another of the of the Vikings free agents but he said in a text message this afternoon that there is nothing new to report about his situation. It's also believed that talks have not started with veteran nose tackle Pat Williams, whose chances of returning appeared to increase when Jimmy Kennedy was told he would be released on Thursday.
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