INDIANAPOLIS -- Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said today that team officials will spend time at the NFL Scouting Combine meeting with agents for their potential free agents.
There are 20 players from the 2010 roster who could potentially be restricted or unrestricted free agents, including wide receiver Sidney Rice. The key will be seeing what happens when a new collective bargaining agreement is put into place.
Under the terms of the soon-to-expire CBA, players did not become unrestricted free agents until they had six years of service. Spielman made it clear the Vikings are continuing to operate under the current CBA rules. That means it's likely the team will place a restricted free agent tag on Rice. Of course, there is no certainty that Rice won't end up being unrestricted once the new deal is in place.
“We will finalize all our tags on potential restricted free agents when we get back," said Spielman, who talked to a group of reporters from the Twin Cites this morning at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I’m not going to tell you what we’re going to tag or who we’re going to tag, but we’re operating under our rules that we’re currently under.”
Spielman also declined to say whether the Vikings considered placing the franchise tag on Rice instead of Chad Greenway. "I’m not going to go into what our internal discussions were," Spielman said. "We made a decision that Chad was our franchise and hopefully we’ll be able to get Sidney under contract this year."
Running back Adrian Peterson has another year left on his contract but it's no secret that he would like an extension. Peterson is due to make $10.72 million in 2011. "That’s going to have to get addressed, too," Spielman said. "Once we understand what we’re dealing with, then we’ll be able to address that. ... Adrian is a vital key of our football team and … the face of the organization. So, we’ll address that when the time’s right."
Spielman said that to the best of his knowledge linebacker Greenway has yet to sign his franchise tender -- Greenway was given the tag this week -- but that isn't expected to be an issue.
Asked about the decision to place the tag on Greenway, Spielman said: “We’re just going about our normal business and Chad is a valuable part of our organization. When you look at that, you look at what he brings to our defense and you weigh in the fact that he is a three-down linebacker, he’s never off the field – he’s very important to us, not only on first and second down, but what he brings to us on third down as well. Our goal and objective will be to continue to work with his agent and get a long-term deal done with Chad.”
As for any potential roster moves, Spielman said "right now we're going to keep our roster status quo." He later added "that's always etched in oatmeal."
There have been questions about whether the Vikings would consider releasing wide receiver Bernard Berrian or safety Madieu Williams. Berrian is due to make $3.9 million in 2011 and Williams is set to make $5.4 million.
As for potential interest in recently released safety Bob Sanders or tight end Jeremy Shockey, Spielman gave his standard line that the Vikings look at every player on the market. "We feel if they can come in and help our ball club and everything works out we would do something," Spielman said. "If not, we move on."
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