Losing Nate Burleson

restricted free agent reciever is in Seattle for a two-day visit with the . Burleson is from Seattle. If the Seahawks sign him, it will cost them a third-round pick.

I think Burleson is worth more than a third-round pick, but I wouldn’t mind it so much if we lose him.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Burleson a lot but last year he was given the opportunity to be the featured reciever and he didn’t run away with the job, and then he got hurt. As a smallish receiver, his durability was a question he failed to dispell.

He’s not a featured reciever. He’s a slot receiver.

Then you look at our other recievers and it’s hard to find a place for him. We just signed to a lucrative contract to be the big-play guy. proved to be a great slot receiver last year, just catching anything thrown his way. You’ve got to get last year’s seventh overall pick on the field a lot more this year, so you know ‘s role will expand greatly. And then you’ve got still in the mix, probably as a red-zone specialist.

There’s not a hell of a lot left for Nate.

So if the Seahawks sign him, I’m fine with that, and good luck to him.

Lastly, an extra pick has great appeal to me in this year’s linebacker-rich draft.

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Steve Hutchinson Signed

Now we know for sure that Zygi Wilf is serious about spending what it takes to win a championship. The and offered Pro Bowl guard a deal that will hopefully be so prohibitively expensive that the Seahawks will decline to match it immediately, rather than taking the seven days that are allotted for them to respond.

that the Vikings offer would make Hutchinson the highest paid guard in NFL history: Seven years for $49 million with $16 million in guarantees.

The article states that it is believed the Seahawks were offering Hutchinson an average of $5.8 million before free agency started, while the Vikings’  offer averages $7 million.

Hutchinson is 6′ 5" and weighs 313 pounds. He was a first-round draft choice in 2001 and is a three-time Pro Bowler. He has started every game he’s played, but in 2002 was limited to four games because of a broken leg.

Hutchinson would give the Vikings an enormously powerful left side by adding him next to left tackle Bryant McKinney.

You can .

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Vikings First Day Of Free Agency

Not a bad first day of free agency for the .

They signed former kicker , former running back , and former linebacker .

As expected, they lost cornerback , who reunited with by signing with the for six years for $32 million, including a $10 million signing bonus. was reunited with former Vikings offensive coordinator and now head coach, . Chavous a five-year deal worth $16 million that includes a $4 million signing bonus.

Losing is tough but he deserves the big contract. The Jags made a good move.

I liked Corey Chavous but he wasn’t all that great last year; he was out of position so often. You gotta wonder what happened. He was amazing in 2003, making the Pro Bowl with 108 tackles, eight interceptions and 15 passes defensed. Maybe he’s lost a step since then or maybe he’ll return to form with the Rams where he will apparently play free safety, instead of the strong safety position he played last year.

Thirty minutes before free agency began the Vikings signed wide receiver to a three-year deal is worth $12.7 million with a $1 million signing bonus.

Chester Taylor’s four-year contract is worth $14.1 million and includes $5.6 million in guaranteed bonuses. From , it appears Taylor’s slated to carry the load for us in the backfield, getting 20 to 30 touches a game. That probably means we’re not going after a first round running back. Too bad; I would’ve like to see Maroney in Purple.

Ryan Longwell signed a five-year deal for $10 million that included $3 million in guaranteed bonuses. I liked but Longwell is definitely an improvement; he’ll improve in the Dome and he knows how to kick in inclement weather as well.

Ben Leber’s deal is for five years, $20 million and includes guaranteed bonuses of more than $4 million. The Vikings must see something about this guy beyond what’s on paper because, well, there’s not much there on paper. It is disappointing that it appears is not in the Vikings plans because, gawd, that would’ve been fan-tast-ic! But even though this is a great draft for linebackers, I don’t see how the Vikings can’t sign another veteran linebacker or two when you consider that is probably a goner and definitely is. The other top-ranked linebackers available are the Julian Peterson and the Redskins .

The Seattle Seahawks’ Pro Bowl guard is supposed to be in town today. He’s a transitional player, so if the Vikings want him (and I really hope they do, considering the Cleveland Browns landed the other superstar free agent lineman, ), they’ll need to make him an offer that the Seahawks will not even want to consider matching so we don’t have to continue to shop for a guard).

Also visiting today is safety and on Monday, ‘ safety will visit.

Dexter Jackson by intercepting two passes. With Tampa, the 6′ 10" 210 pound Jackson played free safety under Vikings defensive coordinator . The seven-year veteran had 32 tackles last year with 13 assists, one sack, one interception, and four passes defended. He’s played his entire career with Tampa Bay except for 2003, when he played for the . That was his best year, statistically: He made 75 tackles with 13 assists, six intereceptions and seven passes defended. 

Will Demps has his own web site (). He’s a four-year veteran stands 6′ 0" and weighs in at 205 pounds. Last year he had 48 tackles with four assists and two passes defended. The year before he had 66 tackles with 19 assists, 2.5 sacks, one interception, and six passes defended.

It is interesting that both safeties played free safety, which tells me they want a swifter, more roaming type defensive back to fill their strong safety position.

Check out the Vikings site for .

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Vikings Free Agency Wish List

While I’m waiting for word of the (NFL Network’s Adam Schefter ), I thought I’d put together my Vikings free agency wish list this year.

I’m fine with
running our offense next season. But if Daunte’s gone, then we’re
probably in the market for another quarterback but there just ain’t
much out there among the available free agents.
is the name that keeps popping up and the allure is that he’s young and
athletic, so I guess he’s probably as good as anyone if you don’t want
to pay top dollar. And I don’t. Otherwise, depending upon how Childress
feels about , they might want to consider drafting a quarterback in the second or third rounds.

Running Back
I like . A lot. But we shouldn’t overpay for him. If not James, I’d be fine with the Seahawk’s backup running back , then prehaps picking up a rock star running back in the draft– would be sweet. This draft class is loaded with running backs and it’s a position a rookie can often succeed at right away, so I’d be happy if we waited till the draft to address the position. The only caveat there, though, would be that you’d want someone who can pick up the blitz.

Offensive Line
On the offensive side of the ball, this is where I think the Vikings need to make the biggest splash in free agency because it’s our most glaring weakness. At the top of my list is the Saints’ because he’s started at both Center and Guard and he’s top-ranked lineman available. The Vikings have got to be concerned about ‘s health and signing the rock star Bentley would give the team the flexibility of starting Birk at center, Bentley at Guard, and if Birk goes down, you’ve got a Pro Bowl center to fill his space.

Failing that, I’d make a run at the Seahawks Guard , upon whom the Hawks have put a transition tag. I’d also resign if he’s not too expensive. I can’t imagine he’d command that much because, after all, he came to us last year injured, got healthy, played one game, and then got injured again and was out for the season. If he can stay healthy, he looks like a beast.

I’ve read a few things that say the Vikings aren’t interested in Eagles Right Tackle , but let’s hope that’s just talk. The guy’s a nasty tackle and he’s coming off two excellent seasons.

Defensive Line
The Vikings could use another speed rusher at Defensive End to accompany because it remains to be seen if will be that guy. The Jets is the biggest name available at DE; he’s been franchised but he’s also on the trading block. I’d love to see him in Purple.

The Saints’ is the next best available at end. He, too, would be a fantastic addition.

This is the Vikings greatest area of need on defense and luckily for us, both free agency and the draft are thick with Linebackers. Unfortunately, however, the pickings are thin at Middle Linebacker, and I don’t want to trust that position to a rookie and I still don’t want to trust it to . The best free agent MLB is , but he’s a restricted free agent, so you may have to cough up a lot to get him.

The one player who most makes me salivate on the defensive side is Carolina’s and there will be a lot of competition for him but if I had to chose just one defensive player that I had to have, it’d be Witherspoon. is available. The book on him is that you just have to run at him to render him ineffective. But if anyone would know, it would be Brad Childress who faced him twice a year when he was at Philly.

The other big name is San Francisco’s .

I’d like to pick up two high profile Linebackers and then draft one or two as well.

It looks like we may be in the market for a Nickleback because the Vikings withdrew the transition tag they had on , so expect him to walk and earn some big bucks.

is available but damn, he’s an 11 year veteran and even though he’s coming off a great season, he does want $7 million. That’s too much for an old Cornerback. I have no interest in and doesn’t do much for me, either.

I think we’re probably looking at someone like a or a or an , which I’d be fine with. I’d also be fine with our very own .

re-signed but though he picked up his play last year, he also has never remained health. We’ve got last year’s third round pick waiting in the wings, so the plan could be to go with that combination at Strong Safety and pick up a low-level free agent safety to fill out the roster.

But if the Vikes wanted to spend a little on the position, my top picks would be the Rams or, failing that, the Steelers’ .

I’d be happy bringing back but if you wanted to upgrade at the position, this would be the year. If you’re planning on going after a top kicker, then I don’t know how you don’t persue Mr. Clutch, . The Colts’ is almost as good but he’s no good at kickoffs. The Packers would be a good fit.

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Javon Walker As A Viking?

Way to go, FAV-rah.

quarterback has chased away the team’s star wide receiver by criticizing for holding out last season, breaking an unwritten rule among NFL players that you don’t mess with a man’s livelihood. He wants no part of the Packers as a result, .

It looks like Walker is trying to force a trade or his release.

Thanks, Brett: He’d look damn good in Purple!

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NFL Labor Negotiations

has several excellent articles that explain what is going on and what are the issues regarding the negotiations between the owners and the NFL Players Association.

the friction between large- and small-market owners over revenue-sharing. The article also happens to explain the economic reality of why the need a new revenue-generating stadium in order to compete.

Another issue that is holding up an agreement is small-market teams’ concern over "cash over cap" thresholds, .

The site also has a helpful and if there is no extension under the current contract.

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