StarTribune.com

February 2008


Vikings close with Williams/Cleo Lemon news

Friday, February 29th, 2008

It looks like the Vikings have their first player. Cincinnati safety Madieu Williams is headed to town and has agreed to parameters on a six-year contract that is believed to average about $6 million per year. (NFL Network is saying $34 million for the deal.)

Williams was a player the Vikings targeted to replace veteran safety Dwight Smith, who was released last week. Veterans Mike Doss and Tank Williams are free agents and there is no chance of Doss returning. Tank Williams wanted to explore his options before deciding whether to return.

Madieu Williams, 6-1, 203 pounds, was a second-round pick by the Bengals in 2004 out of Maryland. Williams played and started 13 games last season, recording two interceptions, two sacks and 74 tackles. Here’s his bio from NFL.com. Williams, who has good cover skills, finished the season on injured reserve because of a quadriceps injury.

The move will reunite Williams with Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Frazier held the same job with Cincinnati when Williams was a rookie. That season Williams played both safety spots and some corner. A shoulder injury suffered in practice limited him to four games in 2005 but he rebounded to play in all 16 games in 2006.

“Leslie gave Minnesota the advantage,” Williams’ agent, Kenny Zuckerman, told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Williams, 26, has nine career interceptions 49 career games and has made 45 starts.

Troy in Jacksonville: The Jaguars website has a story about the team’s trade for receiver Troy Williamson. Among those quoted in the piece is former Vikings coach and current Jags assistant Mike Tice. Check it out.

Cleo to Jags: The Dolphins’ Cleo Lemon, who was mentioned as one of the quarterbacks the Vikings liked, has agreed to terms with the Jaguars.

 

Another name to the list

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The Fox Sports website is reporting that San Francisco running back Maurice Hicks is “planning to take a future free-agent visit to Minnesota.” Before anyone gets too excited, Hicks is primarily a kick return guy and would almost certainly find himself in that role with the Vikings. The Eagles and Texans also like Hicks, according to Fox. It’s unclear what this move would mean for receiver Aundrae Allison, who emerged as the main kickoff return man for the Vikings last season. Here is a bio on Hicks.

UPDATE: We’ve confirmed Hicks’ visit from other sources. He is scheduled to be in town this weekend.

Update II: The Pewter Report, which covers the Tampa Bay Bucs, says Mewelde Moore could meet with the team as early as today. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that wide receiver Jerry Porter has an agreement in place to sign with Jacksonville. The Vikings liked Porter but he was not at the top of their list.

 

Thomas appears headed for 49ers

Friday, February 29th, 2008

We are checking on this one but there are multiple reports that Vikings linebacker Dontarrious Thomas has agreed to a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers. Former Vikings quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan, who has played for every team in the NFC North, apparently got a one-year deal from the 49ers. Thomas is the first of the Vikings’ unrestricted free agents to land elsewhere.

Here’s the remainder of that list:

Mike Doss, safety

Robert Ferguson, wide receiver

Spencer Johnson, defensive tackle

Mewelde Moore, running back

Tony Richardson, fullback

Darrion Scott, defensive end/tackle

Tank Williams, safety

Ronyell Whitaker, cornerback

 

The McNabb situation

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Despite speculation in recent months that Donovan McNabb’s time with the Eagles might be nearing an end, all has been quiet on that front of late. There might be a good reason. Profootballtalk.com has a brief item this morning saying McNabb told ESPN Radio that he expects to be in Philadelphia in 2008 and that it would be a shock to him if he wasn’t.

Considering the Vikings spent a portion of Thursday shopping for a quarterback — the purpose wasn’t to replace Tarvaris Jackson but certainly to create competition for him — this is interesting. There is no doubt Vikings coach Brad Childress, who was McNabb’s quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator in Philly, thinks highly of the veteran. Just listen to the amount of times Childress references his experiences with McNabb and how McNabb developed.

There is little doubt that if McNabb could be had for the right price the Vikings would be very interested in bringing him in and making him their starter. At this point, though, it doesn’t appear as if anything will happen. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the Vikings continue their pursuit of Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman. Word was the two sides (Minnesota and Buffalo) had discussions on Thursday.

The question with Losman is would he be happy entering a situation where he very well could end up as the No. 2 guy behind Jackson? Obviously, Losman wasn’t pleased sitting on the bench with Buffalo.

Meanwhile, the Fox Sports website is reporting that Miami Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars today. The Vikings had expressed interest in Lemon at one point but it’s unclear if the team still wants to talk to him.

 

 

Report: Dontarrious Thomas considering 49ers

Friday, February 29th, 2008

And we’re back. 

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported a little while ago that linebacker Dontarrious Thomas has agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers. Turns out that wasn’t true. Thomas, who served as the Vikings’ top backup at all three linebacker spots the past two seasons, has had contact with the 49ers but hasn’t made a decision, according to the website profootballtalk.com. 

By the way, just an update on the Justin Smith situation. We were originally told he would visit on Friday but now it’s looking as if it might be Friday or Saturday. The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports Smith will visit the 49ers on Friday. This could mean Smith will spend much of the day Friday with San Francisco executives and then hop a flight to the Twin Cities on Friday night.

The one problem is if the 49ers give Smith an offer he can’t refuse. That’s why you always want to be the first team that gets a player to visit. We will try to sort out this situation on Friday morning. Things like this are always very fluid.

As for the Vikings’ nine unrestricted free agents, none signed with the team before free agency began at 11 tonight (Friday). This includes receiver Robert Ferguson. It would appear Ferguson and safety Tank Williams are the two players the Vikings would like to keep.

Bengals defensive end to get a look

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

In addition to Bears receiver Bernard Berrian, word is the Vikings also have arranged for Bengals right defensive end Justin Smith to be at Winter Park on Friday. Obviously, receiver and defensive end — along with safety — are Minnesota’s primary needs this offseason. Smith played for Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier when Frazier held the same job with the Bengals.

As for Berrian, the Vikings have sent owner Zygi Wilf’s plane to California to get the receiver. The Vikings did the same thing in March 2006 when they convinced All-Pro offensive guard Steve Hutchinson to leave Seattle.

 

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