StarTribune.com

February 2009


Vikings entertain Houshmandzadeh

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

We have confirmed that T.J. Houshmandzadeh is in town and is having dinner with a contingent of Vikings officials in a private room at an upscale downtown restaurant, according to sources/spies.

Sounds like the team is putting the full-court press on Houshmandzadeh.

Also, it sounds like free agent center Matt Birk is prepared to take a few visits this week. Not sure which teams yet, but indications are he may visit a few teams. It’s possible the Vikings could be willing to match any offer.

Sharper to visit Saints

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Free agent safety Darren Sharper is scheduled to visit the New Orleans Saints on Monday. The Saints have been the rumored destination for Sharper, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Here is the story on Nola.com.

Houshmandzadeh expects decision by Sunday

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

T.J. Houshmandzadeh gave an interview to the Cincinnati Bengals website before leaving Seattle for Minnesota this afternoon and he said he expects to make a decision by Sunday night.

Houshmandzadeh told the webite that the Bengals, Vikings and Seahawks are in the mix. The New York Giants also are believed to be involved in the discussions.

Houshmandzadeh, who turns 32 in September, disputed media reports that there is not a market for what he is seeking, although he declined to talk financial specifics with the Bengals website.

“I’m going to prove to these dummies on TV talking about what I can’t do why they’re not working for an NFL team,” Houshmandzadeh said. “I’m a 27-year-old in a 31-year-old body.”

Houshmandzadeh told the website that he had a good visit with the Seahawks.

“They’re a team that has had a lot of success,” he said. “They had a down year last year (4-12) but they had a bunch of injuries.”

T.J. on the way

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

All indications are that Vikings officials are headed back to Winter Park today with wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The likely scenario is that the team sent one of owner Zygi Wilf’s planes to get the free agent in Seattle.

Houshmandzadeh met with the Seahawks on Friday and likely will get a tour of Winter Park and also enjoy a nice meal with Vikings officials. Houshmandzadeh also could be in line for other visits unless the Vikings can convince him to sign while he is in town.

With the Eagles having bowed out of this competition, likely suitors are the Vikings, Seahawks, Giants and Houshmandzadeh’s old team, the Bengals.   

Reports: Cassel to Chiefs

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

We interrupt the T.J. Houshmandzadeh watch to bring updates on the Matt Cassel trade. According to SI.com’s Peter King, the Patriots traded Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick. Here is the link.

It will be interesting to see how big of a contract Cassel will get from the Chiefs once the deal is announced.

Vikings in Houshmandzadeh’s plans

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Two days ago Cincinnati free-agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh talked about how much he would like to play for the Vikings. Well, it looks as if he will at least visit with the team and it could happen today.

Houshmandzadeh’s agent, Kennard McGuire, said in a text message that “the Vikings are in [Houshmandzadeh's] plans,” but gave no further details.

The Vikings have been trying to arrange a visit with Houshmandzadeh since Friday morning. He first made a stop in Seattle on Friday.

Houshmandzadeh, 31, is the top free-agent receiver on the market and has caught at least 90 passes in each of the past three seasons.

Houshmandzadeh was fourth in Pro Football Weekly’s rankings of the top 100 free agents. Last year, the Vikings signed Bernard Berrian to a six-year, $42 million deal that included a $16 million signing bonus.

Houshmandzadeh was asked during an ESPN interview Friday morning about teams that interested him. “I’m looking at teams I think have good coaches and good offensive lines and good running games,” Houshmandzadeh said. “I have no idea if those teams are interested in me. If I can play with Adrian Peterson, can you imagine what I would do getting one-on-one coverage with Adrian Peterson? I am going to win 98.6 percent of the time with one-on-one coverage with him in the backfield.”

Houshmandzadeh is reportedly looking for a deal of upward of $10 million per season.

 

Access Vikings

Join Vikings beat writers Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins on a usually informative and often irreverent journey inside the Vikings.

Just like the NFL, Zulgad and Scoggins go at it all year long -- on and off the field.