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Published: Thursday, February 22, 2001


Vikings consider releasing Dixon

Pioneer Press

Sean Jensen and Bill Williamson Staff Writers

As the Vikings continue to reduce their salary cap overflow, the possibility of guard David Dixon being released has increased. Dixon If Dixon won't accept an extension that pays him close to his current salary -- $1.25 million -- he could be released, especially because he's entering the final year of his contract. Dixon is scheduled to count about $2.8 million against this season's salary cap. If he were released, it would save the Vikings about $1.8 million. The Vikings also are working toward an agreement with offensive tackle Todd Steussie. But given Steussie's exorbitant salary cap number, he is not as expendable. NFL teams can begin releasing veterans under contract today. The Vikings are expected to release veteran defensive end John Burrough soon. Defensive end Gabe Northern and offensive lineman Brad Badger also are believed to be in danger of leaving, although Badger could be insurance if agreements aren't worked out with Dixon and Steussie. In other salary cap news, the Vikings would save about $3.7 million if running back Robert Smith officially retires after June 1. If he officially retires before then, his salary cap number to the Vikings this season would be about $6.7 million. But if he waits, he'll count $3 million this season and $3.7 million next season. The Vikings are believed to be approximately $9 million over the salary cap. Randle meeting: The agent for Vikings defensive lineman John Randle said Randle is scheduled to speak with coach Dennis Green early next week. More than two weeks ago, agent Gary Uberstine informed the Vikings his client wants to be traded. But a trade remains unlikely, and Randle appears destined to be released, especially if he continues to resist a restructuring of his contract. ``He's definitely not taking a pay cut, and he's not reconsidering anything, other than talking early next week to Denny,'' Uberstine said Wednesday. ``John has made a commitment to have a conversation with Denny early next week, air everything out and come to some resolution.'' Although the Vikings want to keep him, Randle has one of the highest cap values ($8.25 million) in the NFL, and his base salary is $3.5 million. The Vikings would like him to restructure so his salary dips much lower -- probably to about $500,000, as linebacker Ed McDaniel did recently -- and then convert the remaining amount into a signing bonus, essentially ensuring that Randle would lose no money but allowing the team to reduce its salary cap level. The Vikings are optimistic that something can be worked out with Randle. The salary cap number this season would be nearly doubled ($5.5 million) if Randle is released before June 1. But because many teams are struggling with the salary cap, several notable defensive linemen might be available at below-market prices. Veterans such as Buffalo's Ted Washington, Seattle's Cortez Kennedy, Kansas City's Chester McGlockton and St. Louis' D'Marco Farr and Ray Agnew are rumored to be released soon. Back again: The Vikings are interested in re-signing veteran Fernando Smith -- but only at the right price. The team is believed to be looking to sign Smith to a two- or three-year contract, but Smith's agent, Jeff Durand, is hoping for more. Also, as usual, the sides disagree on compensation. Smith was cut in training camp, but he returned toward the end of the season and was a contributor in the playoffs. Durand said another of his clients, defensive tackle Jerry Ball, is interested in coming out of retirement and rejoining the Vikings. Ball is still under contract to the Vikings and he owes them one more year. If another team were interested in him, Ball woul

-- Mark (Karch, February 22, 2001

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