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Two Veterans Get Axe

By: Viking Update Staff

Date: 2/28/2001

John Randle may be a Hall of Famer. Todd Steussie may be able to reclaim his Pro Bowl form from 1998. However, both will continue their careers elsewhere, as VU has been told both will be announced as cuts by today's 3 p.m. deadline to get the team to the salary cap limit. John Randle came to the Vikings as an undrafted free agent, not selected 11 years ago in a draft the included a defensive tackle named Bill Goldberg, who went on to greater fame as a professional wrestler.

Learning at the feet of former Vikings greats like Chris Doleman, Henry Thomas and Keith Millard, Randle became a terror in the NFL and, when he had a chance for free agency four years ago, was lured off a plane that had just landed in Miami to hop on a plane back to Minnesota to stay with the Vikings. At the time, he thought the contract might be his last as an NFL player.

As it turns out, it won't be. Randle refused to restructure his contract for a second straight season -- citing that the Vikings asked him to defer a March 2002 roster bonus to June, which would allow him to be cut after the 2001 season without having to be paid the additional bonus money -- and VU has been told by a highly placed source within the team that the talking is over and Randle will be released today.

Barring some last minute change of heart, not only will Randle be gone, but so will left tackle Todd Steussie. Like Randle, Steussie has refused to restructure his contract and, in light of public criticism of Randy Moss, Steussie also looks to be heading elsewhere.

By cutting Randle and Steussie, the Vikings will still be hit with about $8 million in cap damage, but will save $5 million as opposed to keeping them for another season.

THURSDAY NOTES * Combined with the money the Vikings are going to take in cap hits with Randle, Steussie, Robert Smith and Randall Cunningham, about 20 percent of the teams $67.4 million salary cap figure -- aproximately $13 million -- is going to count against players who are no longer with the team. However, all but $3 million of that will be freed up by next season -- Cunningham's hit was a two-year deal, while the Vikings are taking the full hit for Steussie and Randle this season -- which means that the Vikings will likely have additional millions to make a long-term contract run for Moss and Daunte Culpepper without having to do another rash of veteran cuts. * Steussie may not stay unemployed long. A VU source with the Bucs has indicated that Tampa Bay may make a play for Steussie to join former teammates Randall McDaniel and Jeff Christy on the Bucs offensive line. * The Vikings made one signing Wednesday, inking backup quarterback Todd Bouman to a deal. With Bubby Brister gone, unless the team signs a veteran backup for Culpepper, Bouman will enter training camp as the No. 2 quarterback. Bouman has never played in his four seasons with the Vikings, but beat out 2000 Miami starter Jay Fiedler as the No. 3 QB in 1999 when Randall Cunningham started the season as the starter and Jeff George as the backup. * As reported last week by one our top sources with the Saints, New Orleans officially released former Vikings Jake Reed and Andrew Glover Wednesday. * Former Viking Brad Johnson has been rumored as being a candidate for a job in both Baltimore and Tampa Bay, but VU was told by a source with the Chiefs that Kansas City is now prepared to make a bid for him, since talks with Elvis Grbac weren't able to get a contrac

-- Mark (Karch, March 01, 2001

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