MEDIA J.R. Gets Shot Down : LUSENET : Purple : One Thread

J.R. Gets Shot Down

By: Viking Update Staff

Date: 3/2/2001

John Randle was the only big name to get greased by the Vikings as the team wiggled its way under the salary cap, but Todd Steussie is far from secure -- thanks to some cap dealings that made him a little bit more of a negoetiating ploy.

Yesterday, VU told you that John Randle would be cut after he and the team broke off negotiations and said Todd Steussie would likely join him on the waiver wire -- probably taking a short trip on the unemployment line to Tampa Bay.

However, the Vikings -- thanks to restructured deals by Cris Carter and Robert Griffith -- were able to sneak $500,000 under the cap without dumping Steussie, but his time with the team is likely short-term. VU was told Thursday that the Vikings have bought a couple of weeks with Steussie, who is due a roster bonus of $1 million on March 16 -- as opposed to the $2 million Randle was due today if he was still on the roster.

Thanks to reworking deals with Griffith and Carter, as well as cutting Randle and defensive end John Burrough -- who many had mistakenly reported had already been cut -- the Vikings moved under the salary cap and bought time to work out a new deal with Steussie. While his $7 million cap figure remains unacceptable to the team, the Vikings made the cut in better shape than many thought they would.

It also brought up the question how forthcoming the Vikings were about their own salary cap woes -- which the team said was $20 million over the cap. It now appears that figures VU published earlier last month, which said the team was closer to $8 million over the cap, were correct. If Steussie is willing to rework his deal, the Vikings could free up about $3 million, which would give them latitude to chase a couple of solid defensive free agents.

With Steussie holding fast on his pledge not to restructure his deal, the Vikings could face a $5.5 million cap hit to release him -- freeing up about $1.5 million. VU has been told that Steussie may relent, despite his public stance. If teammates have their say, expect something to get done in the next couple of weeks.

FRIDAY NOTES * For those wondering about how the Vikings will do in the future, the cutting of Randle sent a clear indication. Once his salary cap number is erased, the Vikings can easily fit Randy Moss under the cap, although his deal will likely approach $8 million a year vs. the cap. And, once Steussie and Robert Smith are off the books, the team can afford to sign Daunte Culpepper to the long-term deal he deserves. * The Vikings tendered offers to restricted free agents Matt Birk, Kailee Wong, Jim Nelson and Chris Liwienski. The team is expected to try to work out long-term deals with Birk and Wong in the coming weeks and many think Nelson is prepared to step into the vacated spot at linebacker currently held by free agent Dwayne Rudd, moving ahead of Lemanski Hall, Craig Sauer and Antonio Wilson. * In another move to create more immediate cap space, the Vikings agreed to a new contract with guard David Dixon. * In a resigning note, the Vikings made sure long-snapping chores were handled by resigning Mitch Palmer to a one-year contract. * The Vikes hope their success could lure some veterans to sign for less money up front in hopes of getting a Super Bowl ring, including recent cuts like defensive linemen Dana Stubblefield, Andre Wadsworth and Regan Upshaw, cornerbacks Tyrone Poole and Corey Chavous and offensive lineman Leon Searcy. * An interesting Packers note -- citing an interest by the Vikings in Dorsey Levens (reported here last month) the Packers agreed to terms with Levens, even though the see Ahman Green as their running back of the future -- if not the present. * In the "what were they thinking?" department comes this. A VU source with the Chiefs says that Kansas City is awaiting the signature of former Viking Duane Clemons on a six-year, $34 million contract -- better money than John Randle will ever

-- Mark (Karch, March 02, 2001

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