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Steussie Now or Never

By Viking Update Staff

Date: 3/12/2001

VU has been told that the Vikings are expected to meet with representatives of Todd Steussie today in hopes of getting a new deal done before Thursday, when the Vikings may be forced to release Steussie and move on to save salary cap room for the short-term.

Todd Steussie earned his big contract after the 1998 season, when he was a key to the success of the Vikings offense. However, the last two years have been a different story, as Steussie has become a household name by having his number 73 announced by officials for "False Start No. 73" and "Holding No. 73."

While the Vikings value Steussie, his $7 million cap number and $1 million roster bonus due Thursday have become issues the team had hoped wouldn't become factors in the team's immediate future. Instead, it has come the forefront, as Steussie's agent has balked at any overtures by the Vikings to reduce his cap number.

From what VU has been told, today could be a watershed day in Steussie's career. Dennis Green wants Steussie to protect Daunte Culpepper's blind side as much as anyone in the organization, but the reality of the NFL is that jobs are not guaranteed in the NFL and anyone can be replaced -- as evidenced by the departure of Randall McDaniel and Jeff Christy last year and the Vikings not skipping a beat.

VU has been told by sources inside the team that the Vikes and Steussie will try one more time to get a contract finalized before Thursday. However, the Vikings are the side that has the upper hand in the negotiation process and isn't willing to sacrifice big money with Randy Moss and Culpepper still to get inked to long-term deals.

If Steussie and his people are unwilling to meet the team halfway, he will most likely be gone by next Friday. If he is willing to budge a little, we're being told the team will do what it takes to keep him in the fold. The ball in his Steussie's court. What he does the next three days will be critical for his career as well as the short-term future of the Vikings.

MONDAY NOTES * Corbin Lacina has become a front-burner issue with the Vikings and, from a Cardinals source close to VU, the team may be receiving good news in the coming days. We're being told the Cards are most interested in Seattle's Pete Kendall and Green Bay's Ross Verba as a guard signee in free agency, which could leave Lacina a bit away from his biggest free agent payday. If that happens, the Vikings would have a much better chance of bringing the St. Paul native back home.

* When Fred von Appen came to the Vikings, he was lauded by Denny Green for the number of Super Bowl rings he wore and the guy who could whip the defensive line into shape. One year later, von Appen is gone, but not forgotten -- at least not by his coaching peeps. VU has been told that he is the front-runner for the special teams coaching position open with the Giants -- von Appen and head coach Jim Fassel coached together at Stanford in 1982 and Fassel is interested in reuniting with his former coaching pally.

* In former Viking news, Henry Thomas could become available on the free agent market this week. He is due a $300,000 roster bonus by the Patriots this week and has a $2.7 million cap number. While he is more valuable with the loss of DT Chad Eaton to free agency, unless he is willing to take a paycut, he may become the latest in a growi

-- Mark (Karch, March 12, 2001

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