MEDIA Expectations split on Steussie's future : LUSENET : Purple : One Thread

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2001


Expectations split on Steussie's future

Pioneer Press

---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- SEAN JENSEN STAFF WRITER ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- After two weeks at a standstill, league and team sources are split regarding the fate of left tackle Todd Steussie today. One league source indicated the odds of Steussie returning to the team are 50-50, but two team sources said the lineman will be released unless he cooperates with the team. To avoid paying Steussie the $1 million roster bonus he's due Thursday, the team must release him by 3 p.m. that day. But they would have until midnight to work out a deal. The Vikings had hoped Steussie would accept an extension that didn't include a sizable increase and would lower his cap numbers. But Steussie has held firm to his position, forcing the team to decide whether to keep him at his current cap number, which is nearly $7.4 million. If they keep him, the team will suffer the $1 million roster bonus against its cap. And, according to a league source, the team is about $1.5 million under the salary cap. Not accounted for in that figure is the rookie salary cap pool, which was about $3 million last season. So, in order to keep Steussie, the team would have to cut elsewhere, meaning more cap casualties. But the team isn't comfortable replacing Steussie with Brad Badger, and the chances of the Vikings landing someone comparable to Steussie is unlikely given their cap situation. The Vikings had contact with Steussie's agent, David Dunn, but no progress was made. Neither Steussie nor Dunn returned phone calls Tuesday. Moss payback: Randy Moss will receive a $10,000 refund from the NFL, stemming from a fine last season, according to a league source. Moss was fined $25,000 for touching the arm of an official in the fourth quarter of a 41-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October, and he was forced to pay an additional $15,000 that was held in abeyance from a previous infraction. While pleading for a pass-interference call with less than two minutes remaining in the game, Moss touched the arm of field judge Lloyd McPeters. He was ejected and called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. In essence, Moss lost $30,000 from the incident. Moss has been fined three times for incidents with officials. Receiver update: The agent for former Vikings receiver Jake Reed said he expects to have a conversation with the team about signing his client today. The Vikings apparently have an interest in bringing Reed back as the third-down receiver. But they're only willing to do so at a modest cost. Reed, who was released for salary cap purposes last year, played for the New Orleans Saints last season. Meanwhile, free-agent receiver Matthew Hatchette was in New York visiting the Jets. He also is expected to visit Philadelphia and Kansas City this week. Jordan signed: The Vikings continued their cost-effective ways by re-signing veteran tight end Andrew Jordan to a one-year deal believed to be worth close to the veterans' minimum of $477,000. Jordan, a sixth-round draft pick of the Vikings in 1994, prepares for a sixth season with the team. Last season he returned after brief stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles. A backup last season, Jordan caught eight passes for 63 yards. The Vikings also are interested in re-signing veteran John Davis, who started most of last season. They have the right of first refusal, meaning the Vikings can match any offer another club makes Davis. Davis is not expected to attract sizable offers elsewhere. Johnny McWilliams, who started for the Vikings toward the end of last season, is rated in the second tier of tight ends, after Rickey Dudley of the Oakland Raiders.

Briefly: Former Vikings defensive line coach Fred von Appen was hired as the special teams coach for the New York Giants. Von Appen and Giants coach Jim Fassel worked together at Stanford under Paul Wiggin, who works in the Vikings' personnel d

-- Mark (Karch, March 14, 2001

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