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Vikes Sign Another DE

By Viking Update Staff

Date: 3/27/2001

After going through the offseason with a lot of question marks on the defensive line, the Vikings have stepped up that activity, as today the team is expected to announce that Fernando Smith has been signed to a one-year contract.

The Vikings have made an effort to address problems on the defensive line and that effort will likely result in the second signing in three days today -- as the team will announce it has reached a one-year agreement with Fernando Smith to return to the team in 2001.

Smith had originally sought a long-term deal via free agency, but finding no takers, will agree to a one-year deal with a $500,000 base salary and playing time incentives that could increase the value of the contract.

With Sunday's signing of Lance Johnston, the Vikings now seem set for their starters at defensive end for the 2001 season.

TUESDAY NOTES * The Vikings will get two more picks in next month's draft. Thanks to losing Jeff George, Duane Clemons, Jeff Christy and Jimmy Hitchcock -- all starters for other teams -- while signing backups Craig Sauer and Lemanski Hall, the Vikings will receive two picks at the end of the fourth rounds (Nos. 130 and 131 overall). Three teams -- Dallas, Jacksonville and Buffalo -- will receiver compensatory picks, given to NFL teams hit hardest by free agent losses. The Vikings picks will come at the end of the regular draft in the fourth round, behind two picks for Seattle (Nos. 127-128) and pick No. 129 to St. Louis. * With the signing of Johnstone and Smith, the Vikings are not expected to continue a hot pursuit -- at least for now -- of Chester McGlockton. * Denny Green had a lot to say Monday at the owners meetings, where he co-chairs the competition committee. Green said the league is going to crack down on taunting by players, slapping more 15 yard penalties and fines on players who display poor sportsmanship. Said Green of the committee's recommendation: "High school coaches are saying, 'You represent the highest level of the game and whatever you let take place on Sunday, our guys are doing it on Monday.'" Green also said the committee will recommend banning the wearing of bandanas under helmets, which some equate with product placement of advertising and others compare to gang-related bandana wearing. * In another note from the owners meetings, Green thinks the vote on keeping instant replay may be closer than many believe. While the system has proved effective, it isn't seen as positive by many coaches, who don't need a majority to have replay scrapped. * A Bengals source close to VU has said Cincinnati is going to offer Todd Steussie a larger contract offer today in hopes of luring him into the AFC Central with a long-term contract many teams won't be able to touch. * The Patriots are looking at making Johnny McWilliams a contract offer this week in hopes o

-- Mark (Karch, March 27, 2001

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