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Steussie Signs with Carolina
By Viking Update Staff
As reported yesterday, Todd Steussie's trip through free agency ended Thursday with the signing of a six-year, $28 million contract with the Carolina Panthers that will add him to a growing list of new linemates.
The Carolina Panthers have upped the ante on getting back into contention for the Super Bowl title. Since Carolina won the NFC West in 1996, all four of the other teams in the division have won the division title -- a fact not lost on the Panthers this offseason.
After spending big money to sign center Jeff Mitchell away from defending champion Baltimore and guard Kevin Donnelly from Miami, the Panthers made it a raiding trifecta, signing former Viking Todd Steussie Thursday to a mammoth six-year, $28 million contract.
As part of the deal, Steussie received a $4.75 million signing bonus, but, because he signed for a near-veteran minimum of $500,000 this year, his 2001 cap number will be only $1.3 million -- a far cry from the $7 million cap number he would have had with the Vikings.
Steussie had been courted heavily by Denver and Cincinnati, with the Broncos offering a one-year deal and the Bengals willing to give him a five-year contract. But, in the end, after speaking with former and new teammate Jimmy Hitchcock, Steussie chose the Panthers and hopes to get back to the playoffs with a new team -- one that appears due to be in contention for the NFC West crown.
FRIDAY NOTES * Are the Vikings done in free agency? Maybe not. Dennis Green hinted Thursday that the Vikings may look for a veteran cornerback in free agency before next month's draft, but the Vikings are closely monitoring corners in the draft that may be available at the No. 27 pick, including Fred Smoot, Jamar Fletcher and Nate Clements. * The interest in a cornerback may not preclude the Vikings from taking a running back if one of the Big Three -- LaDanian Tomlinson, Deuce McAllister or Michael Bennett -- slips to the No. 27 spot. However, VU has learned from a source with the Bears that, barring defensive end Justin Smith being available, if Tomlinson is around at pick No. 8, the Bears will take him and, with McAllister drawing comparisons to Marshall Faulk, he likely will be gone, too, before the Vikings could g
-- Mark (Karch firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 2001