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Vikes Look to Sign Birk, Moss

By Viking Update Staff

Date: 4/3/2001

The Vikings are pressed tight up against the salary cap, but that doesn't mean they're not looking ahead. VU has been told that, in the coming weeks, contract talks with Matt Birk and Randy Moss are going to heat up.

The Vikings have been criticized by VU for not opening talks with Randy Moss when efforts were being made to sign other potential free agents to long-term contracts. It now appears like that will change.

VU has learned that Red McCombs plans to open talks with Moss' agent this month about getting a contract done. He hopes to have a deal finalized before the start of the season, but, if a deal can't be struck, he likely won't negotiate with Moss during the regular season. However, that doesn't mean that Moss will become a free agent after 2001. The Vikings still have their franchise tag open and Moss will likely be slapped with that if a deal isn't worked out.

VU has also been told the second round of contract talks to get Matt Birk signed will begin this week. The initial discussions had the teams millions apart -- per season -- so no deal is imminent unless both sides compromise.

It makes sense that the Vikings want to get these high-ticket signings done now. With Houston joining the league next year, a lot of new money will be available in free agency and will likely drive salaries up, just as it has done since Cleveland joined the NFL and became one of the league's most active teams in free agency.

TUESDAY NOTES * The NFL schedule for 2001 was supposed to be released today, but it has been delayed. VU has been told the NFL is toying with the idea of keeping the final two Monday Night Football games open and determining in late November which teams will play on the final two MNF telecasts of the regular season. This is an unheard of approach, but one the league thinks will increase fan interest, since it can schedule games with the most playoff implications at the time. Because of that, you can bet there will be several games scheduled between division rivals and 2000 playoff teams in the final two weeks.

* The Vikings re-signed wide receiver Nate Jacquet to a one-year contract Monday.

* Johnny McWilliams continues to make the free agency circuit. He was close to signing with New England, but no deal has been finalized, so he is now visiting Oakland.

* VU insiders are saying Kailee Wong will likely sign his one-year tender offer fro

-- Mark (Karch, April 04, 2001

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