Published March 11, 2003 VIKE0311
A potential windfall landed in the Vikings' lap Monday, providing a dose of good news on what otherwise has been a disappointing trip through free agency.
Cornerback Denard Walker instructed his agent to initiate exclusive negotiations with the Vikings, and talks are expected to heat up today. Walker would take over as the Vikings' No. 1 cornerback and significantly upgrade their defense -- if they are willing to meet a price that likely will exceed the deal they passed on Sunday for free agent Tory James.
Walker visited Jacksonville on Monday and had previously met with officials from Cincinnati and St. Louis, but agent John Hamilton said the Vikings emerged "as the team that's best for Denard.
"What interested him most," Hamilton said, "is that the Vikings targeted him from the start as their No. 1 guy and let him know they wanted him to be their shutdown corner. Denard appreciated that. Now it's incumbent on the Vikings to make the numbers work."