Will Work For Food
By: Viking Update Staff
Date: Jul 1, 2006
With training camps counting down the days until all NFL teams are
officially back to work by the end of the month, several big name
players and those in the minds of Vikings fans remain on the
unemployment line -- waiting for the call to come back to the game.
It truly sucks getting old in the NFL.
Unlike most professions, where knowledge of your chosen field is
always a plus, the NFL is a young man's game and the promise of future
many times outweighs more qualified candidates.
With less than a month to go before training camps open around the
country, there are still several free agents that, while currently in
retirement (forced or unforced), would be likely be willing to step
back into a lineup if the phone was to ring. That list includes
several former Vikings.
Free agency took a new spin this year, as the Vikings and Seahawks did
their best to force the owners and players union to discuss the future
of the transition tag. Steve Hutchinson was just the third player
since the turn of the century to be slapped with the transition tag
and, thanks to some intelligent manipulation of the existing rules,
the Vikings made their contract with Hutchinson such a cap-buster for
the Seahawks that most teams will likely be unwilling to use the
transition designation again. Of the three players franchised in 2006
Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the first to hit the market since 1999 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ only one (John Abraham) was
deemed a true franchise player. He was traded to the Falcons. The
other two, Jeff Backus and Nate Clements, remain with their former teams.
As July dawns, several veterans remain on the open market with no
place to call home. Need some former Vikings? How about defensive
backs Ralph Brown, DeWayne Washington, Denard Walker and Dale Carter,
linebackers Chris Claiborne, Artie Ulmer and Nick Rogers, defensive
lineman Duane Clemons, offensive linemen Cory Withrow, Adam Haayer and
Billy Conaty, kicker Paul Edinger and running back Harold Morrow.
Not enough? Need a QB? Kerry Collins and Jeff Blake are available. At
running back, Stephen Davis, J.R. Redmond and Jonathon Wells can be
had. At wide receiver, how about Johnnie Morton, Dez White, Az Hakim
or Kevin Johnson? A tight end? Chad Lewis is out there. Defensive line
needs? Grady Jackson, Marco Coleman and Travis Hall aren't doing
anything. Linebacker? Nate, Wayne, Peter Boulware and Michael Barrow
don't have any short-term plans. Need a veteran d-back? Ty Law, Deion
Sanders, Lance Shulters, Antuan Edwards, Jerry Azumah, Terrell
Buckley, Ahmed Plummer and Terry Fair are all looking for work.
Will the majority of these guys end up filing their retirement
paperwork later this year? Most likely. But, when you go to war,
sometimes the old dogs come out from under the porch for one last
dust-up. When the need comes, you reach for a soldier of fortune. And
there are several out there waiting to get the call.