Some regular VU readers thought we were a tad jaded when we reported Orlando Brown had opted out of a larger contract with the Vikes to sign with the Ravens. That’s nothing compared to the Saga of Wunsch.
Early afternoon Monday, VU was notified that Jerry Wunsch – late of the Bucs and, last year, the Seahawks – had agreed to a two-year, $1.6 million deal with the Vikings. Two hours later, we were told, “Wait a minute.”
The only good news was that Tuesday was a hectic day. A VU staffer was going to update the website with the signing, but deemed that Wunsch didn’t deserve a break-in story. In hindsight, his journeyman status saved VU from the splattered egg on several faces.
TV, radio and print reports went out Tuesday afternoon about the Wunsch signing – which should have been legit. From what VU has been told, the Vikes agreed to a two-year, $1.6 million deal with Wunsch and faxed documents (thought to be final) to seal the deal. Instead, from what a team source relays, after agreeing to a deal with the Vikings, the Seahawks were given a final opportunity to get off their dead butts and re-sign him.
Final story – the Hawks ponied up and Wunsch stayed. Bad form on all counts. The radio classic “Rest of the Story” is good news, bad news. The bad news is the Vikings lost out on another free agent they wanted in purple. The good news is it was Jerry Wunsch – who would have been nice, but not necessary, to sign.
** The Vikes are playing “Who’s On First?” right now with QBs Jeff George and Gus Frerotte. Not the oft-imitated Abbott and Costello bit, but who will come on board with the Vikings first. VU was told Tuesday that the Vikings have offered George and Frerotte contracts and let it be known that the first one who agrees to a deal gets it. That became something of a trademark of Mike Tice last year in free agency and doesn’t look to have changed in 2003.
** For perhaps the third time, a league source has told VU that the NFL is working behind the scenes to ensure the safety of players in NFL Europe. VU reported last month that the league was working on a contingency plan to play NFL Europe games in the American South – Florida and other sites to be determined. With Major League Baseball cancelling a scheduled season-opening series in Japan (far from the hotbed for terrorist activity), VU is being told by a well-placed source that the NFL continues to look at alternatives to placing American players outside the country to play football. As impacted as the NFL was by Sept. 11, it is very sensitive to putting any nervous players at risk. VU has confirmed that “several” -- you can be left to determine how many “several” entails – agents have expressed “grave concerns” about sending their clients to Europe with a war pending and potential terrorist cells frightening many of those who see the NFL as a symbol of America to the world. In the coming days, expect to hear the national media picking up on this story. VU isn’t the only one hearing it, but, apparently, we’re the only one (so far) that has taken the threat as seriously as the league is taking it.
** Wide receiver Oronde Gadsden, who Dolphins QB Jay Fiedler spoke out in favor of re-signing, will visit Thursday. Unless the Vikings make a Corleone offer (one he can’t/won’t refuse) look for Gadsden to “pull an O’Donnell” and return home. Another loss for Beekin’s.
** Two cornerbacks the Vikings are still interested in signing – Ken Irvin and Donald Mitchell – were making the rounds Tuesday. Irvin was with the Lions, who already have wiped out the short-term future on CB Dre' Bly. Mitchell was heading for Dallas – where Bill Parcells has the checkbook, but not collateral, to make any big signings at this point.
** Several Vikings fans and VU staffers alike shed a collective tear Tuesday when VU was told by a Vikings personnel source that the team had little to no interest in recently released Giants CB Jason Sehorn. It wasn’t because VU thought he could be an upgrade at safety. It was more a lost opportunity to meet Angie Harmon and feel like lonely drifters from a different species. For those unfamiliar with Mrs. Sehorn, she was star of TV’s “Law and Order.” She currently can be seen in the recently-released film “Cody Banks: Secret Agent.” One of VU’s senior staffers took his daughter to see the film, starring Frankie Whoever from “Malcolm In the Middle,” and – if movies are to be believed, female CIA agents wear form-fitting costumes and belly shirts at work. When asked for a comment, the quickly-aging VU staffer, who hated the movie, said “Yowza!” about Ms. Harmon’s performance. For those parents who take their kids to “Cody Banks” you will understand why the younger VU staffers are saddened to hear the team has no interest in Sehorn – and Angie. It should be noted that Lurts not only didn’t know who Angie Harmon was, he waxed pathetic about Angie Dickinson for 10 minutes – followed by playing an 8-track of the Allman Brothers. “Jason, we hardly knew ye.” Candles are lit.
** If the countdown clocks on networks like FOX News Channel and MSNBC are to be believed, by the time we update VU.com tomorrow, there could very well be a war underway – or what passes for a war in United States vs. Saddam II. Putting partisan politics aside – like the rest of the country (and the world) the staff at VU is divided over the need for war. We hope that all of us can set our philosophical differences aside for one topic. We would like to ask that you say a prayer – regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof – for the men and women that will be put in harm’s way in the conflict to come. Whether you agree with the policy that sent them there or not, keep in mind that, like the VU staff and most of our readers, those in the Gulf are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who didn’t make the call to arms. Here’s hoping this can be resolved quickly and with as few lives lost as possible -- both for American troops and the families of Iraq.