Signing Flurry Continues

After a slow start, the Vikings turned up the heat Thursday with three signings that could change the look of the 2003 Vikings.`

The Vikings weren't the first team in the free-agent pool and they weren't the biggest spenders. But, in the end, they may be one of the most improved teams when all is said and done.

The Vikings had a flurry of signings Friday, as one after another three veteran players came to terms.

First, the Vikings re-signed DE Lance Johnstone. While the team didn't release numbers on the deal, VU has been told it's a three-year contract worth $4.6 million with $700,000 up front.

Next, the Vikings finally cemented their offensive line by signing RT Mike Rosenthal of the Giants. While he was asking for more money to stay in New York, he accepted a two-year deal for $1.8 million that includes no signing bonus, but meetable playing incentives that could push the deal to $2.4 million.

Finally, the Vikings addressed their secondary problem by signing CB Ken Irvin of the Saints. His deal was three years, $4.5 million with $1.2 million up front. He is expected to battle for a starting job opposite Denard Walker and will allow the Vikings to move Corey Chavous to safety.

After a very slow start to free agency, the Vikings have finally become players in the game and it may not be over yet.

FRIDAY NOTES
* A VU source with the Dolphins told us that the Vikings have put a deal on the table for WR Oronde Gadsden worth $3-3.5 million. His initial asking price for a three-year deal was closer to $4.5 million and some think the Vikings may increase their offer to assure landing Gadsden.
* The Vikings will have some more money to play with at the WR position. VU has been told Derrick Alexander will accept a pay cut to veteran minimum -- thus being spared the indignity of being released for the second time in 12 months.
* Speaking of released, the Jets are said to be closing in on a deal with kicker Doug Brien, who last was seen being run out of Winter Park on a rail by larger teammates.
* VU has been told that the Vikings have been in contact with the agent for DT Sam Adams. If the Vikings could sign Adams, it would be a clear indication the team will trade down in the first round of the draft. If they stay at No. 7, they will almost assuredly take a defensive tackle.
* Dwayne Rudd is visiting the Packers today.

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