Ben Leber (Nick Laham/Getty)
The Vikings have already lost Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice to the Seahawks, and now there could be another Viking heading west. Seattle is reportedly interested in linebacker Ben Leber.
What’s the deal with Pete Carroll?
You kind of get the feeling that either Darrell Bevell is the proverbial “man behind the curtain” calling the shots or Carroll has something against the Vikings. A certain 90-year old newspaper columnist announced Carroll’s signing as the Vikings head coach when the team hired Dennis Green, and dressed down then-team president Roger Headrick in front of the entire media contingent. Perhaps there is more than passing resentment on the part of Carroll toward the Vikings organization.
One of the first signings the Seahawks made after the lockout ended was quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. At the time, the thinking was that, with veteran Matt Hasselbeck not coming back, Jackson would give Seattle a short-term advantage by having knowledge of Bevell’s offense, which fellow QB Charlie Whitehurst didn’t have. It was curious, leaving some Vikings analysts to question whether Carroll was angling to get the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft – Stanford QB Andrew Luck.
Seattle followed up that signing with one of the bigger post-lockout splashes in the free-agent market – locking down Sidney Rice. Seattle doesn’t have the Super Bowl aspirations of many other teams have, so some figured that Bevell must have done an impressive selling job on Rice, who got an $18 million signing bonus despite it being a bidding war between only two teams, the Seahawks and Vikings.
Now word out of Seattle is that they’re looking to sign Ben Leber. The Vikings have been playing a wait-and-see game with Leber, figuring they won’t re-sign him unless it comes at a hometown discount price. Leber has stated he would like to stay in Minnesota, but according to reports from Seattle, a Seahawks insider said that they were one of four teams pursuing Leber. There was no mention as to whether the Vikings are one of those other three teams, but they don’t seem in any rush to get Leber back in purple.
If the Seahawks land Leber, it will be a Vikings trifecta of player raids with starting experience that, not too long ago, were viewed as entrenched at their positions. Is Carroll still ticked off at the Vikings? Is Bevell calling a lot of the shots when it comes to free agency? Maybe it’s a combination of the two.
Adrian Peterson is expected to return to practice today. He was in Texas this week for the birth of his son. His baby and fiancée are both said to be doing fine after the birth.
If there is a good thing about the lockout compressing the schedule for signing rookies, it’s that there won’t be any holdouts and we haven’t even seen a preseason game played yet. The Giants signed CB Prince Amukamara to a contract – the last of the first-rounders to sign and report to his new team. Is this a new era of rookie signings or just an anomaly because of the inability for rookies to make an impression on the coaching staffs? Most owners aren’t complaining, seeing as they’ve never had 100 percent signings in the modern era until this year.
There were more than a few Vikings fans surprised by the 11th-hour switch of practice times. The stands were almost full Thursday morning, only to learn that the full-pads practice wouldn’t be until 3 p.m. The Vikings didn’t announce the change in practice times until about 10 p.m. Wednesday night, which was done to get the players with new contracts on the field after the collective bargaining agreement was ratified. Thursday’s practice went for 45 minutes before players like Donovan McNabb could “officially” start practicing.
Head coach Leslie Frazier said that, given what the Vikings have been through the last 12 months, he’s looking forward to a drama-free season, saying, “I am looking forward to normalcy, if there is such a thing in the National Football League. Every team has gone through the same things that we’ve gone through this entire offseason and every team experienced what we’ve experienced today, so we’re not in the minority in that regard. Right now, we can put some of those things behind us and we can concentrate on getting our team prepared to play this season.”
Ryan Cook may end up having a long NFL career. A college center with four years experience, Cook has spent most of his NFL career playing tackle. After re-signing with the Vikings and taking to the practice field, Cook was taking reps at right guard.
Rumors have swirled that the Vikings may be interested in 49ers safety Taylor Mays. To date, the Vikings haven’t signed any players that made an impression on linebackers coach Mike Singletary, who was the head coach in San Francisco prior to being fired midway through the 2010 season.
The annual Brett Favre rumor mill continues to grind away, even with little to no positive confirmation that Favre wants to make yet another return. The buzz in Miami is that Favre should bring his talents to South Beach. Good luck with that. The last time the Dolphins picked up a damaged-goods quarterback from the Vikings, it was trading for Daunte Culpepper and telling Drew Brees to go away. Here’s hoping Miami doesn’t repeat that mistake.
You have to love the Philadelphia media, which is as rabid and as the fans that attend Eagles games. In a column in The Philadelphia Examiner, the writer didn’t care for Donovan McNabb’s assessment of the Eagles from a separate interview McNabb did with CBSSportsline. The headline on the story? “Memo to McNabb: Shut Up.” You have to wonder how Philly ever got the moniker of “City of Brotherly Love?”
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.