It appears the Vikings may be on a verge of losing their lone remaining unrestricted free agent, but…
DT Jimmy Kennedy chooses the Vikings
"I've decided to follow my heart, and my heart is in Minnesota. They're still working on some things, but once they dot the I's and cross the T's, it will get done," Kennedy said. "They want me to be there and I want to be there. I don't play this game for the money. I play it for the love of the game. I want to be compensated in the right way, but I feel like Minnesota is home."
Kennedy said it would likely be a two-year contract, and according to NFL Network it is worth a maximum of $6 million.
He told VikingUpdate.com before the start of free agency he didn't want to sign another one-year deal. Kennedy's desire for a multi-year deal is understandable. After being the 12th overall draft pick of the St. Louis Rams and enduring turnover with his coordinators and defensive line coaches, he went to Chicago in 2007, Jacksonville in 2008 and then to Minnesota. He was inactive for two of the first three games last year, but he ended up playing in 13 games with one start.
The Vikings acquired the defensive tackle late in the 2008 season and he played in the final two regular-season games and their wild card loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He returned to the Vikings on a one-year contract last year and made strides.
"I want to keep my career going uphill, not stay steady like it had been and I'm excited about working with (defensive line coach Karl) Dunbar," he said. "I love all the coaches there, but working with Dunbar has helped my career. I always excel when I'm close with my D-line coach."
Kennedy was the primary backup for Pat Williams at nose tackle last year and also plays the three-technique where Kevin Williams has excelled. In Jacksonville, Kennedy was also used as a defensive end, so he's also looking for stability in his position and could be the heir apparent to Pat Williams when he finally does retire. Pat said during the 2009 season that he'd retire if the Vikings won the Super Bowl, but he is going to play out the final year of his contract at least.
Of course, the Williamses' playing status is also up in the air while they await a court ruling on their four-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league's policy on steroids and related substances. The two tested positive for the banned substance bumetanide in August 2008 and received a four-game suspension in October, but they have been challenging the league's decision on that ever since. The two admitted to taking the dietary supplement StarCaps, which didn't list bumetanide on its label but contained the substance, which can also be used to mask steroids. Neither player is accused of taking steroids.
Kennedy said he learned a lot about playing nose guard from Pat and a lot about the three-technique and rushing the passer from Kevin. He also believes his athleticism makes him more valuable than a more one-dimensional player.
He visited Buffalo on Thursday and Friday and had interest from Miami and Oakland, but eventually the stability and opportunity with Minnesota won out.
"I'm going to follow my heart on this one, not my head," he said. "My heart wanted to be a Viking and I wanted to be a Viking, so just pull the trigger."
He will do that as soon as the details in the contract are worked out.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.
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