While speaking publicly for the first time since the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 24, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf proclaimed that the team is not cutting back on spending on players this year. Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune reports that Wilf wanted to make this clear to fans, especially after the loss of RB Chester Taylor and OL Artis Hicks to free agency.
“We spend when it’s appropriate,” Wilf said. “I work with my guys. When we want somebody, we go after them; that’s the way we’ve been doing it, and we’ll continue to do so when the time comes. When the opportunity arises and when the time comes, we will go out and get that person, but right now we’re really working on the draft.”
The Vikings owner has been known to not hold back when it comes to getting players that he, team executives and coaches feel will make their team into a championship-caliber team, regardless of the cost. Big-name players that have been brought to Minnesota since the Wilfs bought the team include DE Jared Allen, G Steve Hutchinson and QB Brett Favre.
Wilf also spoke of his hopes that the Legislature will get a Vikings stadium bill passed this year.
“I feel like we’re coming into what’s really needed to get this thing done, from the standpoint of the type of stadium that we want and the location that we want, and we’re right now working on the finance package,” Wilf said. “I think there’s a way to get this thing done this year, so I’m excited on that front.”
Tags: Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson, Zygi Wilf
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A fast weekend of free agency in the NFC North saw one of the Vikings rivals add a Pro Bowl DE – Julius Peppers in Chicago – while another team lost a Pro Bowler – Green Bay’s Aaron Kampman.
A 2-time Pro Bowler, Kampman signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.
In Jacksonville, Kampman will return to his normal position as a DE in a base 4-3 alignment. In 2009, Green Bay switched to a 3-4 alignment under new defensive coordinator Dom Capers and Kampman’s transition into the new scheme didn’t go smoothly. Often times he was standing up as an outside LB rather than playing his natural spot as a DE. On top of that, he injured his knee in November and missed the rest of the season.
Kampman will beef up a Jaguars defensive line that was last in the NFL with just 14 sacks during the ’09 season.
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On Friday the Vikings saw RB Chester Taylor dart Minnesota for division rival Chicago to sign a 4-year, $12.5 million contract. On Saturday, another unrestricted free agent (UFA) on the Vikings roster – OL Artis Hicks – decided to pick up and join another team.
Hicks, an 8-year veteran, signed a 3-year contract with the Washington Redskins this past weekend. He is the 2nd UFA to leave Minnesota this offseason, which means the Vikings are permitted to sign 2 UFAs.
After spending the first 4 years of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Hicks came to the Vikings in 2006. That season was head coach Brad Childress’ first in Minnesota and he swung a trade to bring the versatile lineman with him to the Vikings. Hicks can play guard and tackle on both sides of the line.
Hicks played and started 14 games in ’06 with the Vikings and logged 27 starts in 56 games overall while in Minnesota. In Philadelphia, Hicks played in 38 games with 31 starts and was an important part of the Eagles team that advanced to Super Bowl XXXIX.
Having played in West Coast offenses his whole career, Hicks’ decision to join the Redskins makes sense. New head coach Mike Shanahan also employs the West Coast offense and is making over the Redskins offensive line. In Washington, Hicks will be on a team with a familiar offense and he’ll also be in line for a regular starting spot, something he wouldn’t have had in Minnesota.
Tags: Artis Hicks
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