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Updated: March 3rd, 2011 12:39pm
No restricted tender for Naufahu Tahi, who could re-sign for less

No restricted tender for Naufahu Tahi, who could re-sign for less

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Vikings declined to extend a restricted tender to Naufahu Tahi, but that doesn't mean their starting fullback won't be back.

According to NFL sources, the Vikings remain interested in re-signing Tahi -- just not for the $1.325 million it would have cost them had they extended the right of first refusal tender for a second consecutive year.

Tahi, 29, played 243 snaps (23.6%) in 15 games last season while making $1.176 million under the low restricted tender. Under the collective-bargaining agreement that was set to expire at 10:59 p.m. Thursday, the minimum salary for five-year players such as Tahi is $650,000.

The Vikings kept another fullback, seventh-round draft pick Ryan D'Imperio, on the practice squad all of last season. But it's unclear if or when the converted linebacker from Rutgers will be ready to contribute.

As expected, the Vikings also declined to tender quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and receiver Hank Baskett, who aren't expected back. Defensive tackle Fred Evans was not tendered either, although he's another candidate to sign later at a discounted rate.

Receiver Sidney Rice and end Ray Edwards led the group of seven players who received tender offers on Wednesday. Only two of those seven -- safety Husain Abdullah and backup linebacker Erin Henderson -- have fewer than four accrued seasons and thus would have been restricted free agents under the old rules.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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