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Updated: April 5th, 2012 6:32pm
Notebook: Vikings face grievance from Kevin Williams, visit hoopster

Notebook: Vikings face grievance from Kevin Williams, visit hoopster

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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As the Minnesota Vikings shed veterans in their rebuilding operation, they may be headed towards arbitration with the longest-tenured player remaining.

Defensive tackle Kevin Williams has filed a grievance over an undisclosed issue an NFL source termed "minor" that likely will be settled sometime this summer.

The Vikings are carrying a $48,941 charge on their salary cap for the open grievance. The collective-bargaining agreement states 40% of any grievance shall be carried on a team's cap until resolution or the start of the new league year, whichever comes first, meaning Williams' claim is for about $122,350.

That's a relative pittance for a player who is due $7 million in base salary and a $500,000 workout bonus in 2012. But Williams, 31, is no stranger to challenging the system.

After testing positive for a banned diuretic in July 2008, Williams staved off a four-game suspension for more than three years. The legal battle cost him around $1 million, though, and the NFL ended up docking him four game checks last year -- total value: $1,411,764 -- despite trimming his suspension to two games.

The CBA states all non-injury grievances shall be resolved by an impartial arbitrator, with hearing on non-expedited cases to take place between July 1 and Sept. 10. Grievances can be filed for several reasons, including disputes over incentive bonus clauses, and the NFL players association represents players in all cases.

Williams' case probably will end up getting resolved by the Grievance Settlement Committee, which brings together representatives from the NFL's management council and the NFLPA before the arbitration scheduling conference.

Tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser's retirement after the season left Williams as the longest-tenured player on the Vikings roster. Williams was a first-round draft pick in 2003 -- the same year the Vikings drafted linebacker E.J. Henderson, who is an unrestricted free agent. Cornerback Antoine Winfield and long snapper Cullen Loeffer joined in 2004.

Williams and his agent, Tom Condon, didn't return messages seeking comment.

Another hoopster?

The Vikings were one of seven teams that attended former Cal State-Fullerton basketball player Andre Hardy's workout on Thursday.

Hardy, 25, played basketball at Oral Roberts before transferring to Fullerton, where he averaged 4.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 16 games (one start) last season. He hasn't played football since high school but has some impressive physical traits, including a 79-inch wingspan and a 4.7-second 40-yard dash time at 6-foot-5 and 244 pounds.

The Vikings are no stranger to scouting former basketball players. Last month, they signed defensive back Nick Taylor, the onetime Florida International point guard who spent last year in a minor arena football league.

Also represented at Thursday's workout were Oakland, Seattle, San Diego, Green Bay, San Francisco and the New York Giants. Hardy, who been declared a free agent by the NFL, was scheduled to visit the Raiders after the workout and the 49ers on Friday.

Surgery for Harvin

Receiver Percy Harvin posted on Twitter that he'll have arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday for the shoulder injury he first revealed earlier this week.

"(G)lad to get it out of the way," Harvin tweeted.

Coach Leslie Frazier confirmed on Wednesday the injury is minor and said Harvin should be ready when the Vikings begin organized team activity practices on May 29.

Painful memory

Many NFL players took to Twitter to offer opinions on the audio recording that surfaced of former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams giving instructions on how to hit San Francisco players in a playoff game in January.

Those venting included Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and free-agent tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who both were members of the team that lost to Williams -- suspended indefinitely for running the Saints' bounty program -- and the Saints in the January 2010 NFC championship game.

"'The way you earn respect is through fear,'" Kluwe wrote, referring to something Williams said in the recording made by a documentary filmmaker and posted on Thursday at www.theusof.com.

"Are you (expletive) kidding me? What kind of (N)eanderthal message does that send. ... No wonder this world's so messed up if people that's an appropriate way to act and are willing to defend that kind of behavior."

Shiancoe responded, "(W)hat do you expect from a (N)eanderthal?"

"Man, I know we've seen some crazy ass speeches," Kluwe wrote, "but that's just unbelievable. What a jerk."

Replied Shiancoe, "(W)e could have a ring right now."

Quick hit

• Prospects known or reported to have attended the Vikings' "Top 30" pre-draft event this week included: left tackle Matt Kalil (Southern Cal); receivers Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech) and Alshon Jeffery (South Carolina); and cornerbacks Morris Claiborne (LSU), Lionel Smith (Texas A&M) and Ron Brooks (LSU).

• Running back Adrian Peterson, who continues his recovery from a torn ACL, has pledged a $1 million donation to the Oklahoma athletic department. Peterson was an All-America selection at the school. The donation will support the construction of Headington Hall -- OU's new student housing facility -- and also will establish the Adrian Peterson Football Scholarship Endowment. Peterson's financial gift is the largest ever to OU athletics from a former Sooners football player.

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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