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Updated: July 26th, 2011 10:19pm
Notebook: Seahawks emerge as primary competition for Sidney Rice

Notebook: Seahawks emerge as primary competition for Sidney Rice

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Vikings' early competition for Sidney Rice is coming from the west.

An NFL source confirmed late Tuesday night the Seattle Seahawks have emerged as a strong contender to sign Rice, the 24-year-old receiver who sits atop the Vikings' in-house priority list in free agency.

One hold-up for the Seahawks and any other suitor is Rice's injury history, which NFL sources have indicated could impact the size of the guarantee a team is willing to commit to him. Teams can't bring in free agents for visits or physicals until 5 p.m. Friday, the same time contracts officially can be signed.

In Seattle, Rice would be reunited with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who reportedly agreed to terms with the Seahawks on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to compete with Charlie Whitehurst for the starting job.

Meanwhile, the Vikings reportedly were working toward a tentative agreement to acquire veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb -- a move that surely could factor in Rice's decision if the offers are similar financially.

Restricted access

Starting safety Husain Abdullah could wait as late as Aug. 20 to see if he receives an offer sheet before signing his second-round restricted tender.

But Abdullah's agent, CJ LaBoy, said his client is "100% going to sign (the tender) on Friday. Husain can't wait to get back to work."

Assuming the new collective-bargaining agreement adheres to the hold formula, Abdullah's one-year contract will be worth $1.835 million.

The Vikings' only other restricted free agent, linebacker Erin Henderson, has made "no decision" on signing the tender, according to his agent, Brian Mackler. Henderson received the low tender offer ($1.2 million).

Getting paid

The Vikings weren't expected to confirm any undrafted free-agent signings until Wednesday, but they agreed to terms with at least 14 players, according to NFL sources and various reports.

Those players are: running backs Derrick Locke (Kentucky) and Matt Asiata (Utah); receivers Domonique Johnson (Cal Poly) and Andre Holmes (Hillsdale); tight ends Allen Reisner (Iowa) and Ed Barham (North Carolina); offensive linemen Conan Amituanai (Airzona) and Rob Huntley (UTEP); defensive end David Akinniyi (North Carolina State); cornerbacks DeVon Torrence (Ohio State), Marcell Gipson (Wyoming) and Ryan Hill (Miami); linebacker Larry Dean (Valdosta State); and kicker Nate Whitaker (Stanford).

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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