Spielman: No cuts coming; Peterson's deal has 'to get addressed'
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Several NFL teams have released veteran players in the past week, but vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman indicated on Thursday the Minnesota Vikings won't be following suit.
"Right now, we're going to keep our roster status quo," Spielman said on Thursday, shortly after media availability began at the NFL scouting combine.
"I don't anticipate any moves. Again, that's always etched in oatmeal. Don't anticipate anything happening."
Uncertainty created by the NFL's lack of a collective-bargaining agreement surely is a factor in the Vikings' thinking. Teams are proceeding without knowing how the next collective-bargaining agreement -- whenever it's reached -- might change free-agency eligibility, the salary cap and the function of franchise and transition tags.
Spielman and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski have a series of meetings scheduled here with agents for players on the current roster, but that's common procedure during the combine.
"We've been through all the scenarios, and if there is a cap in place, potentially where that cap can be, how will that roster work, what types of moves will we have to make," Spielman said. "Again, we're playing them like either way, we'll be ready to go."
Receivers Bernard Berrian and safety Madieu Williams could be candidates for release, based on their subpar performances in 2010. Berrian, 30, is due $4 million in salary and bonuses next season and Williams, 29, is due $5.5 million.
Left guard Steve Hutchinson, who is due $6.73 million, heads a group of veterans whose contracts could be restructured, but Spielman declined to discuss contractual matters.
Spielman did acknowledge one inevitability: the Vikings will look at extending All-Pro halfback Adrian Peterson's contract, which is set to void after the 2011 season, once a new CBA is reached.
"That's going to have to get addressed, too," Spielman said. "Once we understand what we're dealing with, then we'll be able to address that."
Peterson has unlocked incentives that pushed his 2011 base salary to a team-high $10.72 million. Not including linebacker Chad Greenway's franchise tender, which will be worth around $10 million, the Vikings have about $96 million in 2011 salary and bonuses committed to the 48 players on their roster.
In a 28-minute session with Twin Cities reporters and a brief appearance at the podium, Spielman covered several other roster topics, including:
• Greenway is not believed to have signed his franchise tender, which will be worth around $10 million. Several other NFL players -- including Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley, Carolina center Ryan Kalil and New York Jets linebacker David Harris -- reportedly have signed theirs, locking in one-year contracts instead of waiting for a new deal.
• Spielman wouldn't reveal whether the Vikings considered using the franchise tag on receiver Sidney Rice or if they are considering using the transition tag before Thursday's deadline. "I'm not going to go into what our internal discussions were," Spielman said. "We made a decision that Chad was our franchise and hopefully, we'll be able to get Sidney under contract this year." Depending on the rules set by the next CBA, Rice could be a restricted free agent, too.
• Spielman also wouldn't say whether the Vikings have interest in safety Bob Sanders, tight end Jeremy Shockey or any other veteran cut in recent weeks. "Every guy that gets released -- you want to finish my line? Yeah, gets evaluated," Spielman said. "We feel if they can come in and help our ballclub and everything works out, we would do something. If not, we move on."
• With Greenway in essence off the market, the Vikings now have 21 players unsigned/tendered who finished last season on the 53-man roster or injured reserve. One of the most notable is veteran outside linebacker Ben Leber, who is 32 and may not fill well with the Vikings' plan to get younger. "Are we going to be able to keep everybody? I don't know," Spielman said. "Would you love to have Ben back? Ben's been a very good football player for us, done a lot of good things for us. I don't know where that's going to go, to be honest with you."