Vikings interested, but Chester Pitts is unlikely to sign anywhere soon
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The Minnesota Vikings have explored the possibility of signing Chester Pitts, NFL sources confirmed today, but it's unlikely the free-agent guard will sign with anyone until July at the soonest.
Pitts, who turns 31 next month, sustained a right knee injury Sept. 20 at Tennessee that required microfracture surgery. He's been rehabilitating since, and though multiple teams have inquired -- Pitts recently told Fox Sports Houston the Seattle Seahawks are the front-runner -- he probably won't sign until he's 100 percent recovered and can pass a physical, which is expected to be around the time training camps open.
The Vikings' left guard, All-Pro Steve Hutchinson, showed signs of decline last season but still is ranked among the NFL's best by many coaches and scouts. Right guard Anthony Herrera is seen as a scrapper who could be upgraded at some point, and depth at the position is shaky even after the Vikings used a fifth-round draft pick on former Wake Forest offensive lineman Chris DeGeare.
Although the Vikings have signed three veteran free agents this offseason -- end Michael Montgomery, kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd and cornerback Lito Sheppard -- all three had been released and thus are categorized as street free agents who not subject to the Final Eight rule. So, the Vikings still are allowed to sign two unrestricted free agents because running back Chester Taylor (Chicago) and offensive lineman Artis Hicks (Philadelphia) landed elsewhere.
A second-round pick out of San Diego State in 2002, Pitts (6-foot-4, 308 pounds) played his first eight NFL seasons with Houston. He hadn't missed the game -- a streak of 114 consecutive starts, dating to the Texans' inaugural season -- until his injury in Week 2 last year.