Key Vikes veterans are no-shows at informal workouts

Posted June 05, 2011 @ 10 a.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Following are whispers we've been hearing from around the league:

• Our Vikings sources were a little perplexed when they heard that attendance at rookie QB Christian Ponder's informal workouts was less than impressive. Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe — the team's four best skill-position players — all did not attend, even though it was believed that some of them were expected to make it.

• While the Cardinals remain the front-runner in rumored trade talks involving Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, we hear the team also thinks pretty highly of Broncos QB Kyle Orton and would consider him a favorable fall-back alternative should Kolb get snatched away by another suitor. It's believed the Cardinals could obtain Orton for a slightly lesser price than Kolb and not have to sacrifice a first-round pick.

• Nobody is saying for sure that Rams QB Sam Bradford has been receiving input on the team's new offense this offseason from Ben McDaniels, the brother of new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels who also worked under Josh in Denver. But most close team observers would not be surprised in the least at what they agree would probably be a very smart move, as there would be nothing illegal in such interaction.

• Even though the Rams' roster is suddenly flooded with receivers, we hear there could still be a passing interest in landing Plaxico Burress, who has been out of commission since shooting himself in the leg in November 2008. Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo remembers Burress quite well from their days together with the Giants.

• We hear that Raiders owner Al Davis apparently looked into the availability of free-agent QB Alex Smith, who all of the sudden looks like a lock to remain the starting QB in San Francisco.

• Our Packers sources tell us the team now considers second-year OL Marshall Newhouse, who did not see any regular-season action as a rookie, solely as a fourth tackle. We hear the team has decided Newhouse isn't strong enough to also play guard.

• Re-signing RB Garrett Wolfe was not a priority for the Bears even before he was arrested last month, we hear, and a source said he's not in the team's plans after being charged with retail theft, disorderly conduct, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest with violence in the Miami incident. Wolfe, a third-round pick in 2007, doesn't have a role in Mike Martz's offense, but he has been a solid special-teams contributor.

• Bills WR David Nelson made a nice contribution in his rookie season, catching 31 passes. Predominantly coming on the field in three- or four-WR sets, Nelson gained 12 yards a catch out of the slot, according to Pro Football Focus, good for 11th in the league. He added weight this offseason and told The Buffalo News he wants to be an every-down receiver. Combined with last year's breakout star Stevie Johnson and the speedy Lee Evans, if Nelson can take a leap in his sophomore NFL season, the Bills would have quite the formidable receiving corps for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

• We hear Jets PK Nick Folk, who was offered a sixth-round tender, will have to compete for the placekicking job with Nick Novak. Folk should benefit, though, from the new kickoff rules. He averaged 62 yards per kickoff, ranking near the bottom of the league. He was more consistent in 2010, though, finishing the season with seven consecutive field goals made, and should still have a leg up when the training-camp competition begins.

• The quote from Brandon Jacobs that WR Plaxico Burress is not returning to the Giants is not surprising based on what we have heard this offseason. Even if Burress had expressed a strong desire to return to the Giants this offseason, we hear their interest in bringing him back was not that strong. But we also have heard that the team did not rule it out completely, with some team officials believing Burress still had something to prove and that he could fill a need at receiver.

• With a logjam in the backfield, we hear the Texans would love to get Steve Slaton as many carries as possible in the preseason to showcase him for other teams. The club is not likely to cut the former 1,000-yard rusher, but it would entertain trade offers for him.

• Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's advice to rookie CB Cortez Allen: set manageable expectations for yourself and work hard. "Don't come in saying 'I have to be this or this,' " Allen said Tomlin told him when they spoke after Allen was drafted in Round Four.

• Among the players Browns rookie TE Jordan Cameron is getting pointers from: former USC WR and NFL TE Billy Miller; and Browns TE Benjamin Watson, Cleveland's leading receiver last season. Cameron has enjoyed working with his new teammates, who have gathered at the direction of starting QB Colt McCoy multiple times and will meet again June 9-11 in Austin, Texas. "It just shows he wants to take this offense into his own hands," Cameron said of the McCoy-run workouts.