Fanball Newsbreakers: August 7th
August 7, 2005 6:56 PM ET
Vikings: Smoot expected to return Monday
Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot, who missed the first week of training camp with a strained neck from lifting weights, is scheduled to begin practicing on Monday. Smoot will not play in the Vikings first preseason game; his first game action will come in preseason game two against the Jets on August 19.
Smoot's injury is not considered serious; they are just being cautious with him. His addition to the secondary opposite Antoine Winfield gives the Vikings one of the best corner tandems in the NFL, so they aren't about to take any chances.
August 7, 2005 5:50 PM ET
Cowboys: Cortez added to compete with Cundiff
The Cowboys tried out a pair of former NFL kickers Saturday, eventually signing Jose Cortez. The former Viking, Redskin, Giant, and 49er hasn't attempted an NFL field goal since 2002.
Wade Richie also worked out for the Cowboys, who waived yet another kicker, Brett Visintainer, to make room for Cortez.
August 7, 2005 5:46 PM ET
Panthers: Jones hangs 'em up
Tight end Freddie Jones, who signed a free agent contract with the Patriots in April, has decided to retire. "It was in the best interest of my family that I conclude my career at this time," Jones said in a published report. "I appreciate the panthers signing me. It's a top-notch organization and I'm glad I got a chance to experience it before I retired."
Jones spent five years in San Diego and three in Arizona, recording 404 career catches.
August 7, 2005 5:34 PM ET
Vikings: Daunte reworks deal
Quarterback Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings agreed to restructure Culpepper's contract, team VP Rob Brzezinski told the Associated Press. While Brzezinski declined to provide specifics, he did indicate that Daunte will get a raise from the 10-year, $102 million extension he signed in 2003.
The Vikings have more room under the salary cap than any NFL team, so this is a great opportunity to pay Daunte without taking a cap hit. It's also a way for new owner Zygi Wilf to stress that with traded superstar Randy Moss no longer in Minnesota, this is unquestionably Culpepper's team.
August 7, 2005 5:30 PM ET
Chiefs: Gonzo sits with sore foot
Tight end Tony Gonzalez left Saturday's practice with what Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said was soreness in his left foot. "I'm concerned about Tony," Vermeil told the Kansas City Star. "He's had a problem with that [foot] before."
Gonzo had surgery on his left foot last winter and missed the team's offseason workouts. The team is limiting Gonzalez to one practice per day at camp in hopes that the problem will clear up.
August 7, 2005 2:50 PM ET
Vikings: Taylor pushing Robinson for starting job
Travis Taylor is pushing Marcus Robinson for the starting wide receiver job opposite Nate Burleson. Vikings head coach Mike Tice continued singing Taylor's praises on Saturday. "He's never going to run by many people, but he's strong and can't be pressed," Tice told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "He's strong, he's thick, he's powerful and he's mature. Travis and Marcus, to me, right now are in a hell of a battle."
It may become a moot point soon if first-round draft choice Troy Williamson takes over the starting gig, as expected. That being said, if Taylor isn't on your short list of wide receiver sleepers by now, he never will be.
August 7, 2005 11:38 AM ET
Raiders: Gannon makes retirement official
In a move that's been several months in the making, quarterback Rich Gannon finally announced his decision to retire from football. The former Raider (and Viking, Redskin, and Chief) missed most of last season after suffering a broken vertebra.
The four-time Pro Bowler will move to the broadcast booth at CBS, leaving Kerry Collins to throw deep to Randy Moss and Jerry Porter in Oakland.
August 7, 2005 9:42 AM ET
Vikings: Williams backing up Bennett
The Vikings' running back depth chart currently has Michael Bennett on top and veteran Moe Williams as his primary backup. Second-year back Mewelde Moore is listed third. Head coach Mike Tice trusts Williams more than Moore, especially in pass protection where Mewelde really struggled as a rookie. Tice told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Saturday that Moore did a better job with his blocking during their scrimmage on Friday night, but added he "still has a ways to go with his maturity as a player."
Tice might still be miffed about Moore's perceived milking of an ankle injury last year. Moore, who is arguably the Vikings most talented runner, is also working on special teams as a return man on punts and kicks as well as the coverage units. He could certainly work his way into the mix during the season, but if Bennett goes down with an injury tomorrow (it could happen) Tice would call Moe's number to replace him.