Lawyer fees high

All-Pro Milloy too pricey for Vikings

By Bill Williamson

Knight Ridder Newspapers

EDENPRAIRIE, Minn. --The salary cap-related release of star safety Lawyer Milloy by New England sent shock waves through the Vikings' front office Tuesday morning.

From the time he learned of the Milloy's release, Vikings coach Mike Tice envisioned the four-time Pro Bowl strong safety in a Vikings uniform. The Vikings immediately got into the Milloy sweepstakes and talked to his agent several times Tuesday.


But by the end of the day, the Vikings appeared to be out of the running for Milloy. The team decided Milloy's asking price was too much and thought he would soon sign elsewhere.

It's believed Milloy is asking for a multiyear contract worth about $4 million a season with a large signing bonus. Buffalo, Washington and New Orleans also showed early interest. The Bills, who made an offer to Milloy minutes after he was released, and the Redskins went into the night negotiating with Milloy's agent, Carl Poston. The Bills play New England on Sunday. Poston did not return phone messages Tuesday.

Milloy has started the past 106 games for the Patriots. He ultimately turned down a pay cut. He was in the fourth season of a seven-year contract that was worth $35 million. He was due $4.4 million this season.

The Vikings decided the addition of Milloy, 29, was not worth the major financial investment. Vikings owner Red McCombs has been criticized in the past for his reluctance to spend on major free agents. The Vikings decided against big-ticket purchases in past offseasons but did add decent-sized salaries this offseason in cornerback Denard Walker and linebacker Chris Claiborne. Last year, the Vikings signed middle linebacker Greg Biekert to a three-year contract after he was released by Oakland.

The Vikings are several million under the salary cap, but the decision not to pursue Milloy more heavily is likely because of the signing bonus and long-term money involved. Tuesday morning, McCombs said he was unaware Milloy was released but termed it as "interesting."

"We look at everything that can improve our team," Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski said. "But we will stay within the structure of our plan. We like our roster."

The team was pursuing Milloy with the intention of making him the starting strong safety. Versatile Corey Chavous would have moved to free safety.

"We always look to help our team." Tice said. "If there is a player like Lawyer Milloy on the open market, you have to look."

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