Vikings to look at Pitts; team rips state on stadium issue

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Veteran offensive guard Chester Pitts told Sirius NFL Radio last weekend that there are five teams in the mix to potentially sign him and that the Vikings are one of them. Pitts, a longtime member of the Houston Texans, missed most of last season after having microfracture surgery on his right knee and has gone through a lengthy rehabilitation process. He plans to workout for teams on July 15.

"I originally took three trips — Detroit, San Fran and Seattle — and they're all actually still in the mix, and then Philly and Minnesota actually called last week and said, 'If you're ready on the 15th, we're going to work you out and we have a place for you,'" Pitts told Sirius. "For me, I'm 85 percent, I'm pushing at 90 but I don't like to say I'm at 90 because I'm not quite there yet. But I'll be 100 percent (in) probably six weeks. So I have about a two-week cushion to get it as healthy and get as strong as I can get it."

Pitts, who will turn 31 on June 26, most recently played left guard in Houston but most likely would be moved to the right side in Minnesota and could battle Anthony Herrera for that job. Even as a backup, Pitts would provide veteran leadership and potential flexibility that was lost when Artis Hicks signed with Washington as a free agent.

Vikings aren't happy

The end of the legislative session left the Vikings seeing red.


The team released a statement Tuesday that appeared to issue an ultimatum and express extreme disappointment in the failure of Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature to push its stadium issue forward after a financing bill was recently introduced. The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome runs through 2011, and the team has been trying to get public assistance to build a new stadium for several years.

"The Minnesota Vikings want to thank the tens of thousands of Vikings fans for their tremendous support for a new stadium," the statement read. "We appreciate the army of fans who stand with us at this watershed moment for the future of the franchise in Minnesota.

"The Vikings organization is extremely disappointed that the governor and state Legislature did not move the stadium issue forward this year. While we greatly respect the challenges and priorities faced by the State of Minnesota, resolution of this issue has now been pushed to the final year of the lease. This lack of action will only increase the costs of the project for everyone, plus we missed the opportunity to put thousands of Minnesotans back to work

"The Vikings and the NFL have made significant commitments to this market — commitments that cannot be sustained at the Metrodome. In 2006, the Vikings were asked by Gov. Pawlenty and state leaders to step back and allow the Twins and Gophers stadium issues to be resolved. Those state leaders committed to work with the team to resolve this issue. More than four years later, those commitments have not been honored.

"We appeal to our state's leaders to join the bipartisan group of legislators who have stepped up to work on securing the long-term future of the Vikings in Minnesota. This group of leaders has acknowledged that having an NFL team in Minnesota requires a stadium solution. This solution must be finalized in the 2011 session."

Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of public affairs and stadium development, declined to elaborate on what that last line might have meant.

"I think it reflects directly the views of our owners," Bagley said. "We want the statement to stand on its own."

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