Free agency begins with Culpepper still a Viking

Updated: March 11, 2006, 3:12 PM ET
ESPN.com

The Vikings tried to put a Friday night deadline on a trade of Daunte Culpepper, but no deal has been finalized.

Three teams supposedly were in the final bidding -- the Raiders, Dolphins and Titans. But the Raiders dropped out when they heard the price was going to be a second-round choice.

The Vikings were telling teams they could get a second-round choice for Culpepper, who asked to be traded early this week.

In other Minnesota news, the Vikings made contact with Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson and are trying to schedule a visit over the weekend. Hutchinson is the Seahawks' transition player and is going to command more than $6 million a year. The Seahawks would have seven days to match any offer.

Givens and taken away: The first weird free-agency report of the night came from Cleveland, where the team's Web site reported that the Browns had signed Patriots wide receiver David Givens and Ravens punter Dave Zastudil. The only problem was it wasn't true.

Now, Givens isn't even going to visit Cleveland. Givens will be in Miami on Saturday and will visit the Houston Texans on Sunday. The price tag for Givens rose above what the Browns wanted to pay.

Givens' agent, Brad Blank, theorized that someone hacked into the Browns' site, which is what accounted for the mistake.

D.C. lobbying players: The Redskins came out swinging. They made contact after midnight Friday with 49ers defensive end Andre Carter, Rams safety Adam Archuleta, Chiefs quarterback Todd Collins and Steelers receiver Antwaan Randle El and have them flying in as early as Saturday.

The Redskins are also working on a possible trade for restricted free agent Brandon Lloyd of the 49ers. San Francisco gave Lloyd the first-round tender, but the Redskins have initiated trade talks that could give the 49ers two mid-round draft picks. Lloyd agreed Friday night to make a visit Washington on Sunday. There is a good chance Lloyd will come to an agreement with Redskins for big money before the end of the weekend. The Redskins plan is to sign both Randle El and Lloyd to shore up their receiving corp.

Lewis waiting: The phones were quiet for Ravens halfback Jamal Lewis on Friday night. He didn't receive any calls in the first hour after the start of free agency and doesn't have any visits scheduled at this early date.

Chargers chatting it up: The Chargers made contact with Panthers safety Marlon McCree and will have him in for a visit Saturday. They are looking to upgrade at the safety position for the second consecutive year.

The Chargers tried to talk Saints center LeCharles Bentley into a visit, but he opted for another visit, presumably with the Eagles. There is a chance the Eagles could be willing to go to $6 million a year to sign Bentley.

Feeling the Brees: The Chargers front office says it didn't pull any incentives off an offer for outgoing quarterback Drew Brees. The Chargers have been offering him a contract for more than a month, and the contract is loaded with incentives in the first year because of his offseason shoulder surgery. Public confusion occurred when San Diego reporters heard Friday that the Chargers pulled the incentives off the table. The Chargers say that the offer still remains, but Brees appears gone from San Diego.

The former Purdue quarterback has decided to make a trip to New Orleans Saturday and then visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Rams courting Witherspoon: Panthers linebacker Will Witherspoon heard from the Rams on Saturday night and will be making a visit to St. Louis. Witherspoon could get a deal worth more than $5 million a year. The Panthers have been trying to negotiate a deal with him for a while. Now, they fear the Rams will sign him.

Seahawks seeking secondary help: The Seahawks contacted Giants cornerback Will Allen and will have him in for a visit this week. After cutting Andre Dyson, the Seahawks were in the market for a starting cornerback. Allen lost his job in New York to Sam Madison, who signed with the Giants Friday.

Packers focused on defensive front: The Packers called after midnight and talked Rams defensive tackle Ryan Pickett into coming in for a visit Sunday. The Packers could lose Grady Jackson in free agency. After re-signing defensive end Aaron Kampman and having the chance to draft Mario Williams with their first pick, the Packers are trying to upgrade their defensive line. The Cardinals and the Bills are also interested in Pickett.

Dream Weaver: The Houston Texans are hot after Ravens defensive end Anthony Weaver. Weaver will be one of their first interviews, and the Texans are expected to try go sign him over the weekend.

ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton contributed the reporting for this article.