Houshmandzadeh was rare pursuit for Vikings

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
I have to admit I was surprised that Minnesota aggressively pursued free agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who agreed to terms Monday with Seattle.

Under vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman, the Vikings have almost exclusively targeted free agents coming off their rookie contracts -- 26-year-old up-and-comers with limited NFL wear and tear. Houshmandzadeh, on the other hand, is entering his ninth NFL season and will turn 32 in September. Moreover, the Vikings have a clear No. 1 receiver in Bernard Berrian, a good slot man in Bobby Wade and a young player with decent upside in Sidney Rice.

Yet owner Zygi Wilf sent his private plane to ferry Houshmandzadeh to the Twin Cities over the weekend. The Vikings put on the full-court press during a nearly six-hour visit Sunday, and it's hard to imagine the free-spending Wilf getting outbid if it came to that. This situation seemed to be a case of the rich trying to get richer.

Ultimately Houshmandzadeh picked Seattle, where he will be paired with a more established quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck and has a chance to be the team's top receiver. The Vikings could offer neither opportunity, but they deserve credit for making an ambitious run to augment their offensive firepower.