Thursday, May 2, 2002
Wiley Vikes' latest newcomer to front four
By Len Pasquarelli
For the third time this spring the Minnesota Vikings have bolstered their defensive end corps through free agency, this time reaching agreement Thursday night with unrestricted veteran Chuck Wiley, who played the last two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.
The four-year veteran joins a pair of former Miami Dolphins ends, Lorenzo Bromell and Kenny Mixon, as new additions to the Minnesota front four. Rookie coach Mike Tice had made revamping the defensive end position a priority for the offseason and certainly has accomplished his goal.
Financial details of the contract Wiley will sign were not immediately available.
Unlike recent springs, the Vikings had plenty of salary cap space and have used it wisely, addressing a defensive unit too often ignored in the past.
Wiley, 27, likely will be the No. 3 end in Minnesota and, since he can play strongside or weakside, he could be a valuable "swing" man in the defensive line rotation. There were a number of other teams, notably the St. Louis Rams, interested in Wiley, but the Falcons did not make an effort to retain him.
The former LSU standout will be reunited with former college teammate Mixon and is also close friends with another former Atlanta defender acquired by the Vikings as a free agent, middle linebacker Henri Crockett.
Wiley entered the league as a third-round choice of the Carolina Panthers in 1998, but he missed his entire rookie season after sustaining an Achilles tendon rupture in camp. He came back to start all 16 games in 1999 for the Panthers, but was released the following summer and signed with Atlanta as a free agent.
He played in all 16 games for the Falcons last season, started one, and had 40 tackles and a sack. For his career, Wiley has appeared in 48 games and started 17 of them. He has 168 tackles and five sacks.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.