With clock ticking, Vikings spending to improve

The Vikings have been aggressive in the opening of free agency.

>EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) – With an asset like Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be built for the future.

But many of the Vikings’ best players are in their 30s, so there’s a narrow window of opportunity for star-crossed franchise that has never won a Super Bowl and has made the playoffs only once over the last seven seasons.

In short? The time to succeed is now, especially as coach Brad Childress enters his third year with a career record of 14-18.

In response? The Vikings have been aggressive in the opening of free agency, shelling out elite-level money for a new fullback, safety and wide receiver – and hoping to do the same for a defensive end.

Defensive tackle Pat Williams and cornerback Antoine Winfield are two Vikings who aren’t getting any younger, as they’ve frequently reminded their coach.

Childress called them “weekend GMs.”

“They have no problem text-messaging me and giving me free advice,” Childress said over the whirlwind weekend that brought three free agents: fullback Thomas Tapeh, safety Madieu Williams and wide receiver Bernard Berrian.

The Vikings hosted running back/kick returner Maurice Hicks on Monday, and they were arranging for a Tuesday visit from defensive end Antwan Odom.

Since buying the team in 2005, owner Zygi Wilf has stressed a spend-to-win commitment as he simultaneously tries to get public money for a new stadium.

That has clearly made an impression on prospective players. Berrian beamed about Friday’s ride from his home in northern California to the Twin Cities in Wilf’s private plane.