So much for Dede Westbrook to Seattle.
Some viewed the Seahawks as a strong contender to land the fifth-year free agent receiver after it was learned that Seattle was initially intended to be the first stop of his tour to find a new team.
Instead, Westbrook changed plans to visit Minnesota first due to the presence of his former receivers coach at Jacksonville — Keenan McCardell. And that proved fatal to Seattle’s hopes to land him as Westbrook agreed to terms Saturday with the Vikings.
Westbrook had been scheduled to visit the Seahawks on Sunday.
Instead, he might now be on the field against Seattle when the Vikings are home against the Seahawks on Sept. 26.
Westbrook, who was fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2016 at Oklahoma and then played four years with the Jaguars where he had 1,720 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 40 games, said the presence of McCardell was pivotal.
“Keenan’s like a father figure to me,” Westbrook told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Saturday. “I respect him and everything that he’s ever taught me and done for me.”
Westbrook told the paper he planned to sign a one-year deal with the Vikings though financial terms were unavailable.
Teams wanted to bring in Westbrook for a visit since he suffered an ACL injury last October and they wanted to be comfortable with his progress. The Vikings apparently were.
Seattle currently has its roster full at 91 after the Friday signing of free agent running back Cameron Scarlett (the Seahawks, as are all NFC West teams, are allowed an extra player this year with one being a player from the International Pathway program). But Seattle would have been willing to make a move to sign Westbrook had the visit worked out.
Westbrook would have competed to get into the receiving rotation behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, an area of the team that remains in some question.
Second-round draft choice Dee Eskridge could take over the third receiver spot (that last year was held for much of the season by the now-departed David Moore), but the Seahawks saw little of him during the spring program due to a toe injury.
Freddie Swain, a sixth-round selection in 2020, Penny Hart and 2019 seventh-round pick John Ursua also will compete for roles in the receiving rotation along with a bevy of other free agents such as former Husky Aaron Fuller and former Sumner High standout Connor Wedington. Training camp begins Wednesday.
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