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Agent: Vikes To Release Randle

John Randle has been one of the NFL's best denensive lineman for a decade. But now, his agent says, he will be released by the Minnesota Vikings because of a contract dispute.

Randle and the Vikings have been trying to restructure his contract. Negotiations resumed this week with Dennis Green, the Vikings' coach and vice president of football operations.

Randle, a six-time Pro Bowl player who has spent 11 seasons with the Vikings, was to make $8 million next season. He had asked for a trade nearly one month ago.

"There are no hard feelings," agent Gary Uberstine said. "He understands the business aspect of it."

Randle balked at the Vikings' latest offer and asked for his release. Uberstine said the Vikings have agreed to the request.

The Vikings did not immediately comment. Randle also did not want to comment, his agent said.

The team wanted to move a $2 million roster bonus from March 2002 to June 2002.

"John had re-evaluated his stance based on the attractiveness of retiring with the Vikings," Uberstine said. "With their latest offer, it became clear it was a one-year commitment. He wasn't trying to buy one year.

"If it's a one-year commitment, he'd rather start over with another team. It's that simple."

The frenetic, face-painting Randle began his career with the Vikings in 1990 as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&I. He had eight sacks last season, ending a string of eight consecutive seasons with at least 10 sacks. Randle will leave the Vikings with 114 sacks, third on their all-time list behind Carl Eller (130) and Alan Page (127).

By releasing Randle, the Vikings will save about $2.5 million in their effort to get under the $67.4 million cap limit fy the Thursday deadline.

The Vikings, who were about $20 million over the cap following the season, have reached a deal to restructure the contract of free safety Orlando Thomas.

They also are attempting to renegotiate with offensive tackle Todd Steussie and strong safety Robert Griffith, who might also be released if no progress is made.

©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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