Slow to join the stampede for free agents, the Oakland Raiders may be ready to act.

They are close to signing 350-pound guard Toniu Fonoti, a former second-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers. A starter in 2002 and 2004 for the Chargers, he was traded to Minnesota in October.

Meanwhile, another free agent, Detroit Lions defensive end Kalimba Edwards, is scheduled to pay a visit to Oakland, possibly this week.

The 39th pick of the 2002 draft, Fonoti has had a star-crossed career, battling weight and injury problems. His weight at one time was nearly 400 pounds. Still, the former Nebraska player is considered among the top guards available in free agency. He joined the Vikings at 385 pounds nursing a broken hand, then went on injured reserve with a severe groin in-jury.

Edwards, the 35th player taken in the same draft as Fonoti, is a situational pass rusher and third-down specialist. He visited the Cleveland Browns on Monday. The Browns signed former Raiders nose tackle Ted Washington on Monday.

Edwards appeared in 14 games for the Lions last year, and although he only accumulated 25 tackles, seven were for sacks. He added three fumble recoveries as well as forcing two fumbles. A 6-foot-6, 265-pounder, he was the Lions' sack leader as a rookie with 6.5 after being drafted in the second round in 2002.

EXTRA POINTS: The Raiders have denied an ESPN.com report that they have had renewed talks with the Vikings about quarterback Daunte Culpepper.


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Culpepper is seeking a trade but may wind up being released, which has limited trade efforts. ... Former starting QB Jeff George has approached the team seeking a second shot. George was released after the 1998 season when the team signed Rich Gannon. George has not played since 2001 (Washington) although he spent two years each with Seattle and Chicago since. ... Talks between Oakland and free-agent safety Jarrod Cooper's agent, Ben Dogra, are expected to commence in a matter of days. The agent said he was optimistic a deal would be worked out that would allow Cooper to remain in Oakland.