Strong safety Mike Doss is scheduled to visit the Eagles this afternoon, a team source confirmed.

That is, Doss will visit the Eagles if he doesn't sign with the Minnesota Vikings, who entertained the 26-year-old free agent yesterday and seemed inclined not to let him leave town without a deal.

Doss is coming off anterior cruciate ligament surgery, which caused him to miss the final 10 regular-season games and the playoffs, as his Indianapolis Colts rolled to the Super Bowl XLI title. He is an "in-the-box" safety, much like Mike Lewis, the free agent the Birds didn't try to retain. Lewis signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

Like Lewis, Doss was a second-round draft pick (in 2003, instead of 2002) who lost his starting job last season. Doss got back into the Colts' lineup when Bob Sanders suffered a knee injury, but then Doss went down for the season on Oct. 22 against the Redskins - the same day that defensive tackle Montae Reagor, who has since signed with the Eagles, suffered season-ending injuries in an auto accident.

Stuck behind Sanders and Antoine Bethea, 2 months ago Doss opted to void the final year of his rookie deal and become a free agent, despite the ACL surgery. That might not have been the wisest move; in any event, Doss recently jettisoned agent Tom Condon and hired Drew Rosenhaus.

Doss apparently traveled to Philadelphia several weeks ago, reportedly to meet with the Eagles, but team sources said then and still maintain that no meeting occurred, even though Doss was interviewed on local talk radio. Back then, a team source said the Birds were uninterested, but that was when Doss was seeking a multiyear deal. Now, Doss might be ready to take a low-money, 1-year contract and try free agency again in a year - the kind of setup the Eagles tend to like.

The Eagles are widely expected to draft a safety early this year, in part because free safety Brian Dawkins will be 34 in October. Signing Doss certainly wouldn't preclude drafting a free safety, but it would make for a bit of a crowd. The Eagles already have Dawkins, incumbent starting strong safety Sean Considine, and veteran backup Quentin Mikell, whom they just brought back from free agency with a 4-year deal. Doss and a draftee would make five safeties, which is a lot. *