As it turned out, the Vikings attempted to prevent exactly what the Bears tried to pull off. In the offer sheet for Bates, the Vikings put in a clause that kicked in a $550,000 roster bonus the third business day after it took effect, which would have been Friday. Secondly, the Vikings added a no-trade stipulation in the deal that was in effect for five days, meaning Chicago couldn't match the offer and trade Bates away before the cap-related bonus kicked in.
Instead, the Bears simply released Bates and, if he clears waivers, he can now sign for any team at any price.
If Bates eventually winds up with the Vikings, he's likely to find himself in a much better situation than had he stayed in Chicago. Ahead of Bates on the depth chart were Marty Booker, David Terrell and Dez White, in addition to Marcus Robinson when he is completely recovered from last season's torn ACL and LCL in his left knee.
In Minnesota, Bates could wind up as the No. 3 or even No. 2 receiver behind Randy Moss, since the Vikings have lost Cris Carter and Jake Reed in the off-season.