Source: Vikings Failed With George

A league source says the Vikings were very close to signing Jeff George and thinks it was a mistake that the team failed in those negotiations.

Less money in the NFL means everything. Dollars and cents, not sense, was the determining factor in the signing of Gus Frerotte as the latest Minnesota Vikings backup quarterback.

Essentially, very similar offers were made to Frerotte and former Minnesota signal-caller Jeff George. George entered into the quarterback derby late last week and had very open and candid discussions with the team. Appearing poised to be a backup to starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the deal with George appeared to be all but signed, according to a source close to the player.

"All parties involved thought that George would be returning to Minnesota," the source said. "Minnesota had indicated that they wanted him to play there and were pretty descriptive in what they were looking for. The money issues seemed workable, then suddenly Jeff was out of the picture."

Being out of the picture was an understatement. Frerotte and the Vikings agreed to a contract Wednesday that will pay the veteran quarterback an undisclosed, but minimal salary. For George, his salary expectations were higher than those of Frerotte, but not out of line in terms of value, according to a league source.

"Major mistake by the Vikings today. Say what you want about Jeff George, he is not the ego-manic and hard-headed player that many believed him to be many years ago," the source said. "If there was one place that he was a perfect fit, it was Minnesota. He knows the organization, he is efficient in that type of offensive scheme and he really was ready to be a mentor to (Daunte) Culpepper.

"To save a few hundred thousand dollars, this deal isn't really a deal for Minnesota. Lets see how they fare if Culpepper goes down and Frerotte is called upon to lead the team. It won't be pretty, he doesn't have anything left in the tank."

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