Let The In-Fighting Begin

It came up almost immediately after the Vikings fell from seventh to ninth in the NFL draft Saturday. Now, it's been brought up by the agent for DT Kevin Williams -- show me the (No. 7) money.

As the confusion surrounding the Vikings' surprising drop from No. 7 to No. 9 on draft day came to fruition, a Viking Update staffer shaking his head said, "At least Red save $2-3 million in the process."

The thinking was that McCombs got the player he wanted, but with less signing bonus money needed for the No. 9 pick in the draft than the No. 7 selection. However, within a few minutes as the story behind the war room door began to leak out, it became apparent that Kevin Williams' agent likely wouldn't see it that way.

So it was Tuesday when Williams agent Tom Condon used Mike Tice's words against him, quoting Tice as saying the Vikings were going to take Williams at No. 7 and that he deserves a contract that pays him like the No. 7 pick.

This is where it gets dicey. What Tice actually said was that, if no trade was worked out, the Vikings were prepared to take Williams at No. 7, but had talked with Jacksonville and, more specifically, Baltimore because they were convinced he would still be available at No. 10. By selecting him at No. 9, the Vikings' available salary cap money for rookies was determined based on having the No. 9 selection, which won't allow for first-year money to be allocated for a No. 7 pick.

The second problem is the Condon also represents QB Byron Leftwich, who was taken by the Jags with the seventh pick. Obviously, he will be looking for No. 7 money for him as well, which could create an interesting problem in asking for one player to be considered the seventh pick in the draft because that is where he was taken and asking another player to be the seventh pick because that is where he "should" have been taken.

The bottom line is that this could turn into a contentious negotiation and, while an embarrassment at first, could become yet another player holdout.

* The difference between the seventh and ninth picks in the draft is pretty substantial. Last year, Bryant McKinnie was the seventh pick. Of his contract and signing bonus, $9.35 million was guaranteed, his deal averages $2.38 million a year and his first-year cap number was $1.78 million. In contrast, the No. 9 selection, DT John Henderson, got $6.59 million guaranteed, a deal that averages $2.05 million a year and a first-year cap hit of $1.56 million.
* Vikings QB Shaun Hill was named Offensive Player of the Week for NFL Europe after leading the Amsterdam Admirals to a win. Hill completed 25 of 39 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, including a TD pass to former Viking Matthew Hatchette.

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