NFL Sets Rookie Cap Rates

The controversy over the realistic view of the Vikings' first-round draft selection may become a moot point as the NFL says the Vikes were the No. 9 pick and not the No. 7 pick in the first round of last week's draft.

There has been talk over the past few days concerning how difficult contract negotiations with DT Kevin Williams will be -- is he the seventh pick or the ninth pick? If you believe the media packet sent out by the Vikings following the draft, Williams was the seventh pick. If you believe the NFL, he was the ninth pick.

The league reinforced that position Thursday when VU learned the rookie cap numbers being allocated to each team. The Vikings' rookie total -- for drafted and undrafted free agents -- is $3,703,686. By comparison, the Jaguars (who moved into the seventh pick) have $4,523,643 and the Panthers (who moved into the eighth pick) have $4,125,852.

What does this mean? Seeing as first-round picks are often the last to sign, the Vikings will likely have less money at their disposal to pay Williams -- up front or otherwise. Williams agent Tom Condon may want to claim that both Williams and fellow client Byron Leftwich are both deserving of contracts worthy of the seventh pick, but it looks like he may have to settle for what is available -- or sign early to get Williams a full share of the first-round pie.

* The Vikings will conduct their first off-season developmental camp starting Monday. The full-squad minicamp begins next Friday at Winter Park.
* It's looking more unlikely that WR Chris Walsh will return in a playing capacity this season. If he doesn't receive a free-agent offer from another team, VU has been told he will be offered a coaching position with the Vikes.

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