Notebook: Vikings' rookie signings slotted

The Vikings could have started signing their rookie draft picks on Tuesday, but as of Thursday night they didn't have any of them signed. In years past that may have been a concern, but the rules of the game have changed with the new collective bargaining agreement. Friday will also be a day that several veteran players get paid their bonuses.

One of the many changes to the CBA is the rookie wage scale, even though the NFL Players Association isn't calling it a rookie wage scale. Looking at the parameters of the rookie signings and slotting, however, it's hard not to call it a wage scale.

Several teams around the league have signed several of their draft picks, and some have even completed signing all of their draft picks. How can they be done so quickly? Easy, really, because there is little room for negotiation – and the signings so far bear that out.

In the rookie compensation pool, the Vikings have $5,990,486 to spend on their rookies this year and have to spend at least $5,021,180 on them, according to a league source. The total contract values for their 10-player draft class over the four years of their contracts can't exceed $32,947,673.

Here is what to look for in the contracts of the Vikings' draft picks, which are expected to be signed over the next few days:

Christian Ponder, QB, first round – As a first-rounder, he will sign a four-year contract that should have a fifth-year option for the team that would be in line with the top-paid players at his position. His deal will likely be worth about $10.1 million, with between $1.2 million and $1.8 million in the first year. While first-round draft picks this year are receiving only about half of what the 2010 crop got, a new twist is that many of this year's top picks are getting their deals fully guaranteed, making signing bonuses irrelevant. Ponder was the 12th overall pick and fellow quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who was drafted 10th overall by the Jaguars, got a $12 million deal that was fully guaranteed.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, second round – Rudolph's four-year deal should be about $4.6 million with a signing bonus around $1.8 million.

Christian Ballard, DT, fourth round – With no third-round pick, the Vikings' only fourth-rounder should get a deal around $2.7 million with a first-year value around $480,000.

Brandon Burton, CB, fifth round – As a fifth-rounder, Burton's deal should be worth about $2.3 million with a bonus around $140,000.

DeMarcus Love, OT, sixth round – Love will make about $2.23 million on his four-year deal. The Vikings have three sixth-round picks close to each other, and they are likely to get signing bonuses close to $100,000.

Mistral Raymond, S, sixth round – Just two picks after Love, Raymond will sign for about $2.22 million.

Brandon Fusco, C, sixth round – Just two more picks later, at No. 172 overall, Fusco can expect a contract around $2.21 million over the four-year deal.

Ross Homan, LB, sixth round – A sixth-round compensatory pick, Homan should sign for about $2.1 million over the four-year contract with a bonus of around $60,000.

D'Audre Reed, DE, seventh round – Reed is the first of two seventh-round picks, and both of them can expect their four-year deals to total about $2.1 as well.

Stephen Burton, WR, seventh round – Burton's total contract value should be close to Reed's, and their signing bonuses will likely be around $50,000, based off rookies that have already signed.

  • In the past, late-round draft choices have been able to somewhat make up for lower salaries if they contribute heavily to a team because of the league's performance-based pay system. However, the up-and-coming players could be hurt some, as the performance-based pay will be eliminated. In the past, players who contributed well beyond the league average for their salary scale were awarded a percentage of that fund.

  • While teams began the purge of high-paid, underperforming players on Thursday, free agents can officially move to other teams at 5 p.m. Central Friday. However, those players can't practice until the CBA is ratified, which is expected to take place on Aug. 4.

  • Signed rookies can participate in practice immediately and will have protection if injured.

  • Friday is also a day that will see some existing players get paid. Workout bonuses that were missed because of the lockout will be paid to players as roster bonuses. If a player was waived before the start of the new league year on Friday, he will be paid in full if that bonus was less than $50,000; he will get $50,000 if it's between $50,000 and $100,000; and he will be paid 50 percent of the bonus if it's over $100,000. That means that safety Madieu Williams, released on Thursday, will receive half of his $100,000 workout bonus.

  • Any roster and option bonuses that were supposed to be earned during the lockout also will be paid on Friday.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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  • In the past, late-round draft choices have been able to somewhat make up for lower salaries if they contribute heavily to a team because of the league's performance-based pay system. However, the up-and-coming players could be hurt some, as the performance-based pay will be eliminated. In the past, players who contributed well beyond the league average for their salary scale were awarded a percentage of that fund.
  • While teams began the purge of high-paid, underperforming players on Thursday, free agents can officially move to other teams at 5 p.m. Central Friday. However, those players can't practice until the CBA is ratified, which is expected to take place on Aug. 4.
  • Signed rookies can participate in practice immediately and will have protection if injured.
  • Friday is also a day that will see some existing players get paid. Workout bonuses that were missed because of the lockout will be paid to players as roster bonuses. If a player was waived before the start of the new league year on Friday, he will be paid in full if that bonus was less than $50,000; he will get $50,000 if it's between $50,000 and $100,000; and he will be paid 50 percent of the bonus if it's over $100,000. That means that safety Madieu Williams, released on Thursday, will receive half of his $100,000 workout bonus.
  • Any roster and option bonuses that were supposed to be earned during the lockout also will be paid on Friday.
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