The Vikings have signed seven of their 10 draft choices, leaving there three picks in the first three rounds left to sign.
They officially signed fourth-round receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, both of Arkansas, defensive back Robert Blanton (Notre Dame), kicker Blair Walsh (Georgia), linebacker Audie Cole and defensive lineman Trevor Guyton. The Pioneer Press also reported that Rhett Ellison had signed his deal late Tuesday afternoon.
All were signed to four-year contracts. As per NFL rules under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, players selected in rounds two through seven must sign four-year deals. First-round picks can have a club-option fifth year added to their contract.
The contract news started rolling in late morning Tuesday when Guyton, a seventh-round pick and the team's final pick of the draft (219th overall) announced on Twitter that he signed his rookie contract and even tweeted a picture of the pen he used to sign it.
"Officially a Minnesota viking on paper!" he posted on his Twitter page.
Within a couple of hours, the signing of Blanton was confirmed by his agent, Jason Bernstein, and the Vikings announced shortly thereafter that four other picks had been signed.
Blanton, who played mostly cornerback at Notre Dame but is expected to contend for a starting job at safety, was with the first-team defense alongside fellow Notre Dame rookie safety Harrison Smith during rookie minicamp and could continue to push Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond for the starting job next to Smith.
Guyton and Cole, the seventh-round defenders, could contend for rotational roles on the defensive line and at linebacker, respectively.
Walsh, the team's long sixth-round pick, instilled enough confidence in Vikings decision-makers at the team's rookie minicamp that they elected to release 13-year veteran kicker Ryan Longwell before he even had a chance to compete with Walsh in organized team activities or minicamp.
Childs could push for significant playing time as a big-bodied (6-foot-3, 217 pounds) outside receiver and Wright is expected to offer a more versatile role as a slot receiver that can also play other receiving positions, as well as return punts.
Ellison, who was drafted in between Wright and Childs in the fourth round, is expected to pick up some playing time as a blocking tight end that can also catch the ball. According to the Pioneer Press, Ellison's deal was for $2.4 million over four years, including a $300,000 signing bonus.
The leaves first-round tackle Matt Kalil (fourth overall) and first-round safety Smith (29th overall), along with third-round cornerback Josh Robinson, left to sign.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Vikings sign seven picks, three remain
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