On Friday, the Detroit Lions signed Ziggy Ansah to a five-year deal. What made that significant is that he was the last of the nine Detroit draft picks to be signed – and technically, we're not even in mid-May.
As a franchise, the Lions don't do a lot of things right. They hired Matt Millen – 'nuff said. But, they may be more ahead of the curve in the latest NFL trend than most. Who would have thought other teams would consider copying a Detroit blueprint? But, in this case, there may be credence.
The Vikings have historically been a franchise that pushes back the signing of rookies until the 11th hour (as in 11:59 for the big-money payouts). However, with the new playing field provided for rookie signings – teams, players and agents know the parameters of their slotting in the pay system – what is the risk of signing players early?
About the only justifiable reason for not signing rookies to contracts early if the off chance an injury that could happen while the player is under contract. It used to be a real concern. Now? Not so much. Even if a player is injured, a contract is supposed to be executed in good faith.
Under the rules of new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is little to no contact allowed up to training camp. But for those rookies who want to get acclimated to their new teams and get a jump-start on their NFL careers, it is unfathomable why more teams … wait for it … don't follow the Detroit blueprint and get them signed.
Once a rookie is signed, if he is what is known as a "gym rat," he can be at the team facility working out and honing his craft from the time his college is out of session until the team kicks him out a couple of weeks before training camp.
The Lions aren't a role model for any organization. They historically implode – the only question is whether it happens in September, October, November, December or, in very rare occasion, January. It's not a matter of if it's going to happen, it's a matter of when.
However, in this instance, the Lions are running ahead of the curve. Other organizations should take note. It was either Friedrich Nietzsche or Larry the Cable Guy who said, "Git 'r' Dun!" The Lions, of all teams, found a way to do just that. Other teams should learn to follow suit.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.
Lions win one thing: getting rookies signed
Viking Update Top Stories
Zimmer returns to practice with eye coveredAs the Minnesota Vikings returned to practice with three players out, head coach Mike Zimmer was back with his surgically repaired right eye covered.
Viking Update9:23 AM
Bridging the gap on bridge costsThe pedestrian bridge connecting light rail to U.S. Bank Stadium is $1 million over budget, but, for once, the Vikings won't have to kick in more money to pay for it.
Viking Update6:20 AM
Vikings try to keep the faithThe Minnesota Vikings are in dire straits with their playoff hopes, but they believe they have the “grit” to win out and make the playoffs.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 12:12 PM
Zimmer returns to work, expected to travelThe Minnesota Vikings got head coach Mike Zimmer back on Monday.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 7:20 AM