As the clock ticks down to the start of training camp, the Minnesota Vikings are left with two more draft choices to get under contract -- second-round draft selection E.J. Henderson, a linebacker from Maryland that is expected to backup veteran Greg Biekert this season, and fourth-round pick running back Onterrio Smith from Oregon.
The surprise was getting first-round selection Kevin Williams under contract before the remaining picks had agreed to terms.
While the Williams deal was a fairly smooth transaction, the same cannot be said for the Henderson and Smith negotiations. Not that talks have been difficult, but the issue that pertains to both players is the length of the contract, language, and a slight difference in the dollar value.
This column has learned that discussions with the team are ongoing and representatives for both players are somewhat reluctant but optimistic that a deal will be reached in time for the players to report to camp with the veterans by 5 p.m. today.
"I am guardedly optimistic that we will have a deal completed before camp starts," one of the player representatives said. "We are very close on finalizing the deal. Most of the issues are complete. We have sent a proposal back on a couple minor points. That should basically clear the slate for my client."
A deal is only a stroke of the pen away, and the impression is that the ink will be dry on the contract in time for the beginning of Vikings training camp.
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