A buzz was floating around Saturday that the impasse with Onterrio Smith was going to last if something wasn't resolved quickly. With a knowing nod, VU got the indication it would work out well.
By 11 a.m. Sunday, all fears were put on the back burner. A three-year deal was struck with Smith and the Vikings were at full strength. While Smith wasn't able to participate in the full-squad practice, he was available for the special teams practice Sunday afternoon.
All the tough talk from Mike Tice ended with a hug for Smith. But his road to NFL success didn't get answered when he signed, it just started.
Tice was right when he mentioned how much preparation time Smith has missed by not being at developmental camps. He has something to prove to the coaches and players -- and do it more than once to have a chance to start.
For his part, Smith told VU he is ready to give everything he has to win the starting job and, if he doesn't, will contribute wherever he can -- the right thing to say after a couple of days of being scrutinized.
* Smith's contract is essentially for a three-year minimum, but, if he lives up to the Vikings expecations, that deal could be ripped up after the 2004 season before he can become a restricted free agent.
* There were a couple of mini-brawls Sunday at camp. One between Corey Chavous and Moe Williams took a back seat to that of safety Brian Russell. After laying out rookie Nate Burleson, Russell was himself pancaked by guard Kenny Sandlin -- the offense sending a message that, until there's another team to beat up on, you're the opposition. Tice seemed more pleased than upset by the aggression.
Smith Agrees to 3-Year Deal
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