What Does Kleinsasser's Deal Indicate?

The Vikings and Jim Kleinsasser got a deal done. Is that an indicator that the Vikings are ready to be a real player in the free-agent market or just a real willingness on the part of the player to stay in Minnesota?

Keeping one of your own at home is always a good feeling. In an era when players change their zip code often, the Vikings have accomplished a feat which was not expected only a few short days ago.

Tight end Jim Kleinsasser and the Vikings have agreed to terms on a new five-year contract worth a reported $15 million, including a $4.25 million signing bonus. The deal keeps the highly sought after and important member of the Minnesota offense from hitting the free agent market.

Expected to garner significant interest from the Washington Redskins, Kleinsasser was true to his word to the Vikings. Wanting to remain in Minnesota, Kleinsasser's representatives and the Vikings' front office had been in serious negotiations over the past week.

Vikings head coach Mike Tice had noted on numerous occasions he would like to re-sign Kleinsasser but was only guardedly optimistic heading into the days leading up to the free agent signing period.

On the eve of free agency, the Vikings have now secured a player the team had absolutely no desire to lose.

"We are excited we were able to sign our number one in-house priority free agent," Tice said in a press release. "We're pleased to kick off free agency on the right foot. Jimmy is a key part of our ranking number one in offense last season, and we look forward to his long career as a Viking."

Kleinsasser played an instrumental role in getting this deal done with the Vikings prior to the start of free agency.

"It was the desire of Jimmy (Kleinsasser) and the Minnesota Vikings that got this deal done," Kleinsasser's representative, Jimmy Sexton, said. "Talks picked up over the past week and we're pleased that Jimmy will remain where he wanted to play."

If the hours leading up to the free-agent player signing period are any indicator, just maybe the Vikings are going to be a serious player in the free agent market.

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