Word out of Carolina is that the Panthers weren't happy about losing TE Jermaine Wiggins to the Vikings and it may have had an impact on a Wednesday signing.

Do you believe in payback? According to a VU source in Carolina, the Panthers do. Yesterday, the Panthers signed linebacker Brandon Short -- a player being targeted by the Vikings -- to a three-year, $4.5 million contract with a $1.5 million signing bonus.

While that in itself isn't huge news, the background to the story is interesting. VU has been told that the Panthers are still a little upset that TE Jermaine Wiggins rejected a longer deal worth more money from the Panthers to come to the Vikings, where he believes he can have a more expanded role in the offense.

As a result, when the Panthers learned the Vikings were trying to contact Short's agent for a visit this week, the Panthers stepped up their offer. In the end, Short's agent never returned the Vikings calls and the Panthers got the deal done -- leaving the Vikings out in the cold.

* Speaking of payback, the Jets are no fans of the Vikings after the Vikes whisked Antoine Winfield away from signing what the Jets thought was a done deal to bring him here. Not only did the Vikes get Marcus Robinson to cancel a visit to the Jets by increasing their contract offer, but now it looks like the Cottrell hand has struck again. The Vikings are now looking at restricted free agent Kenyatta Wright of the Jets, who played for Cottrell both with the Jets and the Bills. with Winfield, Steve Martin and Tyrone Carter all with experience under Cottrell, you get the feeling he's wielding considerable power behind the scenes as it pertains to snatching up free agents.

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