Vikes Signs 4-Year Mankato Deal

The Vikings completed the groundwork set a couple of months ago by signing a contract to keep their training camp headquarters in Mankato.

The Vikings agreed in principle to continue to run training camp out of Mankato two months ago. Thursday, ink went to paper as the Vikings and city officials signed a four-year agreement.

At one point, it looked like Mankato might not get the chance to host its 40th training camp. Amid talks that the Vikings were losing up to $1 million a year by keeping training camp in the southern Minnesota town, other offers began coming in.

Listening to the other offers, especially from one outside of Minnesota, had a backlash effect. Legislators turned on the Vikings and the talk of taking training camp out of state died quickly and the Vikings and Mankato city officials quickly hammered out an agreement.

The contract calls for the city to make improvements and offer more revenue-generating events so the Vikings can recoup some of their expenses.

The contract is a four-year deal, but the Vikings have an escape clause after one year. However, that is viewed as an unlikely scenario, since the incentives given to the city are fully expected to be met that would preclude breaking the contract.

* Look for first-round pick Kenechi Udeze to get about a $5 million signing bonus with his new contract -- roughly half of what the Vikings paid Bryant McKinnie two years ago when sitting at No. 7 overall.
* If the Vikings aren't active in the post-June 1 phase of free agency, don't be surprised if the team uses its approximately $13 million in available cap room and make Udeze's signing bonus a roster bonus much like Antoine Winfield. In that case, the entire bonus would go off the books after the 2004 season, as opposed to being spread out for the length of the contract.
* The Vikings drafted Ohio State's Darrion Scott, who now has a lot of teammates trying to make their grade in the NFL. A total of 14 Buckeye players were drafted last weekend.
* Coach Mike Tice is out of town this weekend. As is his custom, he's attending the Kentucky Derby and giving thanks to the horse racing buddy who set up the private plane to bring Winfield to Minnesota.

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