Dale Carter became the third player in a little more than a week to leave the Vikings for greener (as in money) pastures, agreeing in principle to a contract with the New Orleans Saints.
VU has received some conflicting information on the deal -- one saying it is a five-year contract and another saying it's a seven-year deal. However, in reality, it is much more likely to be a two-year contract.
The deal is apparently structured as a seven-year, $30 million package, but, given Carter's recent history with violations of the league's substance abuse policy, his $3 million signing bonus is being tiered over a three-year span of $1 million a season for the first three years of the contract.
The purpose of this is, in the event of a recurrance of his problems, the Saints wouldn't be on the hook for the full amount of payment to be made, but, with the deal structured as a seven-year contract, the pro-rated portion of the signing bonus will be $425,000 a year until the point he either restructures his contract or is released.
Taking a page from the Vikings, the Saints will also bring back Carter's brother Jake Reed -- who was released last spring by the Saints, who at the time said he could no longer be a top receiver in the NFL. However, it is believed Reed can be a positive influence on Carter and keep him in line.
Reed is expected to sign a one-year, $750,000 contract today as well.
* The Cris Carter saga continues. VU has been told the Cleveland Browns no longer have an interest in Carter. Following his confusion over the size of the offer the Browns made to him, he tried to mend fences with the Rams, saying there was "no comparison" between a team like the Rams and the Browns. This angered Browns management to the point that they are looking beyond Carter and saying a deal that seemed certain is now dead. General Manager Dwight Clark said he expects Carter and the Rams to eventually "kiss and make up."
* The Vikings continued talks with LB Henri Crockett Monday, but a new wrinkle entered the negotiations. After meeting with Bernardo Harris, the Vikings said they would sign the first one of them willing to make a deal -- an obvious ploy to get the talks progressing faster.
* Along with several defensive linemen brought in by the Vikings to attempt to fill a pass rusher role, Darrius Holland (Cleveland) was another player brought to Winter Park Monday.
* In a strange twist, Gary Anderson served as a consultant to the kicker tryout conducted Monday by the Vikings at the Metrodome. While Anderson is a free agent, he is hoping to get another shot with the Vikings and, if Cory Withrow can handle long snapping duties, the Vikings may look to sign a kickoff specialist and bring Anderson back for another season.
* The Vikings signed Robert Tate to a new three-year contract with base salaries of $525,000 this season, $656,000 in 2003 and $660,000 in 2004. Tate had been left unprotected by the Vikings in the expansion draft.
* Chris Walsh signed a new one-year contract as well, his calling for $650,000 this season.
* The contract signed by Kenny Mixon last week was groundbreaking for the Vikings, since it was the largest contract ever signed by a free agent brought in from another team. The last big contract signed by a player from another franchise was back in 1996 when the Vikings signed LB Dixon Edwards from Dallas to a four-year, $10 million contract.
* Former Vikings DE Stalin Colinet has returned to the NFL, signing contract with the Jaguars Monday.
Carter, Reed Both to Sign With Saints
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