Vikings Negotiations to Take Place in Indy

The Vikings will be negotiating with at least one of their potential free agents in the next few days.

Willie Offord has been medically cleared, expect for full contact, after visiting with Dr. James Andrews earlier this week following months of rehabilitation from a torn ACL, and Offord's agent, David Canter, said he will be meeting with Vikings officials in the next few days to gauge their true interest in re-signing the strong safety and special teams captain.

Offord will be cleared for full contact for either Brad Childress' first minicamp three weeks before the draft or the minicamp after the April 29-30 draft.

"Physically, he's doing great," Canter said.

Canter said he has already had "very preliminary" discussions with Vikings capologist Rob Brzezinski and expects to meet with him here in Indianapolis within the next few days.

"The question you have to weigh as his agent is this: The safety market being what it is—it's weak, there are maybe two guys that are legit—how do teams view Willie Offord?" Canter said. "If teams view him as a starter or competing for a starting job, what's the going rate coming off (a torn) ACL?"

However, the Vikings will have until March 3 to retain exclusive negotiating rights with Offord. He might have to settle for a one-year contract coming off of ACL surgery, but a veteran minimum offer won't do it unless there is a decent signing bonus attached to it.

"I'm known in the industry as a guy that's willing to get creative to get a deal done. If I think it's good for Willie … I just want it to be interesting because it's a tough decision," Canter said.

Offord injured his knee after his first start of the season on Sept. 25, filling in for an injured Darren Sharper. He had also played in their first two games as the special teams captain.

"He's comfortable in Minnesota and he loves Minnesota. Willie's optimistic and Willie feels great," Canter said.

"The issue is: Do the Vikings fear losing him, which I think they do. I think Willie is the kind of guy that a lot of teams think they could get for relatively inexpensive because he's coming off a torn ACL. The market is not a fair judge of what he could get if he was completely healthy. The Vikings may have that same mentality, that this is a guy they have to lock up because he's their special teams captain, he a veteran leader, he's a quiet, unassuming guy who doesn't expect the high profile and who's happy in his role and who could be the starter."

Asked if he thought the Vikings' feeling on Offord has changed with a new coaching staff, he said, "I get the feeling that they like him even more."

  • Canter thinks that a Collective Bargaining Agreement will get done because he doesn't believe that anyone wants to see the "golden goose" go away, saying a lack of a collective bargaining agreement has been devastating to other sports, as well as the NFL, in the past.

    "Last year, people were saying, ‘Wow, these first-round picks are never getting (signed). It's the hardest deal in the history of the business, but somehow they all got done," he said.

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