A year ago at this time, most Vikings fans were shocked to see Red McCombs spending Zygi Wilf's money to make the team an active participant in free agency. That largesse came with a price. On Monday the NFL announced that 32 compensatory picks will be issued, but, as expected, none will come the Vikings' way.
In all, 19 teams will receive some form of compensation. Of the picks, only one will be on the first day -- a third-round pick to the Jets (their only compensatory pick of the draft). Four will be fourth-rounders, five are fifth-rounders, seven are sixth-rounders and 15 will be seventh-rounders at the end of the draft.
The biggest winners were the Ravens and Titans. Baltimore will receive four picks -- a fourth-round selection, a fifth-rounder and two sixth-rounders. The Titans will receive three compensatory picks -- one in the fifth round and two in the seventh.
Compensatory picks are awarded to teams based on a formula that takes into consideration free agents and signed and lost from the previous year. Considering the Vikings' activity in free agency this month, it's almost guaranteed the team won't receive any compensatory picks next year either.
* The Vikings have added themselves as an entry to the on-line internet resource Wikapedia. Under the entry for "poison pill" the Vikings are listed for their contract offer to Steve Hutchinson. Way to raise the bar, guys.
* Although he is the only coach in the NFC North with any tenure with his current team, the Bears' Lovie Smith is the lowest paid coach not only in the division, but in the NFL. With Mike Tice out of the picture, Smith's $1.35 million salary is the lowest in the league and, despite winning a division title in 2005, the Bears aren't hustling to re-work his deal.
* Some rules changes being proposed at the owners meetings include low hits on quarterbacks, but they don't include the one that ended the season for Daunte Culpepper or Carson Palmer. The hit on Culpepper came on a designed draw (that worked to perfection except the season-ending hit), and the Palmer hit was deemed legal. Neither hit earned the defensive players in question a penalty.
* The Chiefs are once again pushing a campaign to increase the number of the playoff teams from 12 to 14.
* A couple of interesting replay rules are going to be discussed. One, being promoted by the Buccaneers, would expand replay to include making penalties subject to review. Another, that should have little chance of passing, would make plays ruled as "down by contact" subject to review. The problem with the latter proposal is that, even if proponents can site two dozen instances (which they do) in which plays were incorrectly called as down by contact, once a whistle blows, players are trained to stop -- thus making anything happening after that point moot. While there may be some support for the first proposed rules change, the second one should be shot down.
* The Vikings may have a tough task opening the season with a win. The team is 0-8 all-time against Joe Gibbs.
* The last time the Vikings played the Redskins was the infamous Randy Moss "take a powder early" game. That incident, in the minds of many, was the straw that broke the camel's back on his career as a Viking.
* The name of former Giants owner Wellington Mara will be adorned on all league footballs during the 2006 season. Mara, who was beloved by many players, earned the respect of friends and foes alike. Perhaps the best tribute to Mara comes from VU's own Bob Lurtsema. While people around Minnesota refer to Red McCombs and Zygmunt Wilf as "Red" and "Zygi" respectively, even a old vet like Lurts refers to Wellington as "Mr. Mara." Why? Because he earned the respect.
* The Seahawks attempted to avoid the current wait-and-see effort to get Nate Burleson. Knowing the compensation for signing him, the team offered the Vikings a third-round pick in exchange for him. The Vikes apparently demanded a second-round pick. As expected, Seattle balked and added their own poison pills to his contract.
* According to a VU source in Seattle, 'Hawks fans are mad at both Hutchinson and the team for him becoming a Viking. Hard cores view Hutchinson as something of a traitor for signing his offer sheet with the Vikings, while pragmatists concede that the cost of putting the franchise tag on him instead of the transition tag would have cost Seattle just $500,000 more this season.
No Compensation Coming Home
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