Rookies Start Signing Frenzy

The Vikes are still a couple of weeks away from signing Bryant McKinnie -- first-round picks don't fall into line until the 11th hour -- but the flurry of rookie signings has begun.

Sad realities are sad realities. One of them is that, because billionaire owners are willing to part with money only when they have to, the finalization of rookie contracts is delayed as much as possible.

Most teams wait to see what a comparable player signs for before cutting a deal with their own rookies and the Vikes are no exception. But, seeing as this is July and we are three weeks away from players coming into training camp, the flurry has begun -- yet not including the Vikings.

On Wednesday alone, the Bills, Colts, Panthers, Seahawks and Rams announced rookie signings. While the Vikings aren't expected to join the ranks until next week, the sign is clear -- the rookies are starting to accept contracts, so it's time for everyone to get involved.

As has become standard practice, expect to see the Vikings get involved next week -- starting with the later-round picks and working their way up. Don't be shocked to see first-round pick Bryant McKinnie remain unsigned until the final hours before the Vikes enter training camp. For the rest of the picks, the clock has started.

As always, VU will monitor the progress of the signings, which will start early next week. Until then, don't panic. We're being told all picks will be signed and in camp when it officially begins.

* Former Viking Rich Gannon may sign a contract extension as early as this weekend. Gannon, who married the daughter of former Viking great Bill Brown, is looking to give the Raiders some additional cap room this year. By this time next year, the Raiders will be very different, since projections have the team $50 million over the salary cap.
* The Sporting News released its fantasy football guide this week and, despite what their writers may say about the Vikings, they made sure to take Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper in the first round of their fantasy draft. The only teams to have two first-rounders were the Rams (Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner) and the 49ers (Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens). This should be seen as a good sign for Vikes fans, since, even though the team is being bad-mouthed around the national circuit, when push comes to shove, they still believe in the Vikes offense.
* All of us at VU would like to wish all of you a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend. As for Osama bin-Laden, set off the fireworks in your cave, pally. We're moving on.

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