Signings to Come Soon

The Vikings are less than three weeks away from the start of training camp, yet have none of their 2006 draft picks signed yet. This has become an annual game of cat and mouse that the Vikings have been willing to play.

When it comes to signing draft picks, teams have different strategies. The Bears, for example, have signed all of their draft picks, while the Vikings have yet to sign any. But this isn't unusual for the Vikings.

Increasingly, teams around the NFL have gone to the negotiating table later and later with many, if not all, of their draft picks. Despite the slotting of picks pretty much assuring how much a given draftee will be paid, teams have waited until the 11th hour to make signings.

First-round pick Chad Greenway has been steadfast in saying that he won't be a holdout, but contract talks have been preliminary at best in attempts to get him signed. The same is true for the other five Vikings draft picks.

There is little doubt that the Vikings will have their picks signed before training camp opens at the end of the month. But the bigger question may be why there is a holdup to begin with? Both sides need the other to be a success and there has been little reason to believe that deals can't be done.

Increasingly more and more players, especially first-round picks, aren't signed until the final days or hours before training camps open. With a multi-billion-dollar business, it's hard to believe that a signing bonus that is a known commodity becomes a sticking point. What the difference in paying it in June or May as opposed to being paid in July?

Expect to see the Vikings start making draft signings as early as this week, but not get everybody signed and delivered until shortly before the first whistle blows in Mankato. It doesn't need to be this way, but it usually is. Go figure.

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