Slotted Picks Filling In

The Vikings aren't the only team cutting it close when trying to get their final draft pick signed and ready for training camp before it begins. Numerous high-round draft picks around the league are still unsigned. However, there are some picks signed who were drafted somewhat near the Vikings' lone unsigned rookie, linebacker Chad Greenway. We look to those signings as our guide.

How slow are negotiations with high-round draft picks around the NFL? Only four teams have their rookies reporting later than the Vikings' first day of rookie practices on Friday, but the majority of teams still don't have their first-round picks signed.

Only five first-round draft picks – Houston's Mario Williams (No. 1 overall), the New York Jets' D'Brickashaw Ferguson (No. 4), Oakland's Michael Huff (No. 7), Cleveland's Kamerion Wimbley (No. 13) and San Diego's Antonio Cromartie (No. 19) – came to terms with their respective teams before Thursday.

For the Vikings, Cromartie's signing may be the most important since he was the 19th pick overall and Chad Greenway was the Vikings' first-round selection at No. 17. Cromartie reportedly signed a five-year deal worth $12.75 million with $7.35 in guaranteed money.

A five-year deal is the maximum length for picks 17 through 32 this year, and some first-round players may try to have their final year become an option year in order to reach free agency – and therefore the higher dollars for the better players – sooner.

Wimbley, chosen at No. 13 overall, signed a six-year deal (as allowed for the first 16 picks) worth as much as $23.7 million, but the sixth year of his contract is a buy-back year, which means if he reaches certain incentives he can opt out of the sixth year but the team could purchase it back for more. His deal reportedly includes $9.3 million in guarantees.

Greenway's deal, whenever it gets done, should more closely mirror Cromartie's five-year contract, presumably with a bit more guaranteed money. It cannot be a six-year deal, according to the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.

Greenway has agreed to the basic structure of a contract and could sign his deal Thursday morning, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The Vikings' last of three second-round picks, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, came to terms with the team Thursday. Nineteen of the 32 second-round picks have agreed to terms, including the Vikings' Cedric Griffin (No. 48 overall) and Ryan Cook (No. 51 overall).

Jackson, the 64th overall selection and the last pick of the second round, didn't have a second-round pick close to him that was signed when he agreed to terms Thursday. Beyond being a four-year deal, terms of his contract were not available. As the 32nd pick in the round, the closest pick in the same round that is now signed is Jacksonville's Maurice Drew, the 28th pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. His four-year deal is worth a reported $2.8 million. Chicago's Devin Hester, chosen 25th in the second round, was signed before Jackson and reportedly has a four-year deal worth as much as $2.86 million with $1.25 million in bonus money.

Right below Jackson, however, in the third round, are Charles Spencer and Eric Winston, both of whom are signed with Houston. Spencer signed a four-year deal worth $2.22 million with $610,000 in bonuses while Winston signed a four-year, $2.218 million contract with $608,000 in bonuses, according to

  • Jackson is expected to be one of three quarterbacks in practice Friday. Brad Johnson is the only quarterback who is not expected to be part of the "rookies and select veterans" practicing Friday.

  • Rookie wide receiver Hank Baskett, who was traded from the Vikings to the Philadelphia Eagles in May, ran with the second-team offense during the Wednesday morning session with the Eagles due to the injuries to No. 2 WR Todd Pinkston (Achilles) and rookie WR Jason Avant (knee). Veteran WR Jabar Gaffney worked in Pinkston's slot. Still, Gaffney is destined to play inside once Pinkston is healthy. The Vikings received veteran wide receiver and former third-round draft pick Billy McMullen in exchange for Baskett, who signed with the Vikings in late April as an undrafted free agent. "I think Hank Baskett has been doing a wonderful job right now," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said Wednesday. "Obviously he's a guy that not a lot of people would know much about, but he's definitely opened up a lot of eyes with the things he can do in this offense. He's a bigger receiver, a guy that runs great routes and can catch the ball. So, he's definitely going to help us in so many ways with depth right now at our wide receiver position."

  • According to our Rams affiliate,, former Vikings running back Moe Williams is still "on the radar" of head coach Scott Linehan in St. Louis. With Marshall Faulk's 2006 season, and possibly career, over, the Rams are looking for more depth in their offensive backfield. Trading for former Viking and current New Orleans Saints running back Michael Bennett is another possibility for the Rams, but the Saints have been reluctant to part with Bennett until rookie running back Reggie Bush signs, and Bush has been threatening to hold out the entire season if he doesn't reach contract terms to his liking.

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