High Picks Get Heavy Incentives

The Vikings have all their draft picks in camp on time for the first time in five years, and the higher the pick the more incentives they have to earn bigger dollars. We break down some of the money-making incentives.

On the day he was drafted, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said he didn't want to be a holdout and he lived up to that expectation by signing his contract the day the rookies reported to training camp in Mankato.

But there are other expectations for Greenway – and if he reached them all his total contract could be worth as much as $13.6 million. As the 17th pick in the 2006 draft, Greenway signed a five-year contract worth $10.75 million, but with incentives and buyout options for the final year, that value could be pushed higher.

Greenway's $1.035 million signing bonus is just the tip of iceberg. After a minimum base salary of $275,000 in 2006, which is standard with the rookies, Greenway's base numbers for the remaining years are dependant on a potential buyout option in the final year of his contract, but throughout the five years he has incentives for good play, making his getting to camp on time and becoming a starter worth more than just pride.

Greenway will earn $100,000 if he is named Rookie of the Year and will earn $50,000 in any year of the contract if he is named to the Pro Bowl.

He also has playing time and tackle incentives. He will earn $375,000 if he plays 60 percent of the snaps and makes 60 tackles; $412,000 if he plays 65 percent of the snaps and makes 80 tackles; $500,000 if he plays 70 percent of the snaps and makes 90 tackles and $625,000 if he plays 75 percent of the snaps and makes 100 tackles.

Second-round picks have fewer incentives in their contracts, and the Vikings had three second-round picks.

Cornerback Cedric Griffin, the 48th overall selection, received a $1.3 million signing bonus with minimum base salaries of $275,000, $360,000, $445,000 and $530,000 in his four-year contract. He could also earn an additional $320,000 if he reaches minimum playing time incentives.

Offensive lineman Ryan Cook, the 51st overall selection, got a $1.2 million signing bonus and minimum base salaries in his four-year deal. Cook can earn an additional $306,385 for reaching minimum playing time incentives.

The Vikings' final second-round pick, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, was also the final rookie to sign with the team. As the 64th overall selection in the 2006 draft, Jackson received a signing bonus of $820,000 and minimum base salaries throughout the four years. He also could earn an additional $255,000 with minimum playing time incentives.

The Vikings used 99.95 percent of their league-allotted rookie salary pool money in order to get all their picks into camp on time, giving them the best chance to reach their incentives.

NOTES

  • For now, Cook is expected to concentrate on center, but he could see some practice time at right tackle later in camp, according to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

  • While the Vikings have two very capable tight ends in Jermaine Wiggins and Jim Kleinsasser, it isn't certain exactly how they will be used in the team's new West Coast offense that Brad Childress brings with him from Philadelphia to Minnesota. Eagles new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Saturday that there are multiple ways to use tight ends in this offense. "There are endless ways to put heat on the defense, and that's one way you can do it – put two athletic tight ends that are good blockers on the line of scrimmage. Look, you can't just put them in there and throw the football. People will go nickel on you; we had that happen before. So, you have to be able to run the football a little bit with those two in there. But I'll tell you what, it does put heat on there. It goes back to the Green Bay days with (tight end Mark) Chmura and Keith Jackson. In San Fran, we had a couple different combinations with the great Brent Jones and Greg Clark, and then Greg Clark and Eric Smith – they are two real good combinations there. It puts heat on them. How are they going to match up? Are they going to play man to man on those two? You got to go through all their things, all their checks, and so it put a little heat on you."

  • A season-ending knee injury to offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley, the Cleveland Browns' prize of free agency, has former Viking Nat Dorsey seeing some time at left tackle as the Browns have shuffled their line in order to compensate for the loss of Bentley. Dorsey was traded from the Vikings to the Browns last year in exchange for center Melvin Fowler, who started nine games at center last year after the Vikings lost Pro Bowl center Matt Birk for the season with a hip injury. With the return of Birk, Fowler wanted a starting job and signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills.


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