Kleinsasser Re-Works Contract

The Vikings worked out an agreement with tight end Jim Kleinsasser to take $1.5 million off of the $5.8 million he was due over the next two seasons in order to avoid the team potentially make him a salary-cap casualty.

In the NFL, life is all about adaptation. Jim Kleinsasser has found that out the hard way.

It wasn't that long ago that Kleinsasser was given the franchise tag by the Vikings, who had it on good authority that Joe Gibbs was going to make a strong push for Kleinsasser in the free-agent market. Unlike other teams that have had troubles when they slap the franchise designation on a player, the Vikings and Kleinsasser were able to tear up his franchise tender and agree to a long-term contract that made him one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league.

That, however, was in the Mike Tice Administration. His offense required a tight end to serve as a receiver, an in-line blocker, a H-back hybrid and fullback on short-yardage situations. When Brad Childress installed the West Coast offense, Kleinsasser seemed like a man without a role. The signing of Tony Richardson took away most of his lead-blocking duties and his receptions dwindled to just a handful last year. There was considerable discussion that, barring a re-working of his contract, Kleinsasser could be a salary-cap casualty, especially after the team signed Visanthe Shiancoe to replace Jermaine Wiggins as their top receiving tight end.

The team avoided that eventuality, as he has agreed to take a $1.5 million pay cut over the final two years of his deal. For the 2007 season, his base salary will drop from $2.9 million to $1.9 million and from $2.9 million to $2.4 million in 2008.

It wasn't immediately known if the re-worked contract will include language that will allow Kleinsasser to make some of the money back through performance incentives.

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