Falcons Signing to Affect Vikes?

The Atlanta Falcons agreed in principle to a deal with defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson Wednesday, a deal that represents a significant jump from the contract signed by eighth overall pick Donte Whitner in 2006 -- almost a 14 percent jump. How will that impact the Vikings? You can bet Adrian Peterson's asking price just went up.

The Vikings may have got a bit of bad news late last night when the Falcons announced the signing of eighth pick Jamaal Anderson by the Falcons.

Anderson, slotted directly behind the Vikings and Adrian Peterson, agreed to an incentive-laden deal that calls for up to $31 million over five years and $15.36 million in guaranteed money. His contract represents better than a 13 percent increase from the deal signed by Donte Whitner at the eight spot last year. That could be bad news for the Vikings if the Peterson and his agent are looking for a similar increase from the No. 7 spot.

Why? Because the No. 7 pick a year ago – safety Michael Huff of the Raiders – signed a six-year deal worth up to $43 million. The additional year was a club option, but his deal was loaded with contract incentives of up to $20 million and $15 million in guaranteed money.

While much of the $43 million was put in the final year (team option) that will never be realized, the asking price for Peterson likely just took a significant spike over what it might have been had Peterson signed first. Typically, the slotted price for a player goes up about 5 percent from one year to the next, but thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement that shot the salary cap to $109 million this year, the Vikings may well be looking at a deal that may call for Peterson to get in the neighborhood of $33-34 million and $17 million in guarantees over five years (or more over six years).

The biggest problem that the Vikings may face is whether to press the issue on either Anderson's or Huff's contracts. Both deals were loaded with incentives that don't necessarily translate to an offensive skill-position player and, for fans with a memory of such issues, they will remember that the Vikings had a similar malaise when it came to signing offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.

The team ran into a similar issue when McKinnie was drafted – a bizarre contract from the previous year's seventh pick and incentives being a big component of the eighth pick's deal. Red McCombs, who owned the Vikings at the time, dug in his heels and began talking about final offers and the potential that offers would be reduced from that point on. McKinnie and his agent never blinked and his holdout last until past midseason of his rookie year.

While the Wilf family isn't expected to draw a similar line in the sand, but thanks to the Falcons, the price of signing Peterson just went up and teams may be waiting for another domino to fall before signing their own rookies. Considering the big jump in salary for the No. 8 spot, agents may not be so quick to want to get a deal done either – making a bad situation potentially worse.

There likely is still confidence out of Winter Park that a deal with Peterson will get done soon – even though it is generally agreed that, barring an 11th hour negotiation miracle, he won't be on the field in time for the official start of training camp practices tomorrow. This new monkey wrench in the plans may push that timetable back somewhat.


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