Sign of the Times

A couple of weeks ago, VU quizzed Vikings guard Anthony Herrera about a potential contract extension being worked out this season before he could become a free agent. At the time, Herrera said there was no real headway in any negotiations. Two weeks later, he becomes the latest in a growing list of Vikings veterans who have been secured to long-term contracts at key positions.

The signing of Anthony Herrera to a five-year contract extension Wednesday is just the latest in a growing list of Vikings that have been locked down long-term as the Vikings prepare for bigger and better things to come in the future.

While everyone can point to quarterback as a clear trouble spot for the Vikings, there are many areas that the Vikings appear to be set for the short- and long-term (by NFL standards anyway). With the Herrera contract extension, the Vikings have four of their five offensive linemen locked down to long-term deals with Herrera, Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson signed through 2010. At running back, both Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor and under contract for the long haul. On the defensive side of the ball, contract extensions given to Kevin Williams, Pat Williams and E.J. Henderson have guaranteed that the Vikings will have their core defensive stars in place for the near future. Even the special teams have been solidified, as kicker Ryan Longwell, punter Chris Kluwe and long snapper Cullen Loeffler are all holders of long-term contracts.

While the Vikings still have some serious issues at positions like quarterback and wide receiver and the safety position is currently being manned by veterans whose contract don't run beyond 2008, the team has set the groundwork to have many of its most critical positions and top players signed, sealed and delivered for the long haul. Whether the Vikings are successful the rest of the way in 2007 can be the subject of debate, but it is hard to argue that the team has made a point to assure themselves that the majority of their component parts are going remain in place for years to come. That is how you build a Super Bowl contender. If the Vikings can plug a few leaks in free agency and/or the draft, the franchise will be on solid footing for years to come and will make the ascent back to the upper tier of NFC teams.

* It was a welcome sight Wednesday as the Vikings saw Adrian Peterson back on the practice field. Wearing a knee brace on his on his right knee, A.P. participated in some individual drills, but didn't take part in any team drills at practice.
* The first Vikings injury report of the week lists Peterson (knee) as limited along with with safety Eric Frampton (groin). Two Vikings – Antoine Winfield (hamstring) and Tony Richardson (knee) – did not practice.
* The Giants had three key players who didn't practice Wednesday – WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and safety Gibril Wilson (knee). Running back Derrick Ward (ankle, groin) practiced on just a limited basis.
* There seems to be a growing concern that both Jacobs and Ward will miss Sunday's game, which would push veteran Reuben Droughns into the starting lineup.
* The Packers can all but lock up the NFC North with a win today over the Lions. However, if Detroit wins, the division title is far less certain. The Lions currently trail the Packers by three games in the division, but this will be their first meeting and the Lions could still control much of their own fate with a win.
* The Rams released former Vikings wide receiver receiver Travis Taylor Wednesday. Taylor, who became a free agent this spring, was signed by the Raiders but released earlier this year.
* The Vikings might be interested in making a deal for Cardinals wide receiver and hometown hero Larry Fitzgerald in the offseason, and the Cards' willingness to trade him might be much deeper than most fans realize. Because of the rookie contract he signed, if Fitzgerald reaches very achievable playing incentives, his 2008 contract with Arizona could be as much as $14 million, a price the Cardinals might find too steep.
* You have to feel a little sorry for Chris Hovan. The former Vikings defensive tackle got what he thought was his first career interception Sunday against the Falcons. But, after a review, a called interception on Byron Leftwich was changed to a sack and forced fumble by Gaines Adams and Hovan was credited with a fumble recovery, not an interception. Sorry, Chris.
* All of us at VU would like wish you and your families and safe and happy holiday weekend.

Viking Update Top Stories