Notebook: Free agency, draft collide

The Vikings keep an eye on the strengths of the draft while prioritizing their free-agent plan. We do the same with a mixed notebook of news and notes, from an incentive-filled signing to other negotiations to a big injury concern in the draft.

HARVIN HURTING? has the Minnesota Vikings taking Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin with the No. 22 pick in its mock draft. That could change with new information coming out of the NFL Scouting Combine.

According to what a league source told's Chris Steuber, Harvin has a fracture in his ankle and at least one team is concerned that it might not fully heal, with the source saying that the fracture is in a place where it's tough for the bone to recover because of the weight it endures.

Harvin has a history of injuries. According to an article in the Richmond (Va.) Times Dispatch, he was slowed by a foot injury early in the 2008 season, missed "considerable time" in 2006 because of an ankle injury, sat out two games in 2007 because of migraine headaches and has dealt with hip pointers, tendinitis in his Achilles' tendon and tendinitis in his knees.

Despite all that, the receiver and return man is an electrifying player.

"If there's a better player in the country … he's one of the top two, top three as far as skill level," Florida coach Urban Meyer was quoted as saying in November story in the Times Dispatch. "I think everybody knows how I feel about him. I've done this a long time, and I've seen him do stuff that I've never seen anybody else do. I think he'll go down as one of the great players in Florida football history, and deservedly so."

Despite the reported injury, Harvin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine.


Viking Update has confirmed that a deal to bring quarterback Sage Rosenfels to Minnesota is expected to happen when free agency opens on Feb. 27. Terms of the trade aren't certain, but the Houston Chronicle reported the Vikings are expected to send a fourth-round pick to the Houston Texans.

Sports Radio 610 in Houston reported that the Vikings offered a three-year, $9 million dollar extension to Rosenfels, but terms of their offer haven't been confirmed yet.


Cornerback Charles Gordon and the Vikings worked out what is probably a win-win contract. Gordon will have a chance to compete for the nickel back role if he can get back to full health by the regular season, but the Vikings don't have to guarantee that contract as they would if they would have tendered him as a restricted free agent.

As a restricted free agent, the Vikings could have placed a tender on him that, in the case of the lowest tender, would have guaranteed him $1.545 million for 2009. If any other team would have signed him to an offer sheet that the Vikings declined to match, they could have received a second-round draft pick. (Higher tenders of $2.198 million yield a first-round pick and the highest tender of $2.792 million would require first- and third-round picks for any team signing a player to an offer sheet that the original team declined to match).

In Gordon's case, the Vikings likely didn't want to guarantee a one-year contract with the cornerback coming off a gruesome ankle injury. On Gordon's side, other teams may have taken a wait-and-see approach with his recovery from that injury, so keeping him with a familiar team and getting him under contract now was probably wise.

So, in this case, the one-year contract with incentives that could reach that low tender offer seems like a good compromise for a player recovering from injury.


  • The Vikings also have fullback Naufahu Tahi, defensive tackle Fred Evans, and defensive ends Otis Grigsby and Jayme Mitchell as other restricted free agents. It isn't known yet if they will receive a tender by Thursday's deadline, but Tahi and Evans would seem like the most likely options.

  • As of Tuesday afternoon, the Vikings hadn't made a contract offer to unrestricted free-agent linebacker Heath Farwell, but he wants to return to the Vikings. Free agency opens at midnight Eastern on Feb. 27.

  • One teammate said he expects tight end Jim Kleinsasser to return to the Vikings, but it isn't known where negotiations stand on the unrestricted free agent at this point.

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