What Does Kleinsasser Want?

The Vikings are making Jim Kleinsasser their top priority in free agency. The question is can they roll the dice on his league anonymity to play lowball?

Fans of the Vikings who see every game know the value of Jim Kleinsasser to the offense. A punishing blocker and an improving receiver, Kleinsasser flourished last year after being moved back to tight end from fullback by coach Mike Tice.

Yet, as free agency approaches, the Vikings are putting Kleinsasser on the front burner -- not wanting to get into a bidding war with anyone else to keep him.

The question both the Vikings and Kleinsasser's agents have to ask is how much is the tight end worth? Unlike flashy TE's like Jeremy Shockey who make their living catching passes, a lot of fans don't know much about Kleinsasser. While NFL teams do, there is some question as to whether a team would be willing to shell out millions -- especially those teams tight against the salary cap -- for a blocking TE with receiving skills.

The bottom line is that the Vikings and Kleinsasser are a good fit with each other. Playing hardball in negotiations won't help either side. A deal that averages between $2-3 million a year is likely what will have to be struck -- with the Vikings looking for the low end and Kleinsasser's people looking for the high end.

Hopefully, both sides can get to the table and get a deal worked out before free agency begins. The Vikes likely won't get into a bidding war and, if one starts, they may just turn their back on the situation as has happened in the recent past when players hit the open market. If Kleinsasser is to remain a Viking, it likely will have to be a deal that gets done before free agency begins, not after.

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