The Vikings could be compensated for their 2009 free-agent losses this week at the owners meetings in Orlando. The 32 compensatory draft picks that the NFL awards each year are expected to be announced this week.
While the Vikings have been hamstrung and uninspired by the market during the free agent period thanks to their 2009 success, they may find themselves on the rare end of actually receiving at least one compensatory pick.
Because the Vikings have had a recent history of aggressive free-agent signings in recent years, they have been on the receiving end of compensatory picks. Although the NFL doesn't announce the formula used in determining compensatory picks, since they began being awarded in 1994, the greatest factor has seemed to be the annual value on contracts signed by the lost free agents, with playing time and age also likely factored in.
For example, the Titans and Bengals are likely to be among the few teams that will receive the top compensatory relief – third-round picks – for the free-agent losses of Albert Haynesworth
and T.J. Houshmandzadeh
As it pertains to the Vikings, they are likely only in line for one compensatory pick and, while some would think that the Super Bowl winning performance from Darren Sharper
would be the candidate, it's much more likely to be Matt Birk
The Vikings signed only one unrestricted free agent last year that counted in the compensatory-pick equation – cornerback Karl Paymah. At the same time, the Vikings lost Birk and Sharper. Birk signed a $4 million-a-year deal with Baltimore and played in all 16 regular-season and two playoff games. For those who study the past history of these kinds of things, the Vikings can expect to receive a fifth- or sixth-round compensatory pick.
Any compensatory pick or picks the Vikings receive likely will be announced this week at the owners meetings in Orlando. While the restrictions placed on the Vikings during free agency to date have had an impact, look for a small reward coming back for the losses of veterans like Sharper and Birk last year.
The anticipated confirmation that the Vikings will meet the Saints in New Orleans in the Sept. 9 Thursday night season opener will be finalized this week at the owners meetings. Typically during the meetings, the NFL lets out some of the key games for the coming regular season, including those teams that will play in prime time on Kickoff Weekend. The Vikings and Saints are the odds-on favorite to meet in the opener, since the Saints have already been informed that New Orleans will host the Thursday night opener. The full schedule is usually released before the draft in early or mid-April.
The Vikings' upper echelon will be in full force in Orlando this week. Owner Zygi Wilf, members of the Wilf family, head coach Brad Childress and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman are all expected to be in attendance.
The Vikings have been rumored to be a potential landing spot for CB Nathan Vasher, but, given his injury history and the uncertainty of Cedric Griffin's return, the Vikings likely won't step up with a big offer even if they have interest. That being said, his familiarity with the Cover-2 defense could be valuable if he's willing to compete for a nickel back position.
In one of the "high road" moments of the offseason, former Packer Aaron Kampman, who recently signed a contract with Jacksonville, took out an ad in Saturday's edition of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel to thank Packers fans for their support over the years. A lot of players leave franchises to go to another for a bigger payday, but few take the time and expense to thank the fans of the Packers for their friendship and support. Nicely done.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.