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Vikings do about-face on offset issue, hold firm with Kalil

Matt Kalil AP

Last year, the Vikings gave multiple draft picks guaranteed money with the offset language removed.  This year, the Vikings have gone the other way, insisting on full offset language for all draft picks.

Per a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Vikings want offset language in the contract offered to left tackle Matt Kalil, the fourth overall pick in the draft.  The Vikings are pushing the issue even though the player taken in front of Kalil (Browns running back Trent Richardson) and three of the five players taken behind him have avoided the offset duty completely.  (The player taken directly after Kalil, Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon, presents a different set of circumstances given his post-draft DUI.)

The Vikings’ position seems unusual.  Left tackle has a lower bust rate than every other position in the first round, and even if Kalil is a bust he’ll be better than any other options the Vikings have or may have over the next four years, barring a trade or an unlikely entry into free agency.  So why not fully guarantee his contract with a commitment that, in the unlikely event he’s cut, the Vikings will still pay him the full amount of the deal if he plays for someone else?

Last year, the Vikings gave all players taken in round two and thereafter partial guarantees in 2012 with no offset language.  Though the guaranteed dollars weren’t as big as what Kalil will receive, it’s strange to see the only team that dumped offset language beyond the first round in 2011 become one of the only teams at the top of round one in 2012 to insist on offset language.

In fairness to the Vikings, the Dolphins are believed to be pushing the offset issue with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall pick in the draft.  Still, the Dolphins apparently aren’t expecting Tannehill to waltz right in and start.  The Vikings are expecting Kalil to be their left tackle in 2012 and beyond, protecting their 2011 first-round pick, quarterback Christian Ponder.

So why not simply assume Kalil will be the left tackle through 2015 and fully guarantee the contract with no offset?

We understand the philosophical aversion to double dipping.  But with the fourth pick getting far less than what the Vikings would have had to cough up two years ago (actually, two years ago it would have been hard for the Vikings to trade out of the No. 3 position, forcing them to pay even more), there’s nothing over the long term to be gained by taking a stand on an issue that likely will be irrelevant.

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27 Responses to “Vikings do about-face on offset issue, hold firm with Kalil”
  1. chuckmuncie says: Jul 25, 2012 9:14 AM

    Pehaps they didn’t like what they saw at the mimi-camps the off-season with him. He will eventually win because the guy behind didn’t have the offset language and thats how it works in the NFL.

  2. sterilizecromartie says: Jul 25, 2012 9:17 AM

    I thought these contracts would take minutes thanks to the new rookie wage scale? So much for that.

  3. 7ransponder says: Jul 25, 2012 9:18 AM

    Pay the man. We just gave you your stadium, now build. We can’t afford to have our first round draft pick OT holding out.

  4. donterrelli says: Jul 25, 2012 9:19 AM

    Maybe they’ve already seen something they don’t like about him. Weak, bad attitude, pretentious, not a hard worker, etc

  5. steelerhypocrite says: Jul 25, 2012 9:24 AM

    Khalil blocking for Gerhardt, with the passing threat of Ponder…holy crap is this team going to suck.

  6. cash804 says: Jul 25, 2012 9:24 AM

    Obviously some red flags with this guy…

  7. ernie ernie says: Jul 25, 2012 9:26 AM

    Kind of smart on their part: get your number one to sign a contract with no offset and the precedent is now set for all future picks.
    Bet his agent and the NFLPA asked him to not sign so as to set that precedent for all future picks on all teams. A lot of money is at stake here.

  8. clw1906 says: Jul 25, 2012 9:39 AM

    @chuckmuncie yep that would be enough to take a bone head stance like that. Throw out months of research and judge a player based on a few days of workouts without pads. O_o Good call.

  9. sterling7 says: Jul 25, 2012 9:41 AM

    As a die hard Minnesota Viking 4life since “68″, with the Vikings no matter who the players are, no matter who the coaches are, no matter who the owner is-it’s always something……………….

  10. brownicus says: Jul 25, 2012 9:56 AM

    It does seem a little unusual to fight so hard on the offset language for such a high pick, especially left tackle.
    I’m guessing it has less to do with Kalil, but more to do with changing the precedent for future years. If they hold firm now, it could give them more leverage in future years, especially if they are expecting they might end up with a top 10 pick next year.

  11. holdsteady76 says: Jul 25, 2012 10:02 AM

    @ steelerhypocrite

    Gerhardt averaged 4.9 yds a carry last year with only 1 fumble. This by the way is more yards per carry than Mendenhall or Redman who combined for 3 fumbles.

    If Kalil blocking for Gerhardt is “going to suck” then what does that say about the Steelers ground game?

  12. mvp43 says: Jul 25, 2012 10:31 AM

    They only reason the Vikings would have to not fully guarantee Kalil’s contract is that he’s not nearly as good as theythought. That seems a bit premature to me. He’s a 4th overall pick that will be protecting Ponder, who they consider a franchise QB……..this makes no sense,

  13. wludford says: Jul 25, 2012 10:40 AM

    I’m not aware of any red-flags about Kalil in camp so far, not that they couldn’t be there. The only explanation I can think of comes from the Bryant McKinnie experience.

    Still, drop the off-set language and sign the man.

  14. fground says: Jul 25, 2012 11:01 AM

    I presume now that Spielman is fully in control the change in contract strategy is his doing. He seems to be swimming against the current on this one.

  15. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 25, 2012 11:52 AM

    I see why they want to do that but this isn’t the hill to die on. Just sign him and get this thing going.

  16. pack13queens0 says: Jul 25, 2012 12:21 PM

    Kalil was also expecting the Queens to move to LA when he got drafted. Nobody wants to live in boring Minnesota.

  17. mattyjimmy says: Jul 25, 2012 12:33 PM

    Lawyers and agents suck. I’m guessing even since the rookie wage scale was put in place, there are the same number of lawyers, agents and various other front office type people involved in the process. Probably people who are familiar with one another and enjoy the negotiation process. I’m making another guess that most of them love the sound of their own voice, and are squabbling just as hard as they used to over the few things that are left to fight over.

  18. brewdogg says: Jul 25, 2012 12:39 PM

    pack13queens0 says: Jul 25, 2012 12:21 PM

    Kalil was also expecting the Queens to move to LA when he got drafted. Nobody wants to live in boring Minnesota.
    ———————————–

    And Wisconsin is……What exactly? The center of urban entertainment? If it weren’t for the fact that cops in GB hand players guns instead of taking them away, nobody would ever willingly sign a contract there.

  19. fwippel says: Jul 25, 2012 12:45 PM

    As a Viking fan, this makes little to zero sense. Kalil is as sure a bet to make good on his pre-draft professional forecast as any player in the 2012 draft.

    He’s an instant starter for a team which has no alternative at LT, and a second year “franchise” QB that will end up getting clobbered without Kalil. The Vikings are saving a boat load of money over what they would have the #4 pick just two years ago.

    Right now this looks more like a team trying to get by on the cheap than a franchise who wants to put a winner on the field.

  20. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jul 25, 2012 12:59 PM

    Apparently, you can’t say “It’s almost like this organziation doesn’t know what they’re doing…”

    How about this? This organization is run like a well-oiled machine. They’d never have a coach bully players into giving him their Super Bowl tickets so he can sell them. Or trade a 3rd round pick for a player and then cut that player 3 weeks later. Or have a team executive get a DUI on his way to the police station to bail out his players who just got DUIs. Or refuse to fix the air conditioning at Winter Park. Or Love Boat.

  21. mediasloppy says: Jul 25, 2012 1:48 PM

    Maybe Wilf is getting sick of paying players HUGE contracts that aren’t paying off. Wilf has never been stingy with his money and maybe he has decided to set a tone of paying HUGE money to players who have proved they deserve it…

    Most likely though, is to set a tone of owners and agents playing tug-a-war over the almighty dollar.

  22. doe22us says: Jul 25, 2012 1:50 PM

    There is probably a reason why the Vikings dont want to guarantee the 4th year, maybe rookie minicamps may have exposed him. Who knows or they are cutting cost.

  23. titogetmesometissue says: Jul 25, 2012 2:42 PM

    Ridiculous. We buy them a new stadium (with almost $0 out of their own picket). They can’t be bothered to pay for a retractable dome (did I mention Zyig is paying almost nothing for this palace). And now they are quibbling over nothing with their Rock Star Left Tackle? Bring back the gang of 10 is this is how it’s gonna be.

  24. holdsteady76 says: Jul 25, 2012 3:38 PM

    It is not about “getting by on the cheap” or because they doubt Kalil, it is because agreeing to this language sets a precedent. I think it is ridiculous that any team should have to pay a players salary if he gets cut and signs elsewhere. Why should a player earn double salary?

    Kalil is going to be the Vikings LT for a decade, that is why they drafted him.

    Imagine if a player were to be drafted high with offset language, that player does something dumb and gets arrested or simply doesn’t perform so the team cuts him and he signs with another team. The player does not deserve to get paid by two teams IMO. I know the NFL and real world do not equate but if we were to draw parallels then I would never expect my former employer and my new employer to pay me in the event I get fired.

  25. covercorner says: Jul 25, 2012 5:18 PM

    This is why the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl.

  26. bobnelsonjr says: Jul 25, 2012 9:31 PM

    Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jul 25, 2012 12:59 PM

    Apparently, you can’t say “It’s almost like this organziation doesn’t know what they’re doing…”

    How about this? This organization is run like a well-oiled machine. They’d never have a coach bully players into giving him their Super Bowl tickets so he can sell them. Or trade a 3rd round pick for a player and then cut that player 3 weeks later. Or have a team executive get a DUI on his way to the police station to bail out his players who just got DUIs. Or refuse to fix the air conditioning at Winter Park. Or Love Boat.

    ***************************************

    This is much like the Bryant McKinnie hold out. You know when the vikings didn’t get their draft card to the podium on time in consecutive years.

    Never Ever underestimate the vikings ability to screw up. They are the Rodney Dangerfield of franchises.

  27. chi01town says: Jul 26, 2012 1:16 AM

    If Kalil hold out until next season he can walk away an the Vikings will get nothing. I think Kalil is a good LT an if I was him they would have to pay me OR I would wait an go to a better team

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