The Vikings made probably one of their easiest decisions of the offseason Friday when they informed the agent for Ryan Longwell that they will pay the veteran kicker a $500,000 bonus they owe him on March 7.
The move means Longwell will return for the final season of the five-year, $10 million contract they signed him to in 2006. The 35-year-old Longwell has been extremely consistent and last season made 26 of 28 field-goal attempts and 54 of 55 extra-point tries.
Meanwhile, Chester Taylor's agent, Ken Sarnoff, talked about his client's decision to sign with the Bears on Friday. Taylor, who reportedly received a four-year, $12.5 million contract that includes $7 million in guarantees in the first year, is scheduled to be introduced to the Chicago media at a news conference at 5 p.m. The Bears also have come to an agreement with defensive Julius Peppers on a six-year deal.
"First of all Chester loved his time in Minnesota and thinks the Vikings are a terrific organization and he will always have fond memories of that time in his career," Sarnoff said of Taylor's four seasons in Minnesota. "But this is an opportunity to play in Mike Martz’s system, which plays to Chester’s strengths with a focus on catching the ball out of the backfield and blocking. He was made for Mike Martz’s system.”
Martz has been hired as the Bears' offensive coordinator and Taylor is considered to be a guy who can play a role similar to what Marshall Faulk did for the Rams when Martz was in St. Louis. Taylor has been a backup to Adrian Peterson the past three seasons with the Vikings but now it seems likely he will move ahead of Matt Forte on the Bears' depth chart.
"The opportunity to carry the ball more and have a bigger role in the offense were very big factors for Chester," Sarnoff said. "We just know that he will get more playing time and reps than he would being on the same team with the best young running back in the NFL."