INDIANAPOLIS -- The Vikings have not had to worry about their kicking position since signing Ryan Longwell as a free agent before the 2006 season. 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.

All of this would lead one to expect the Vikings will pay Longwell the $500,000 bonus they owe him on March 7. Making that payment will enable the Vikings to retain him for the 2010 season. So is that the plan?

Rick Spielman, the Vikings vice president of player personnel, declined to say when asked about the subject today. Spielman simply said he wasn't about to discuss a player's contract, which is pretty much standard procedure. Look for Longwell to be back in Purple for another season.

A couple of other notes from Spielman's comments to Twin Cities reporters today:

-- The Vikings have not heard from the NFL about whether they will open the season on Thursday night, Sept. 9 against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. The most likely candidates to play the Saints are either the Vikings or Steelers.
-- The Vikings expect to learn at the NFL owner’s meetings next month the compensatory picks they will get for losing Matt Birk and Darren Sharper as free agents last year. At this point, the Vikings have all of their draft picks.

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