The dollar figures being mentioned in connection with NHL free agent Zach Parise (and, let's not forget, Ryan Suter) are crazy in so many ways. They are stand-alone crazy -- the kind of money being talked about is impossible for 99 percent of us to comprehend. They are bidding-war crazy -- $100 million or more for a decade-plus of Parise, if reports are correct, and no shortage of suitors.
Most of all, though, think of just how crazy $100 million-plus sounds when placed in the context of how much a Minnesota pro team ever has spent on an outside free agent.
Sure, the local squads have opened their checkbooks to re-sign their own star players -- a legacy from Kirby Puckett to Kevin Garnett to Randy Moss to the $184 million man, Joe Mauer. But when it comes to outside free agents, the most notable "gets" for Minnesota teams (in terms of the total money it took) do not come close to comparing to what reportedly is being offered this offseason by the Wild.
Unless, of course, these free-agent contracts -- which really are among the biggest -- thrill you:
• Wild: Kim Johnsson's four-year, $19.4 million deal. That's the gold standard right now for the franchise in terms of largest total outlay to an outside free agent. Parise likely will get at least five times as much.
• Timberwolves: In the ultimate irony, the biggest outside free agent deal we could find on the Wolves was Joe Smith's six-year, $34 million deal in 2001. This is not to be confused with the illegal deal that cost the franchise several draft picks and part of KG's prime. This is the one they gave to Smith after he was banished to Detroit for a season.
• Twins: Josh Willingham's three-year, $21 million deal is as big as it gets for an outside free agent. Seriously.
• Vikings: Remember, Jared Allen was traded here. The best we can find is Steve Hutchinson's seven-year, $49 million deal -- the benchmark for all outside free-agent signings in local sports, at least for another day or two.