Will Rice be free agent? Vikings aren’t sure

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2011 - 11:14 AM

Until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, some NFL teams will use existing rules to restrict players and avoid extending contracts.

INDIANAPOLIS - The Vikings decision to place their franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway this week caused some questions about whether consideration was given to putting that designation on receiver Sidney Rice.

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman declined to provide much insight into the matter Thursday as he addressed a group of reporters at the NFL scouting combine.

"I'm not going to go into what our internal discussions were," he said. "We made a decision that Chad was our franchise [player], and hopefully we'll be able to get Sidney under contract this year."

Greenway has yet to sign the franchise tender, but is expected to in the coming days.

The Vikings might not be convinced Rice will become an unrestricted free agent when that period starts. Under the last year of the collective bargaining agreement, which will expire March 3, a player didn't become unrestricted until he had six years of service. Rice just completed his fourth season, the number of years needed to become unrestricted before 2010.

ESPN reported Thursday that teams are prepared to use restricted free-agent tenders, even if they don't know if those tags will be binding once a new labor deal is in place. "We will finalize all our tags on potential restricted free agents when we get back [from the combine]," Spielman said. "I'm not going to tell you what we're going to tag or who we're going to tag."

Placing a tender on a restricted free agent means the player can still get offers from teams but his current club has the ability to match or receive compensation in the form of draft picks.

Using a tender that might not exist on Rice could be viewed as antagonistic, but Spielman points out that the Vikings can only operate under the rules that are currently in place. NFL officials and the NFL Players Association have been engaged in talks but an agreement does not appear close, meaning a work stoppage could be on the horizon.

Rob Brzezinski, Vikings vice president of football operations, will spend time at the combine meeting with the agents for several of the team's 20 potential free agents. That likely will include a discussion with Rice's agent, Drew Rosenhaus. The Vikings also could approach Greenway's representatives about a long-term deal.

While the organization clearly is waiting for the CBA to get done before giving contract extensions, the groundwork could be laid for deals. While Spielman refused to get into many specifics, he did say there were no plans to jettison any veteran players from the roster. That means receiver Bernard Berrian ($3.9 million base salary for 2011) and safety Madieu Williams ($5.4 million base) are safe.

"Right now, we're going to keep our roster status quo," Spielman said. "I don't anticipate any moves. Again, that's always etched in oatmeal."

One veteran who might not return is linebacker Ben Leber, who will be an unrestricted free agent. Leber had a base salary of $3.95 million last season and might command a bigger salary than the Vikings are willing to pay.

"We're focusing on the Chad Greenways of the world," Spielman said when asked about Leber. "Are we going to be able to keep everybody? I don't know. Would you love to have Ben back? Ben's been a very good football player for us, done a lot of good things for us. I don't know where that's going to go, to be honest with you."

  • related content

  • Vikings’ post-CBA plan: Rework Peterson contract

    Friday February 25, 2011

    Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman acknowledged Thursday that Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson's contract is "going to have to get addressed," once a new collective bargaining...

  • Judge unseals report, but won't freeze $4B in NFL TV money

    Friday February 25, 2011

    If anyone expected U.S. District Judge David Doty to issue a quick ruling Thursday in favor of the players' union and its efforts to freeze $4 billion in television revenue,...

  • Familiar hands hired to replace Metrodome roof

    Friday February 25, 2011

    Birdair, the New York firm that designed and installed the first Metrodome roof 30 years ago, submitted the only bid to install the new one this summer. The project could...

  • Sidney Rice

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - L. Lynn 12:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Toronto - M. Buehrle 12:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Kluber
LA Angels - C. Wilson 12:08 PM
Detroit - M. Scherzer
Baltimore - B. Norris 12:35 PM
Boston - F. Doubront
Minnesota - K. Correia 1:10 PM
Kansas City - B. Chen
Cincinnati - T. Cingrani 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - E. Jackson
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 3:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - W. Rodriguez
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
NY Yankees - I. Nova 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Seattle - R. Elias 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Arizona - M. Bolsinger 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
San Francisco - T. Hudson 7:40 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Brooklyn 11:30 AM
Toronto
Golden State 2:30 PM
LA Clippers
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Indiana
Memphis 8:30 PM
Oklahoma City
Chicago 2:00 PM
St. Louis
Columbus 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Minnesota 8:30 PM
Colorado
Houston 3:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 3:00 PM
Chicago
San Jose 5:00 PM
Colorado
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Vancouver FC
D.C. 6:30 PM
Columbus
Toronto FC 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Montreal 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Portland 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Seattle 9:30 PM
Chivas USA
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will you boo Jared Allen when he returns with the Bears?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close