Vikings stars line up to go long

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 1, 2011 - 12:12 AM

Chad Greenway is first in line for contract negotiations, but coach Leslie Frazier says not to read into it much.

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Longtime Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.

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MANKATO — When it comes to negotiating long-term deals for players with eight-figure salaries, the Vikings have started with franchise player Chad Greenway and will move on to All-Pro face of the franchise Adrian Peterson ASAP.

If you're reading anything into that 1-2 payment pecking order, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier would advise you to stop sooner than ASAP.

Asked if there is a reason the team is negotiating with Greenway first, Frazier said, "No, no. We've already broached [Peterson's agent Ben Dogra] about what we want to do, and we'll continue doing that as time goes on. ... We're in the process of trying to negotiate a long-term deal with Chad and, hopefully, that's going to get done.

"Adrian is a major part, as we've talked about many times, of our future. So we're going to eventually get to that point where we want to talk to he and his agent about a long-term deal as well."

As the franchise player, Greenway is under contract for one year at $10.1 million. He said he won't complain, with or without a long-term deal.

"You'd be ridiculous to be upset with getting that amount of change for one year, especially playing my position [strong-side linebacker] in the 4-3 [defense]," Greenway said. "The goal is to be in a long-term situation here so I can play here a long time and both sides can be happy."

Peterson is in the final year of a contract that pays him $10.7 million with a salary cap figure of $12.8. He was seen reporting Sunday afternoon but did not speak to reporters.

"We've made it clear that we want to be able to do something long-term for Adrian," Frazier said. "There is not any wondering about what the Vikings' stance is. It's just a matter of getting together and getting it done."

Meanwhile, the Vikings appear to have closed the door on re-signing veteran free-agent linebacker Ben Leber.

"We're not having active discussions," Frazier said. "He's actually doing what he needs to do as far as furthering his career. There still are some possibilities maybe here, but we couldn't promise him anything."

Frazier also made no promises to free-agent nose tackle Pat Williams.

"But we'll still keep the door open until we know exactly where we are roster-wise," Frazier said. "We're still finalizing some things as we speak, and if Pat finds something -- he and I have talked about this -- he's going to do what he has to do. But we'll see what happens. There's still a lot to be done yet."

In another sign Leber's days in Minnesota are over, Frazier announced that Erin Henderson, the younger brother of middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, will start training camp as the No. 1 weak-side linebacker. Special teamer Kenny Onatolu and backup middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley will be given a chance to unseat Erin Henderson.

"E.J. and I have had plenty of conversations about starting together," Erin said. "We're excited about it. I think it's going to be a cool thing and something the NFL hasn't seen yet. Something new and exciting for the fans to enjoy, to see two brothers out there making plays and doing crazy things together."

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