Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Longwell to get bonus and more on Taylor

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears, NFC, Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Chester Taylor, Ryan Longwell Updated: March 5, 2010 - 3:02 PM

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."

But Sarnoff made it clear that Taylor never made any demands. "The Bears never said anything about his role and Chester doesn’t care," Sarnoff said. "He played with Jamal Lewis [in Baltimore], he played with Adrian. Never once did he say he needed to start."
 
The Vikings and Sarnoff did talk one last time on Thursday before Taylor hit the market. "They called last night and made a final pitch. Absolutely they did," Sarnoff said. "They tried.”
 
It has been pointed out that two years after the Vikings signed Bears wide receiver Bernard Berrian as a free agent, Chicago has now evened the score. "Obviously when a division rival takes a significant player from a rival it makes their team stronger," Sarnoff said.

 

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