The Vikings announced the signing of six draft choices today, leaving four unsigned -- including first-rounders Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith.
Signed were fourth rounders Jarius Wright (WR, Arkansas) and Greg Childs (WR, Arkansas); fifth rounder Robert Blanton (DB, Notre Dame); sixth-rounder Blair Walsh (K, Georgia); and seventh-rounders Audie Cole (LB, North Carolina State) and Trevor Guyton (DT, Cal).
Update: The Vikings have also agreed to terms with fourth-rounder Rhett Ellison, a tight end from USC. That means in addition to Kalil and Smith, the Vikings have yet to reach an agreement with second-round choice Josh Robinson, a cornerback out of Central Florida.
Not that any of that is a big deal. The start of training camp is still nine weeks away. And given the structure of the new collective bargaining agreement, there's not a whole lot for either side to negotiate. The days of rookies holding out into training camp are a thing of the past given the new rookie wage structure and the fixed length of all rookie deals.
When the NFL lockout ended last July, a new rookie pay system was put in place. Under that system, all drafted rookies -- including the six the Vikings signed today -- get four-year deals. The contracts for first-round draft choices also have a club option for a fifth season. That option, however, must be exercised after the players' third year. And the new C.B.A. formula dictates that for a team to use that fifth-year option on a player selected in the top 10, they will have to pay a Year 5 amount that is the average of the 10 highest-paid players at that position in the previous year.
In other words, if the Vikings decide to use their fifth-year option in Kalil, they will have to make that decision between the 2014 and 2015 seasons and then in 2016 (Kalil's fifth season), the standout offensive lineman would earn the average of what the 10 highest paid left tackles made in 2015.
Hey, we said the system has made contract talks far easier than they were in the past. But we didn't promise the elimination of all confusion.