The NFL announced on Wednesday that teams can use franchise tags starting on Feb. 10. They will have until the collective bargaining agreement expires on March 4 to use that tag on one of their pending unrestricted free agents.
The two most obvious candidates for the Vikings are linebacker Chad Greenway and wide receiver Sidney Rice.
Greenway and Rice are the top priorities among the Vikings long list of free agents this offseason. But is the team willing to franchise either one?
The franchise tag, which binds free agents to their team for one season, is the average of the top five salaries at each position. That number for wide receivers this past season was $9.521 million; for linebackers it was $9.68 million.
The team believes Greenway has steadily developed into a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker and is a key part of their defense. Greenway has not rocked the boat in terms of his contract status and said all the right things this season. He and his wife and children have made the Twin Cities their home and are very active in the community.
Greenway obviously wants a fair deal, but it seems there’s a very good chance the Vikings can sign him to a long-term contract this offseason.
Rice is more of a wild card. The wide receiver was no doubt frustrated by the lack of a new deal after his breakout Pro Bowl season in 2009. But his situation became more complicated this season when he delayed hip surgery and missed the first nine games.
There’s no question that Rice is one of the NFL’s top downfield threats when healthy and he makes difficult catches in traffic look routine. Rice and his agent Drew Rosenhaus are going to want to maximize his value and get a lucrative deal, whether with the Vikings or elsewhere.
The franchise tag is high for someone with Rice's injury history, but can the Vikings take the risk of him signing elsewhere?
What are your thoughts on whether the Vikings should use a franchise tag on Rice or Greenway?
Rogers a candidate
The Boston Globe reported that former Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers has emerged as a leading candidate to become offensive coordinator at Boston College. Rogers coached at the college level for many years, including stints at Syracuse, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
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Vikings open preseason against the Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium.
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