ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that LaDainian Tomlinson has signed a two-year contract with the Jets. The Vikings made a similar contract offer as the Jets, according to an NFL source.
UPDATE: ESPN reported that Tomlinson's deal is for $5.1 million with an escalator that could take it to $5.6 million.
"He wanted to go a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship," agent Tom Condon told the Associated Press. "He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to have a significant role, and so with the Jets he also was going to be very familiar with the offensive system."
Tomlinson will share the workload with Shonn Greene next season.
Tomlinson visited the Jets on Friday after visiting with Vikings officials the previous day. The Vikings were hoping Tomlinson would become their No. 2 running back to fill the void left by Chester Taylor, who signed with the Chicago Bears.
That search will now continue and it will be interesting to see if the Vikings turn their attention to former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. We have heard the Vikings believe Westbrook's injury history is too much of a concern and that they don't believe he has much left in the tank.
The Vikings could look internally to fill that role. We know the team is encouraged by the progress that Albert Young has made. Young might be one option or the Vikings also could look for help through the draft.
Vikings coach Brad Childress praised Young's development during an interview on KFAN last week.
"Probably not enough has been said about Albert Young," he said. "Albert Young is a guy that has developed here tremendously in the last two years. As a matter of fact, Brett Favre and I had a long conversation about him when we were down south and he believes he’s got a chance to be a good back in this league.”
Whatever happens, it's clear that Adrian Peterson is going to have to assume some of the things Taylor did on third down as far as receiving and pass protection. The Vikings need him to be on the field more on third down and one would think he should be better in that area as he gets more experience.
Taylor carried the ball 94 times for 338 yards last season. He also had 44 catches for 389 yards. Taylor led all NFL running backs in third-down catches the past two seasons. He's also very dependable in pass protection.
The Vikings must replace that production whether it's Peterson, Young, a free agent or draft.
It's crazy how much can change in 24 hours during free agency. Tomlinson sounded like a guy who had already mande up his mind when Judd talked to him after his dinner with team officials Wednesday night.
"[They are] very close," he said. "They are right at the top of the situation I was looking for when I first said I want to go somewhere and have a chance to win a championship."
Asked what he needed to hear from the Vikings during his visit, Tomlinson said: "I think it's a feel that you have to have. It's not necessarily anything you're going to hear because I've heard what I like to hear. I have a role on this team. I think it's a feel that you have to have."