Stefon Diggs

Vikings Looking To Extend Barr, Diggs, Hunter

Despite spending heavily on Kirk Cousins this offseason, the Vikings are still intent on trying to keep their core of young players together. This includes Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs and Danielle Hunter, who the team hopes to extend according to Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Though they hope to get the deals done, the Vikings know that will be a tough task. General manager Rick Spielman said, “We’re still going to try. Is it going to be easy? No.”

Diggs and Hunter are some of the best bargains in the business at the moment, both costing just $1.9MM against the cap in 2018. The Vikings picked up Barr’s fifth-year option in 2017 and he is set to cost $12.3MM in the upcoming season. All three deals are set to expire after the 2018 season.

Scoggins adds that Spielman and team executive vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski have been planning for this for three years, which led them to signing Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph to extensions despite them having additional years remaining.

Though it might be difficult to keep everyone around, if they are able to crunch the numbers they won’t have any pushback from ownership. Spielman said they have never heard “no” from the Wilfs on a potential deal.

It would be difficult to see the Vikings parting with Diggs, who just authored arguably the most famous play in team history when his touchdown grab vs. New Orleans as time expired sent Minnesota to the NFC Championship game.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

NFC Notes: Peterson, Vikings, Kuechly

Bruce Arians came up with the idea for the Cardinals to acquire Adrian Peterson, doing so after his team’s blowout loss to the Eagles. Arians was driving to the team facility when the concept emerged, Lars Anderson of Bleacher Report notes. The Cardinals coach watched every Peterson carry with the Saints to make sure the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer still had enough to be a solution for an Arizona rushing attack that still ranks last in the league because of its anemic start. Arians then took the idea to Steve Keim, who called Saints GM Mickey Loomis, Anderson reports.

He ran hard and could get something out of nothing,” Arians said. “We had finesse backs on our team. I was looking for that power guy. He was it, brother, he was it.”

Immediately installed as Arizona’s starter, Peterson turned back the clock and rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his Cardinals debut. The former five-time All-Pro said previously he wants to play into his late 30s, but that dialogue stopped in New Orleans. But Peterson has resumed that talking point now as a Cardinal, eyeing “four or five” more seasons.

I felt like my ability was going to waste in New Orleans,” Peterson said, via Anderson. “The system just wasn’t a good fit for me. But I still want to play four or five more years. I still can run a high-4.3 40. And I’ve always loved getting the ball deep in the backfield, which is what we’re doing here. I feel like I’m built for this offense.”

Here’s the latest from the NFC, shifting to Peterson’s first two NFL employers.

  • The Vikings are starting Case Keenum again this week, the team announced. Mike Zimmer, though, said he believes Sam Bradford will play again this season, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This will be Keenum’s fifth start of the year. Bradford’s status has gone from somewhat surprising inactive in Week 2 to being potentially out for six weeks to having the knee be categorized as worse than what’s been reported. Bradford consulted with a specialist last week, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com notes. The eighth-year quarterback saw this same specialist previously, per Zimmer. Teddy Bridgewater returned to practice but likely remains far away from playing in a game.
  • Luke Kuechly will miss the Panthers‘ Week 7 tilt against the Bears after suffering a concussion in Week 6. David Mayo will replace Kuechly at middle linebacker, Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk notes. Kuechly has missed time because of concussions in each of the past two seasons but was progressing in the protocol earlier this week.
  • Minnesota will also be without Stefon Diggs this weekend, with the Vikes’ No. 1 wide receiver set to miss a second straight game because of a groin injury.
  • Saints practice squad offensive lineman Cameron Tom recently had his salary bumped to $27K+ per week, according to a source who spoke with Nick Underhill of The Advocate. He was previously making $7,200 per week. Assuming he stays on the taxi squad through the end of the season, he’ll earn $344K as opposed to $122K. His weekly pay is now equal to a minimum salaried player on the 53-man roster ($465K). It’s a sign that the Saints think highly of Tom and that other teams have thought about signing him away.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Vikings’ Bradford, Diggs Out With Injuries

The Vikings announced that they will be without both quarterback Sam Bradford and wide receiver Stefon Diggs when they take on the Packers this weekend. It’s perhaps not a great sign that both players have been ruled out completely two days before gametime. Sam Bradford (Vertical)

Bradford took a beating in the Vikings’ win over the Bears and was forced off of the field in the first half. He has no new injury to his knee, but the “wear and tear” he suffered is cause for concern given his history. The good news is that the Vikings won with Case Keenum under center, so they feel alright about starting him again this week. If they have to go longer than one week without their top QB, however, it could be a problem for the Vikings.

Diggs, meanwhile, was not able to practice on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday due to a groin issue. Groin injuries have a tendency to linger, so it’s a situation to monitor even beyond Week 6. Through five games, Diggs has 23 catches for 395 yards and four touchdowns. He hasn’t had a ton of grabs, but he has the fifth-highest receiving yardage average in the NFL on a per-game basis. Without Diggs, the Vikings will be leaning even more on Adam Thielen (No. 6 in per-game receiving yards) and the recently activated Michael Floyd.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Diggs, Packers, Rudock

The Vikings are unlikely to have their top wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, for their Thanksgiving showdown with the NFC North rival Lions, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Diggs, who’s dealing with a knee injury and hasn’t practiced this week, easily paces the Vikings in receptions (67), targets (87) and yards (747). Minnesota defeated the Texans in its only game without Diggs this season, but the Vikings have lost four of five since and now have the same record (6-4) as first-place Detroit.

More from the division:

  • At 4-6, the Packers have been among the NFL’s most disappointing teams this year, but club president Mark Murphy gave votes of confidence to general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy in an interview with WTMJ Radio (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). “I do hear from a lot of fans. And I tell fans: Like them, I’m disappointed,” Murphy said. “Certainly, the season hasn’t gone the way we had all hoped, but there’s a lot of football left to be played. And the other thing I tell people is, you’ve got to look at Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy’s track record.” Green Bay is currently in danger of missing the playoffs for just the third time since 2006, the year Thompson hired McCarthy. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that both Thompson and defensive coordinator Dom Capers could be in trouble at year’s end. The Packers then lost in resounding fashion, 42-24, in Washington.
  • Before the Lions elevated quarterback Jake Rudock to their active roster Wednesday, the division-rival Bears tried to sign the sixth-round rookie away, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) adds that Chicago wasn’t the only team looking to pluck him.
  • Green Bay won’t get injured running back Eddie Lacy or concussed cornerback Sam Shields back this season, which will surely make its uphill climb all the more difficult. Jay Cutler, on the other hand, might return this year for Chicago.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Vikings Sign Entire Draft Class

Well, that was pretty easy for the Vikings. While most teams tend to sign their draft choices in drips and drabs, the Vikings announced that they have signed their entire 2015 draft class. Those ten rookies are:

  • Round 1, CB Trae Waynes
  • Round 2: LB Eric Kendricks
  • Round 3: DE Danielle Hunter
  • Round 4: OL T.J. Clemmings
  • Round 5: TE Mycol Pruitt
  • Round 5: WR Stefon Diggs
  • Round 6: OL Tyrus Thompson
  • Round 6: DL B.J. Dubose
  • Round 7: OL Austin Shepherd
  • Round 7: LB Edmond Robinson

The signing of Waynes was leaked out earlier today by Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The eleventh player selected in the 2015 draft, Waynes will earn nearly $13MM over the life of his rookie contract, and will have the opportunity to make several extra million in 2019 if Minnesota exercises his fifth-year option. Because he just missed the cutoff to be a top-10 pick, Waynes’ fifth year won’t be as pricey as it otherwise would’ve — those amounts aren’t known yet, but for 2016 options, the difference in salaries between a top-10 cornerback and a corner picked between 11th and 32nd exceeded $3.5MM.

Kendricks was last season’s Butkus Award winner, giving him the crown of best collegiate linebacker in the country. Kendricks’ brother, Mychal, plays for the Eagles and father Marvin Kendricks, played running back at UCLA and enjoyed a stint in the CFL.

With ten UDFAs also in the fold, the Vikings’ roster is now at 90 players, according to the press release.

Draft Pick Signings: Thursday

Over the course of the next few weeks, as the league’s 32 teams lock up their draft picks, we’ll dedicate individual posts to first- and second-round picks reaching agreements with their respective clubs. Already today, for instance, we’ve passed along word of Trae Waynes signing with the Vikings and Nelson Agholor reaching a deal with the Eagles.

However, given the lack of drama involved in rookie contract negotiations under the new CBA, news on players who were selected in the third round or later will be relegated to round-up posts. Here are Thursday’s mid- to late-round picks who signed their deals, with any additional updates added to the top of the page throughout the day:

4:52pm:

  • In addition to confirming the signing of Deon Simon (noted below), the Jets also announced the signings of third-round outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin and fourth-round quarterback Bryce Petty, per a team release.
  • The Vikings are gradually agreeing to terms with nearly their entire draft class over the course of the day. Chris Tomasson (Twitter links) has updates on two more, reporting that fifth-round tight end MyCole Pruitt, fifth-round wideout Stefon Diggs, and seventh-round offensive lineman Austin Shepherd have all reached deals with the club.
  • The Ravens have signed fifth-round guard Robert Myers and sixth-round wide receiver Darren Waller, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
  • The Seahawks have signed fifth-round cornerback Tye Smith, tweets Terry Blount of ESPN.com.

3:50pm:

  • The Vikings have officially added three more draftees to the roster, agreeing to terms with sixth-round defensive lineman B.J. Dubose and seventh-round linebacker Edmond Robinson, according to reports from Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links). In addition to those late-rounders, fourth-round offensive lineman T.J. Clemmings has signed his deal, tweets agent Mike McCartney.
  • Sixth-round lineman Kristjan Sokoli has signed his four-year rookie deal with the Seahawks, tweets agent Brett Tessler. A defensive lineman at Buffalo, Sokoli will be moving over to the offensive line in Seattle.
  • Jets seventh-round defensive tackle Deon Simon and Patriots seventh-round defensive end Xzavier Dickson have signed their rookie deals, according to tweets from their respective agencies. Simon will get a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $73K, while Dickson’s bonus will be worth about $53K.

2:43pm:

  • Sixth-round offensive lineman Tyrus Thompson has agreed to terms with the Vikings and will officially sign when he arrives at the team’s facility, tweets Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Thompson is the second Vikes draftee to reach a deal with the club.
  • Another Packers draftee has agreed to terms with the team, per Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Post-Gazette, who tweets that the club has struck a deal with sixth-rounder fullback Aaron Ripkowski. Ripkowski was the first of three players selected by the Packers in the sixth round, and is also the first one to reach an agreement with the team.
  • The Browns have signed sixth-round tight end Randall Telfer, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Telfer will receive a signing bonus of just under $118K.

1:48pm:

  • The Packers have agreed to terms on four-year rookie contracts with fifth-round quarterback Brett Hundley and fourth-round linebacker Jake Ryan, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links). Green Bay is expected to lock up most or all of the rest of its late-round picks by the end of the day, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
  • The Ravens have agreed to contract terms with fourth-round defensive back Tray Walker, reports Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link). The final player selected in the fourth round, as a supplemental pick, Walker will count for about $521K against the cap in 2015.
  • Seventh-round center Austin Reiter has agreed to terms on his rookie contract with Washington, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. Reiter will receive a signing bonus worth just under $75K.

Dolphins Mulling Trade Into Top 10?

The Dolphins have been one of the most aggressive teams in the league so far this offseason, landing No. 1 free agent Ndamukong Suh and sending a third-round pick to New Orleans in a deal for wide receiver Kenny Stills. And it doesn’t appear that the team is taking its foot off the gas quite yet. According to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com, the Dolphins have been reaching out to clubs picking in the top 10 in this month’s draft to gauge what it might cost to trade up.

Sources suggest to Rang that Miami seems to be targeting a playmaking wide receiver, perhaps Alabama’s Amari Cooper or – more likely – West Virginia’s Kevin White. Despite their trade for Stills and the presence of Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins have been actively seeking more help at the wideout position, having recently brought in free agents Michael Crabtree, Greg Jennings, and Wes Welker for visits.

Drafting 14th overall, the top 10 is within reach for the Dolphins, but they may have to leapfrog more than just a handful of teams if they want to have a shot at White, who is viewed as a potential top-five pick. Miami only has six 2015 picks with which to work, though as we saw a year ago when the Bills traded up for Sammy Watkins, giving up a future first-rounder is always a possibility if the Fins get serious about making a move.

Here are a couple more Dolphins-related links for Thursday morning:

  • Norfolk State edge defender Lynden Trail is making a pre-draft visit to Miami today to meet with the Dolphins, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Trail visited the Vikings earlier this week.
  • Maryland wideout Stefon Diggs, who has previously met with the 49ers and Patriots, is scheduled to visit the Dolphins as well, sources tell Wilson.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald takes a closer look at the Dolphins’ search for a receiver, arguing that the team should continue to look at veteran free agents, such as Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, and Lance Moore. With myriad options still on the market, it doesn’t look like the Dolphins are in a hurry to lock up any one player.

Draft Notes: Packers, Pats, Dolphins

Here’s the latest draft news..

  • Maryland nose tackle Darius Kilgo told Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter) that he has visited the Packers, Patriots, and Dolphins. He’ll also visit the Bengals and attend the Panthers‘ local prospect day.
  • Maryland wide receiver Deon Long told Wilson (Twitter links) he’ll attend the Ravens‘ local prospect day on April 21st. He added that he has drawn interest from the Bears and Panthers. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com wrote about the intriguing prospect earlier today and noted that he has drawn the interest of the Patriots.
  • The Patriots met with Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (via Twitter).
  • Rutgers fullback Mike Burton worked out for the Buccaneers this morning at RU, according to Dan Duggan of the Star-Ledger (via Twitter). Next up is a visit with the Browns on Friday.

Draft Notes: Bucs, Mariota, Browns, Steelers

The Buccaneers could take many different routes with the first-overall pick in this year’s draft, and head coach Lovie Smith indicated as much on Monday. Appearing on the NFL Network, Smith said his team could surprise the league by not selecting either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com):

“I can see why people would assume we’re gonna take a quarterback. There are two excellent quarterbacks that are available at the top and when you get a chance to draft someone like that, most of the time, people do. But there are other good players in the draft also. I think it’s a deep draft for defensive line. Like last year, there are a lot of great receivers that are coming out. I think, just overall, the amount of athletes coming into each incoming class, it’s pretty deep for players that can make an immediate impact.”

As Florio points out, Smith could be hinting that he’s willing to trade the pick.

Let’s take a look at some more assorted draft notes from around the league…

  • ESPN.com’s Eric Williams tweets that the Chargers will schedule a workout with Mariota.
  • Meanwhile, Browns general manager Ray Farmer told reporters that his team will also conduct a private workout with Mariota (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). Farmer indicated that he’s talked with other teams about moving up or down the draft board.
  • The Dolphins will work out Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson, according to ESPN.com’s James Walker. Grayson is projected to be drafted in the second round or later.
  • Maryland wideout Stefon Diggs is scheduled to visit the 49ers in April, reports Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. Diggs finished last season with 62 catches for 792 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Indiana running back Tevin Coleman will be busy in the coming weeks, as he has workouts scheduled with the Panthers, Cardinals, Chargers and Ravens, according to Wilson. The Heisman candidate previously met with the Lions.
  • After talking to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says he’d be “stunned” if Pittsburgh didn’t take a cornerback in the first round (Twitter link).