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Vikings Playing Tag

February 22, 2011

On Monday the Minnesota Vikings placed the franchise tag on Chad Greenway. With the franchise designation, the sixth-year linebacker out of the University of Iowa will receive a one-year contract that will pay him the average of the top five salaries at linebacker from the 2010 season, or as Judd Zulgad reports, “about $10 million.”

Greenway sounded excited to be able to work under a new coaching staff that is stocked with defensive minds.

“I’m happy to know that the Vikings value me enough to make this move,” Greenway said. “I look forward to this season and playing for Coach Frazier, Coach Pagac and Coach Singletary. It’s been a goal of mine since getting drafted to play with the Vikings my whole career. I think we’re one step closer to that now. My family and I love living in the Twin Cities and I want to be a part of the Vikings for years to come. I feel like the team has a bright future and I want to be a part of that.”

With players and owners currently negotiating a new labor agreement, there are no guarantees that a franchise tag will be included in a new deal. However, that has not stopped multiple teams from using it. Even if the franchise tag becomes a thing of the past, the Vikings have bought some additional time to work out a long-term deal with Greenway.

One certainty in all of this is the inability to use a transition tag on wide receiver Sidney Rice. Rice, who is currently in China and taking some pretty nice pictures, may or may not be scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next season. Once again, the pending labor deal must address how many years a player must accrue in order to become an unrestricted free agent. Rice currently has four seasons under his belt, and from a team standpoint, the Vikings will be hoping for Rice to become a restricted free agent. In that case, the Vikings would not only have a chance to match any contract offers but also be in line for compensation should Rice sign elsewhere.

If Rice becomes an unrestricted free agent, the talented receiver may be in line for a payday too rich for the Vikings to compete.

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