Vikings sign all 3 1st-round draft picks
By Dave Campbell, AP Pro Football Writer
MANKATO — Under the NFL’s previous collective bargaining agreement, training camp reporting day might have been a little more stressful for Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
With three first-round draft picks this year, a contract stalemate or two would’ve certainly been possible. But with the current CBA and the slotted salary and bonus guidelines for each rookie deal, there are far fewer issues to iron out between teams’ negotiators and players’ agents.
Though their contracts weren’t completed until Thursday morning, a few hours before they traveled southwest to training camp at Minnesota State University, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson all signed with the Vikings on time. The first practice is Friday morning.
Frazier received a text message from general manager Rick Spielman while driving to MSU with confirmation that the rookie trio was all taken care of. Missed practice time, of course, always stresses coaches out.
“I really got excited about that,” Frazier said. “That’s a big deal.”
Added Frazier: “Holdouts are becoming a thing of the past. It’s really working out for both parties, it seems.”
Patterson smiled as he spoke to reporters about enjoying the adorning attention he received from autograph-seeking fans crowded around the entrance to the residence hall where the players will stay for the next three weeks. He said he’d wait awhile before making any big purchases with his signing-bonus money.
“I’m going to take care of my mama first, and then I’ll take care of me,” Patterson said.
None of the players said they were nervous about the negotiations, even though they weren’t done until the last day of the offseason. Patterson, the 29th overall pick from Tennessee, said he was awake past 4 a.m. the night before because he was so giddy about the deal.
“I had to call my mom and tell her what was going to be happening. My life’s going to change a little bit. I told her I’m excited, and she told me was happy for me,” Patterson said.
Rhodes, the 25th overall selection out of Florida State, expressed relief.
“All the work paid off, and now it’s time to go show what I worked hard for. It’s a dream come true. Happy to be here,” Rhodes said.
Floyd, the 23rd overall pick, also from Florida State, called himself “blessed” to still be playing football while describing his excitement about his first contract.
“I didn’t want to send a bad vibe to the team or anything like that. I really wanted to get that done, and I’m glad it got done. Everything worked out,” Floyd said.
Floyd was the highest defensive tackle drafted by the Vikings in 10 years, since Kevin Williams went ninth overall in 2003. Floyd was an All-SEC pick after posting 13 tackles for loss and three sacks as a junior last season.
Rhodes was the first cornerback taken in the first round by the Vikings since Dewayne Washington, the 18th overall choice in 1994. Rhodes intercepted three passes last season was an All-ACC selection.
The Vikings traded picks in the second, third, fourth and seventh rounds to New England to move up into the end of the first round to take Patterson, who led the SEC with an average of 158 all-purpose yards per game last season, his only one with Tennessee. He was also an All-SEC pick.