MEDIA Vikings' McDaniel takes pay cut to stay : LUSENET : Purple : One Thread

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Vikings' McDaniel takes pay cut to stay

Pioneer Press ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- BILL WILLIAMSON STAFF WRITER ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- The Vikings have found a way to bring linebacker Ed McDaniel back for his 10th season with the team. McDaniel agreed in principle Monday to a contract that will save the Vikings salary-cap money and will keep him with the team, a possibility that had appeared unlikely. As part of the reworked contract, McDaniel will be with the team one season longer than outlined in his previous contract, but he did take a substantial pay cut. It was believed that McDaniel would be one of several veterans cut because of the Vikings' serious salary-cap problems. The reworked deal will save the Vikings more than $3.6 million in cap room this season. They still need to cut about $14 million by the March 2 deadline. McDaniel, who will turn 32 on Saturday, had a year added to his contract that was signed in 1999. The deal runs through the 2004 season. McDaniel will earn $500,000 in base salary and has a signing bonus of $3.625 million. Thus, he took a pay cut of $1.35 million this season. It was expected that McDaniel would become another in a long line of the Vikings' recent salary-cap victims, along with Randall McDaniel and Randall Cunningham. Last week, the team parted with returner David Palmer and defensive lineman John Burrough, and the moves will be made official after Feb. 22, when teams can start releasing veterans. Defensive lineman John Randle and free safety Orlando Thomas also are considered likely salary-cap victims, and their releases could come after June 1, when the remaining money owed the player would hit the Vikings' salary cap over the remaining years of the player's contract. If a player is released before June 1, the remaining money owed -- base salary and signing bonus -- counts against the cap the next season. Randle and Thomas could be released by March 2, the date for teams to be under the 2001 salary cap, to save roster-bonus money. The Vikings are negotiating with the agents of both players. Randle is expected to come to Winter Park in the next week for a meeting with coach Dennis Green, who would like to talk Randle out of his trade demand. It's believed Randle will not change his stance. McDaniel, who has been with the team since he was a fifth-round draft choice in 1992, has been one of the vocal leaders of the defense. He was second on the team with 131 tackles last season. Retaining McDaniel was critical for the Vikings' linebacking corps because unrestricted free-agent Dwayne Rudd is not expected to re-sign. The Vikings will continue to work on restructuring contracts and should have new cap-easing deals done with wide receiver Cris Carter, strong safety Robert Griffith and offensive tackle Todd Steussie by the end of the month. Carter and Griffith are willing to restructure, but Steussie could be a salary-cap victim if he doesn't agree to a restructuring that would cut his salary. The Vikings believe Steussie will be willing to rework his contract. Backup offensive lineman Brad Badger, who would be a candidate to replace Steussie at left tackle if Steussie were to be released, also has been mentioned as a possible salary-cap casualty. Badger is scheduled to make $790,000 this season. ``I haven't heard anything yet,'' Badger said Monday. ``I'm encouraged that something can be done for me to stay. But I know there are business decisions to be made.'' The Vikings have talked with the agent of recently retired running back Robert Smith and believe Smith will agree to retire officially after June 1 to cut $1.6 milli

-- Mark (Karch, February 20, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ