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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    From SI.com;

    [size=13pt]Festering situation[/size]

    Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    Posted: Sunday September 24, 2006 6:56PM;
    Updated: Sunday September 24, 2006 8:58PM


    MINNEAPOLIS -- After facing three 2005 NFC playoff teams in the first three weeks of the season -- Washington, Carolina and Chicago -- the Vikings can't be altogether displeased with their 2-1 start to 2006, even if they did squander a golden opportunity to take over first place in the NFC North with their near-miss 19-16 loss to visiting Chicago at the Metrodome.

    But win or lose Sunday against the Bears, the potential of storm clouds are gathering in the Vikings' not-too-distant future, and the source of them just might surprise you: soft-spoken starting quarterback Brad Johnson, whose festering contract situation looms as a potential land mine.

    Would the team-oriented and mild-mannered Johnson rock the boat with the Vikings coming off a promising September and hoping to build on its early success? Logic says no, but don't discount the possibility. And if the Vikings wind up being blindsided by that scenario, they shouldn't be. Nothing drives Johnson more than his history of being discounted and disrespected, and his fierce sense of pride has now been wounded by the inaction of the organization in regards to his short-of-market-value salary.

    On Sunday, with the Vikings losing the lead and the game to the Bears in the dying moments of the fourth quarter, Johnson understandably was in no mood to look too far down the road or discuss the particulars of his lingering contract dissatisfaction. But the issue remains percolating right below the surface, and chances are its going to rear its head in the coming weeks, perhaps as soon as the Vikings' Week 6 bye.

    And things could get nasty. Barring a pre-emptive move by the Vikings front office, you can almost count on it.

    Here are the pertinent facts: Johnson signed a four-year, $6 million contract in 2005 to serve as Daunte Culpepper's backup -- quality pay by No. 2 quarterback standards. Last year, he earned a total of $2.2 million including his signing bonus, and this year, in the second season of the deal, he'll earn another $1.2 million (an average of $1.7 million a year in 2005-06). The catch is he hasn't been Minnesota's backup since Culpepper blew out his knee in the Vikings' seventh game of last season.

    With Culpepper sidelined, Johnson took a Vikings team that was 2-5 and in total disarray and steadily guided it to a 7-2 record the rest of the way, allowing Minnesota to finish 9-7 and remain in playoff contention until the season's final weeks -- no mean feat in the year of the Love Boat scandal.

    Throw in this season's hopeful 2-1 start, and Johnson's won-loss record since assuming the starting job is an impressive 9-3, which qualifies as a pretty nifty return of investment for the Vikings on the NFL's 31st highest paid starting quarterback (ahead of only Cleveland's second-year veteran Charlie Frye). Overall, Johnson ranks somewhere around 40th in terms of 2006 salary among quarterbacks in the league, trailing several teams' backups.

    Clearly he has out-performed his contract, a point that has been only gaining momentum in recent weeks as he continues his productive play of late last season (he finished 21 of 31 against the Bears, with 194 yards passing, no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 84.6 rating). But while the just-turned 38-year-old Johnson these days is finally earning some league-wide plaudits for his uncanny knack of winning games, it has yet to win him much love in his own backyard.

    Minnesota has handed out $7 million-a-year contracts to two of Johnson's offensive linemen in recent months -- guard Steve Hutchinson and tackle Bryant McKinnie -- but the guy they help protect, the team's unquestioned on-field leader, is making barely one-seventh of that, despite playing some of the best football of his long, and impressive 15-year NFL career. Keep in mind as well such veteran quarterbacks such as Kurt Warner and Mark Brunell are in the $5 million-$6 million a year salary range, and they're not winning nearly as much as Johnson these days.

    Vikings officials have made no public comments regarding whether they plan to address Johnson's contract this season, but their treatment of their starting quarterback is becoming somewhat conspicuous. Instead of throwing him a financial bone in recognition of his larger-than-expected role and strong play, the club has instead resorted to a deafening silence on the topic. It may be penny-wise, but pound-foolish.

    Both Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski declined comment on Johnson's situation Sunday before the game, but this much seems clear reading between the lines: The Vikings believe they have done right by Johnson in giving him a starting opportunity at this late stage of his career, a show of faith they resoundingly made when they shipped the unhappy Culpepper to Miami in March.

    The fact that Minnesota is paying the productive Johnson relative chump change seems to be of only tangential importance as the Vikings' brass sees it, even if there are indications that Johnson during the preseason was personally assured by Wilf that his contract situation would be addressed in due time.

    The bottom line from this vantage point? Devoid of any action or at least verbal communication between the two sides, Minnesota is taking the risk that the next move might be Johnson's to make. As surprising a development as that might be to those who have followed his career and know his unassuming style.

    There's a sense that the clock is ticking on the Vikings' chance to do right by Johnson, but it remains unclear whether the decision-makers in the team's front office have noticed. If they're assuming that Johnson will always be the good soldier, they could be gambling with their season at some point. And at what price?

    Said one league observer this week about Johnson's situation: "That's the perfect example right there how this league no longer has owners who have any soul. They're businessmen now, not sportsmen. Eddie DeBartolo or Art Rooney would have come out in this situation and said, 'You're my starter. I don't care if you are 38 years old, I'm going to make you feel good when you're on there on the field.' But that doesn't happen any more. And it's probably not an issue of [salary] cap, but of cash. The Vikings think they don't have to spend that cash, so why do it?'

    Why indeed? After all, Johnson is under contract, it's midseason and what recourse is left to him? But there can always be consequences if a team has an unhappy starting quarterback, a situation that may be fast approaching in Minnesota. If Johnson feels the Vikings' level of disrespect has reached a tipping point, he will take a stand, some how, some way at some point. Can the Vikings, with only backup Brooks Bollinger and injured rookie Tavaris Jackson behind Johnson on the depth chart, afford to take that chance?

    To put it in a context everyone in the Twin Cities can understand: The Vikings could be skating on thinner ice than they know with the prideful Johnson, and it's possible they don't grasp the danger of ignoring his contract concerns. Having a season that has begun with so much optimism affected by an issue that could be dealt with so easily simply isn't the smart call for Minnesota.

    As far back as his collegiate days at Florida State, Johnson has been nicknamed "The Bull.' It's a rather telling moniker in terms of his resolve once he makes up his mind about something. You know what bulls have a tendency to do when they feel challenged. They rarely go quietly.


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    cogitans is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    Is it just me or do they keep writing the same article even though there is really nothing new in the case.

    Thanks to PPE for the sig.

  3. #3
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    "cogitans" wrote:
    Is it just me or do they keep writing the same article even though there is really nothing new in the case.
    Yeah I have no idea why they even brought this up again.

    I like how the guy is like, "There is nothing to suggest this happening, BUT WHAT IF IT DID!?"

    Lol. I guess when your HC doesn't talk to the press then they have to make up their own stories.

  4. #4
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    "cogitans" wrote:
    Is it just me or do they keep writing the same article even though there is really nothing new in the case.




    Bottom line is Cogitans,




    Everyone in the media is upset with Brads contract and Brad himself hasn't said anything even remotely close to that fact..




    Brad did a pre-game interview and was asked just that question, are you unhappy with your pay,
    Brad said he had nothing to say and that their are others that handle that for him...I would think he was meening his agent..





    Just another case of the media trying to rattle the bee's nest, if you ask me...


    I LOVE THE SMELL OF VICTORY IN THE MORNING AIR.

  5. #5
    digital420's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    well.. there's nothing negetive to write about before this game..

    now that we lost there is millions of things they can write until next sunday.

    sports writers are salivating over the brainstorm of articles they will write now.

    DiGiTaL

    "We tried to stick with it, but there was a point where we were beating our head against a wall," Seattle Coach Mora talking about running at the Williams Wall

  6. #6
    Zeus's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    "cogitans" wrote:
    Is it just me or do they keep writing the same article even though there is really nothing new in the case.
    We've been reading the same article over and over here in our local press - this is national press, cherry-picking the locals for their own story.

    =Z=

    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

  7. #7
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    They love to rehash old stories, they have the freebie article lying around just in case they can't make the deadline with a real article.

    I spent ~ 4 min. reconstructing these discussions via information available from KFFL.
    If I spent another ten minutes I could write a better article than the drivel posted by Mortensen.
    I guess they don't expect much from their authors sometimes.

    Reverse chronological timeline of BJ's salary:

    Vikings | B. Johnson's contract could become an issue - from www.KFFL.com
    Sun, 24 Sep 2006 08:39:45 -0700

    ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports Minnesota Vikings QB Brad Johnson's contract could become an issue later in the season if the team does not address it. Johnson was signed to a backup's contract but has been used in a starting role.



    Vikings | Wilf won’t discuss B. Johnson’s contract, but he will discuss his team - from www.KFFL.com
    Mon, 14 Aug 2006 21:01:00 -0700

    The Star Tribune reports Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf refused to discuss Vikings QB Brad Johnson's contract situation Monday, Aug. 14, but for the first time since training camp opened the Vikings owner was willing to discuss his team. "I'm very excited," Wilf said, standing on the sideline before the Vikings opened the preseason against Oakland. "This is a team that is poised to do great things. We've put together a great staff, a great coaching staff, players that are going to respond to the team effort. I'm very excited."

    Vikings | B. Johnson won’t talk contract in public - from www.KFFL.com
    Sun, 30 Jul 2006 20:11:29 -0700

    Jeff Zulgad, of the Star Tribune, reports Minnesota Vikings QB Brad Johnson reported to the team's training camp Sunday evening, July 30. Moments after stepping out of his car, Johnson was approached by owner Zygi Wilf. The two chatted for about eight minutes in the parking lot. Johnson would not discuss the topic of the conversation. He made it clear he won't be discussing the issue with the media. "Pretty much I really don't want to talk about any contract really for the rest of the time," he said. "That's kind of where I'm at."

    Vikings | B. Johnson will not hold out - from www.KFFL.com
    Fri, 28 Jul 2006 05:49:59 -0700

    Kevin Seifert, of the Star Tribune, reports Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress and Vikings' QB Brad Johnson spoke at length this week, most recently Wednesday, July 26, and Johnson announced Thursday, July 27, he would report to camp on time despite a contract that makes him the NFL's lowest-paid veteran starter. The Vikings have not adjusted the deal. Johnson declined to comment Thursday, but his agent, Phil Williams, said, "He's going to be there." When veteran backups are elevated to a starting position, NFL teams often raise their salaries to match their role, especially if the player is a proven veteran. The team has been unwilling to adjust the contract, however, creating the potential for a dispute. Williams would not comment when asked whether Johnson is satisfied with the contract, which locks him into a backup's salary through 2008.

    Vikings | Childress says media drove B. Johnson contract talk - from www.KFFL.com
    Sun, 23 Jul 2006 07:10:32 -0700

    Sean Jensen, of the Pioneer Press, recently interviewed Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress and he asked him about Vikings QB Brad Johnson's contract situation. "That's something (the media) drove. We don't comment on contracts. Brad and I have spoken about it, and that conversation is between he and I," said Childress.

    Vikings | Childress and B. Johnson to meet - from www.KFFL.com
    Fri, 21 Jul 2006 21:14:23 -0700

    The Star Tribune reports Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress and Vikings QB Brad Johnson will meet Saturday, July 22. The meeting is not believed to be related to Johnson's contract status; Johnson's $1.2 million salary is the lowest among veteran NFL starters. Childress said that Johnson will not be among the veterans selected to report Thursday, July 27, to training camp at Minnesota State Mankato.

    Vikings | Team does not expect a holdout from Johnson - from www.KFFL.com
    Fri, 21 Jul 2006 15:54:09 -0700

    The Associated Press reports the Minnesota Vikings do not expect QB Brad Johnson to be a training camp holdout as Johnson's $1.2 million salary this season is far below the standard for starting quarterbacks. "I know he's a professional," Vikings head coach Brad Childress said. "I don't expect that to be an issue. I think he's genuinely excited about coming in and having the opportunity to be a starter at this stage of his career -- and obviously it's with merit. He put them on a nice run last year." "I think he'll tell you that he's very excited to start the new season with all these new players," team owner Zygi Wilf added. "I'm sure he's excited to have a front line that will protect him during the upcoming season."

    Vikings | Team not planning to increase B. Johnson’s salary - from www.KFFL.com
    Thu, 20 Jul 2006 21:05:19 -0700

    Kevin Seifert, of the Star Tribune, reports the Minnesota Vikings have indicated no plans to raise QB Brad Johnson's salary to league norms for starting quarterbacks. Johnson is scheduled to make $1.2 million this season, a figure that would make him the NFL's lowest-paid veteran starter. Team owner Zygi Wilf predicted Thursday, July 20, that Johnson will report to training camp happily and expressed no concerns about Johnson's contract status. A holdout is considered unlikely, but Johnson's agent, Phil Williams, repeatedly has declined comment on the issue. Wilf said he had not spoken directly to Johnson. "I think he is happy with the fact that we have a good team going forward and he's our starting quarterback," Wilf said. "He's very excited to be in that role. I won't comment on financial or contract issues, but I think he'll tell you that he's very excited to start the new season with all these new players. I'm sure he's excited to have a front line that will protect him during the upcoming season."

    Vikings | Johnson surprised team hasn't restructured contract - from www.KFFL.com
    Thu, 20 Jul 2006 08:25:30 -0700

    KSTP.com reports multiple NFL sources said Minnesota Vikings QB Brad Johnson is surprised he has not been approached by the team about restructuring his contract now that he has taken over as the team's No. 1 quarterback. He previously signed a four-year deal with the team with the salary structure of a backup. While he's currently paid $1 million annually, he plans to honor his contract and be ready for the start of training camp.

    Vikings | Team not indicating that it plans to adjust B. Johnson’s contract - from www.KFFL.com
    Sun, 2 Jul 2006 09:01:49 -0700

    Kevin Seifert, of the Star Tribune, reports the Minnesota Vikings are giving no indication that they plan to adjust QB Brad Johnson's $1.2 million salary. He is currently the league's lowest-paid veteran starter and has at least 36 quarterbacks scheduled to earn more during than 2006 season than him. In May, Johnson said that "over time those things just take care of themselves." However, he declined to comment on the situation this week through his agent, Phil Williams. Johnson is currently locked into backup salaries through the 2008 season when it is believed he will be their starter for at least the next two seasons.

    Vikings | B. Johnson not concerned about income - from www.KFFL.com
    Sun, 14 May 2006 20:38:30 -0700

    Judd Zulgad, of the Star Tribune, reports Minnesota Vikings QB Brad Johnson signed a four-year contract worth $6 million to be a backup quarterback for the team. The salary is modest for a starting quarterback, but Johnson is not concerned about his income. He said, "I love playing the game. I've been a part of different situations all through my career. I've been a rookie free agent, I've been traded, I've been a free agent. I've dealt with different contracts and different situations and over time those things just take care of themselves. Usually that's just the way I play things out."

    Vikings | Childress impressed with B. Johnson - from www.KFFL.com
    Thu, 23 Feb 2006 19:01:27 -0800

    Sid Hartman, of the Star Tribune, reports Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress said he was very impressed in his recent visit with QB Brad Johnson, who flew in for the specific purpose of getting to know the new Vikings coach. Johnson was equally impressed by Childress. "We used to steal their plays when he was in Philadelphia (and) I was in Tampa," Johnson aid. "We watched all their stuff." There have been rumors that former head coach Mike Tice promised Johnson he would get him out of the contract if he had a chance to become a starter elsewhere. However, Vikings' Director of Football Administration Dave Blando, who signed Johnson to his current contract last March, has contended in previous conversations before the present administration came in that he was not informed of any such agreement and that Johnson's agent would have mentioned that if it was true.

    Vikings | Agent says B. Johnson not looking for a trade - from www.KFFL.com
    Thu, 5 Jan 2006 18:33:52 -0800

    Don Seeholzer, of the Pioneer Press, reports agent Phil Williams denied a story that said Minnesota Vikings QB Brad Johnson told the team if he is not their starting quarterback in 2006 he wants to be traded. "I don't know exactly what was said, but I know Brad's never used those words," Williams said Thursday, Jan. 5. "He wants to be a starter, no question, and he should be. There's nothing more to it than that." Williams confirmed that Johnson talked with Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski but said he was unaware of exactly what was said. With three years remaining on the four-year contract he signed last offseason, Johnson's future is in the hands of the Vikings, whether he returns as the starter or backup. Williams said Johnson believes he has three or four more years of football left in him and that the situation will sort itself out.

    Vikings | B. Johnson wants to keep playing - from www.KFFL.com
    Sat, 31 Dec 2005 10:43:44 -0800

    Don Seeholzer, of the Pioneer Press, reports Minnesota Vikings QB Brad Johnson will turn 38 next September, but Johnson has no plans to hang up his helmet any time soon. "I keep myself in shape, and I'd like to play three or four more years," he said. "I have some bruises and things but nothing major."



  8. #8
    Freya's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    Spin, spin, spin.
    Design reporting. Intended to generate ideas and opinions.
    I mean seriously......."indications", "reading between the lines", "remains unclear", "could", "might" and so on.......means they don't know nothing, much less anything new.

    It can't possibly be that slow of a day at the office after yesterday's game.

    Frankly, I'd rather read
    "Rex is our hero" articles..............hehehehe


    Personally, I don't think there is intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?

  9. #9
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    I personally think they should do something about it soon.. The last thing they need in Minnesota is another distraction.. We are playing good football, and it needs to continue that way..

    It has to be a slap in the face to BJ to be paid lower then alot of backups in the league.. He is much better then they are, and he has alot to show for it.. For example, he is paid lower then both Jon Kitna, and Josh McCown, and plays much better then both of them.. They should really address this before it becomes something much more then it needs to be..

  10. #10
    Zeus's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's contract could be distraction for Vikings

    "VikesfaninWis" wrote:
    I personally think they should do something about it soon.. The last thing they need in Minnesota is another distraction.. We are playing good football, and it needs to continue that way..

    It has to be a slap in the face to BJ to be paid lower then alot of backups in the league.. He is much better then they are, and he has alot to show for it.. For example, he is paid lower then both Jon Kitna, and Josh McCown, and plays much better then both of them.. They should really address this before it becomes something much more then it needs to be..
    So what?
    He signed the contract knowing that he might become the starter.
    And now he is - so Zygi should instantly pay him more?
    What if Zygi tosses, say, $5million more his way and he gets hurt the next week?
    Would you call on BJ to give that money back?
    Because then it's certainly a SLAP IN THE FACE to Zygi for giving an injured player starter money.

    =Z=

    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

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