Thanks to AFC West colleague Bill Williamson, we've known for a few hours that the Minnesota Vikings were likely to make tight end John Carlson their first free-agent signing. And now ESPN's Adam Schefter has confirmed Carlson agreed to a five-year deal worth $25 million during a visit Wednesday.
Carlson is a Minnesota native and figures to team with fellow Notre Dame alumnus Kyle Rudolph to form a potent set of pass-catching tight ends. One of general manager Rick Spielman's top goals is to surround young quarterback Christian Ponder with more playmakers in the passing game, and that can be accomplished through the addition of a tight end as easily as a wide receiver.
The question on Carlson is his health, which the Vikings presumably checked out in great detail before finalizing Wednesday's agreement. He missed all of last season with the Seattle Seahawks because of a torn labrum, and he hasn't played since suffering a scary concussion during the Seahawks' 2010 divisional playoff game at Soldier Field.
It was the third concussion Carlson has suffered in his football career, according to reports at the time, and he was taken off the field in an ambulance. We have our fair share of experience with concussions here in the NFC North, but at this point we have to defer to the Vikings' medical staff as it relates to Carlson.