MINNEAPOLIS -- At the Minnesota Football Honors program the night after the conclusion of the NFL draft, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said the team had focused in on a number of undrafted free agents. The Vikings, he said, planned to spend larger portions of their rookie free-agent pool on a few players, rather than offering smaller signing bonuses to a broad group of players.
Now that the contract details are available for many of those players, we can see that approach in action.
The Vikings doled out $10,000 signing bonuses to Virginia safety Anthony Harris and Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke, according to ESPN Stats & Information, also offering $10,000 base salary guarantees for this season. Notre Dame receiver DaVaris Daniels also got a $10,000 bonus.
The largest bonus the Vikings gave out last year was $8,000 to wide receiver Kain Colter, and none of the other 15 players the Vikings signed last year got more than $4,000. This year, with only 10 players in the undrafted free agent class, the Vikings gave larger slices of the pie to a few players.
Each team can spend up to $86,957 on signing bonuses for rookie free agents; according to ESPN Stats & Information, the Vikings have used $39,500 on five players. The contracts for four players (Tennessee cornerback Justin Coleman, Iowa State center Tom Farniok, BYU wide receiver Jordan Leslie and Boise State fullback Blake Renaud) are not yet available. A fifth player -- Saginaw Valley State guard Jesse Somsel -- was already released.
Here are the Vikings' rookie free-agent bonus amounts so far:
Anthony Harris: $10,000 (plus $10,000 base salary guarantee in 2015)
Taylor Heinicke: $10,000 (plus $10,000 base salary guarantee in 2015)
DaVaris Daniels: $10,000
Gavin Lutman: $7,500
Bobby Vardaro: $2,000