The Minnesota Vikings signed second round pick Kyle Rudolph to his new rookie contract on Saturday, leaving just one first-year NFL player left to sign. That player however, first round pick Chris Ponder, remains unsigned heading into the opening of Monday’s training camp.
Rudolph, previously a standout tight end with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, tweeted a picture of himself signing the contract on Saturday while saying that he “Can’t thank Mr. Wilf, Mr. Brzezinski, Mr. Spielman and Coach Frazier enough for making me a Viking!”
ESPN 1500 reports that there are still a few later round draft picks that haven’t signed with the Vikings yet, but the big signing prior to Monday’s meeting in Mankato will be Ponder if it happens.
The Vikings’ trade for Donovan McNabb means there’s less pressure to get Ponder to camp in time for the first practice on Monday afternoon. But the Vikings also surely would like their top draft pick to get into meetings immediately and take the first-team snaps until McNabb is eligible to practice on Thursday.
No sense in falling behind, especially since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement all but forces agents hands to have their players sign a slotted deal rather than negotiate something on their own.