With Visanthe Shiancoe a free agent, the Vikings got younger on Wednesday, signing free-agent tight end and Minnesota native John Carlson to a five-year, $25 million contract that includes $11 million in guaranteed money, according to what a source told Scout.com.
Carlson was scheduled to visit the Kansas City Chiefs during the first night of free agency, but the Vikings showed a willingness to outdo the Chiefs' overtures and Carlson agreed to the five-year contract.
He also drew interest from the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts.
Carlson didn't play last season due to a torn labrum in his shoulder, but during his first three years in the league with the Seattle Seahawks, he missed just one game, making 38 starts.
For his career, Carlson has hauled in 137 career passes for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had career highs of 55 catches for 627 yards in 2008, adding five touchdowns, and had another 51 receptions for 574 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns in 2009.
When Carlson does sign, combined with the emergence of 2011 second-round draft pick Kyle Rudolph, it will signal the end of the Shiancoe era in Minnesota. Shiancoe signed a five-year contract in 2007 that averaged $3.7 million per season with a $5 million signing bonus.
In five seasons with the Vikings, Shiancoe never missed a game, starting 66 of the 80 regular-season games he played. In 2009, he caught a career-high 56 passes and 11 touchdowns with Brett Favre at quarterback.
Upon news that Carlson was visiting the Vikings Wednesday morning, Shiancoe tweeted: "Good memories in minn ... especially '09!"
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
The Vikings will feature a pair of former Notre Dame tight ends this coming season with the addition…