The Vikings have signed free-agent wide receiver Bernard Berrian. FoxSports.com says the deal is for six years. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the deal is worth $42 million with $16 million guaranteed.
The Vikings had been courting Berrian since yesterday and finally got the deal finished Saturday afternoon. He was scheduled for a 7 p.m. press conference. Scout.com first reported the Vikings' interest in Berrian at the NFL Scouting Combine last week.
The Chicago Bears declined to put the franchise tag on him, which would have paid him $7,848,000 for one year. Instead, his six-year contract is believed to average about $7 million per season. Berrian's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said last Saturday at the Combine that he expected Berrian to reach the free-agent market since Chicago declined to use the franchise tag on him.
"Obviously, I'm always happy when a player doesn't get franchised because I don't like the franchise tag," Rosenhaus said.
Last year, the Bears franchised linebacker Lance Briggs, and it didn't sit well with him. He said he was prepared to sit out the season, but ended up showing up to training camp without missing significant time. Rosenhaus said he wasn't sure if that played a decision in the Bears' decision to not franchise Berrian.
Last year, the Vikings courted wide receiver Kevin Curtis heavily but eventually lost out to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Vikings said they actually offered Curtis a better deal than the Eagles. In 2007, Curtis' cap number was $6,333,333.
Several other teams were interested in Berrian, but the Vikings continued to work through contract details on Saturday and Berrian didn't board a reported 3 p.m. flight he was schedule to catch for Oakland.
The last two years with the quarterback-poor Chicago Bears, Berrian has had 951 and 775 receiving yards, respectively, on 71 and 51 receptions. In 2007, he had five touchdowns and in 2006 he had seven.
Although not everyone considers Berrian a true No. 1 receiver, he will almost certainly assume that role with the Vikings, with Sidney Rice and slot receiver Bobby Wade also seeing significant action in the passing game.
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