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Updated: May 14th, 2013 12:01pm
Vikings sign three draft picks, will spend most of pool on 1st round

Vikings sign three draft picks, will spend most of pool on 1st round

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Vikings have begun signing their draft picks, a little sooner than last year.

Linebacker Gerald Hodges posted a photo of himself on Twitter signing his contract late Thursday morning at Winter Park.

"Happiest moment of my life," the fourth-round draft pick tweeted.

Hodges' contract is for four years and $2,580,108 with a signing bonus of $420,108, an NFL source said.

Prorated, the bonus and Hodges' $405,000 base salary counts $510,027 against the Vikings' 2013 cap -- precisely the maximum amount allotted for the 120th overall draft pick, according to sources with access to the numbers distributed by the NFL Players Association.

The Vikings confirmed the signing of Hodges on Thursday afternoon and announced they've also signed two seventh-round picks, linebacker Michael Mauti and defensive tackle Everett Dawkins.

Details on the deals signed by Mauti (the No. 213 overall pick) and Dawkins (No. 229) weren't immediately available, though if they also got the maximum, the NFLPA formula says their signing bonuses on standard four-year deals would be $62,728 and $50,352, respectively.

The signings come eight days before the Vikings got started on rookie signings last year, when six of the 10 deals were announced on May 22. Many NFL teams are getting a jump start, thanks to a collective-bargaining agreement that has significantly reduced the room for negotiation.

With nine draft picks, including three first-rounders, the Vikings have the NFL's seventh-highest rookie salary pool for 2013 -- a maximum first-year cap spend of $6,849,789 and a minimum of $6,310,060, according to the NFLPA. Their total rookie allocation is $37,673,840.

The players selected in the same nine spots last year received deals that were to count a total of $6,714,929 against the cap in the first year, with $12,819,716 in signing bonuses and $36,333,170 in maximum value.

Nearly two-thirds of the first-year allocation will be devoted to the Vikings' three first-round draft picks: defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (No. 23 overall), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (No. 25) and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (No. 29).

The player drafted No. 23 last year, Detroit tackle Riley Reiff, received a four-year, $7,993,700 contract that included a $4,253,600 signing bonus and $6,513,650 fully guaranteed with no offset language in the first three years.

New England linebacker Dont'a Hightower, drafted No. 25 overall, got a four-year, $7,724,002 deal with a $4,057,456 bonus and $6,280,729 fully guaranteed. Vikings safety Harrison Smith, drafted 29th, got a four-year, $7,138,546 deal with a $3,631,672 bonus and $5,775,109 fully guaranteed.

The Vikings also made one pick in the fifth round (punter Jeff Locke, No. 155 overall), one in the sixth (guard Jeff Baca, No. 196) and another in the seventh (tackle Travis Bond, No. 214).

They signed eight of their 10 draft picks by June 1 last year. Cornerback Josh Robinson signed on July 25 and left tackle Matt Kalil on July 26, the day players reported to training camp.

The Vikings were $7.428 million under their adjusted salary cap entering Tuesday. Only the top 51 contracts count in the offseason, so the Vikings should have upwards of $4.2 million in cap space after signing their draft picks.

Pick by pick

The following are the year-one formula maximum and minimum allotments for each of the Vikings' picks, according to the NFLPA:

1. (23) Sharrif Floyd ($1,468,400 maximum, $1,230,364 minimum)
1. (25) Xavier Rhodes ($1,419,364 maximum, $1,230,364 minimum)
1. (29) Cordarrelle Patterson ($1,312,918 maximum, $1,230,364 minimum)
4. (120) Gerald Hodges ($510,027 maximum, $501,413 minimum)
5. (155) Jeff Locke ($451,048 maximum, $445,075 minimum)
6. (196) Jeff Baca ($429,150 maximum, $423,058 minimum)
7. (213) Michael Mauti ($420,682 maximum, $416,474 minimum)
7. (214) Travis Bond ($420,612 maximum, $416,474 minimum)
7. (229) Everett Dawkins ($417,588 maximum, $416,474 minimum)

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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