Signaling that he fits into their long-term plans at least as the primary backup and possibly a starter at some point in the future, the Minnesota Vikings have signed quarterback Brooks Bollinger to a two-year contract extension through the 2008 season.
Bollinger, 26, was acquired from the New York Jets last Friday in a trade, was entering the final season of his contract, and would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency next spring without the extension. Details of the two-year add-on were not immediately available.
The deal with Bollinger is key, because it secures the backup spot behind starter Brad Johnson, who turns 38 later this month, and provides the Vikings further time to develop rookie Tarvaris Jackson, a second-round choice in this year's draft. The Minnesota coaches like Jackson, who played at Alabama State and was a bit of a surprise selection in the second stanza, but did not feel he was ready yet to assume the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
Minnesota had been seeking an experienced backup to serve behind Johnson, and Bollinger is a player that first-year head coach Brad Childress knew well. Childress was the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin in 1999, when Bollinger was recruited. Even though Bollinger redshirted as a freshman, he had plenty of exposure to Childress before the coach left for the NFL the following season.
Bollinger is a fourth-year veteran who had a solid training camp for the Jets, but who lost out in the numbers game at the quarterback position. He has completed 155 of 275 passes for 1,618 yards, with seven touchdown passes, six interceptions and a passer rating of 73.0. A very good athlete, Bollinger has run for 137 yards on 36 carries.
Edwards, 27, fills Minnesota's need for another experienced and versatile lineman. In four seasons with the Bears, the former Central Florida standout appeared in 38 games with 24 starts. Sixteen of his starts came in the 2003 season. Edwards can play guard and tackle and has started at both spots.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.