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Paymah in line to be Vikings' nickel back

3/14/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
You might not have heard of Karl Paymah before the free agent market opened -- and we're looking in the mirror here -- but chances are he'll be Minnesota's nickel back in 2009 after agreeing to a one-year contract Saturday worth $1.55 million.

ESPN's John Clayton reports the deal could exceed $2 million if Paymah reaches all of his incentives. Those aren't dime back/special teams contributor numbers. That's what you pay a player who you consider a likely candidate to be your third cornerback.

The Vikings have also re-signed both players who held down the nickel job last year, Charles Gordon and Benny Sapp. Each signed one-year deals: Gordon for $530,000 (plus $500,000 in incentives) and Sapp for $841,000. So I doubt the Vikings would have pursued Paymah and paid him what they did if they didn't think he represented an upgrade.

Want to know more about Paymah the player? Here's Scouts Inc.'s analysis as the free agent market opened:

Paymah has been a career backup who has five starts in his four-year career, while in Denver. He has more value on special teams than he does as a cornerback. He shows above-average, straight-line speed on coverage and willingness to throw his body around with abandon. He is an adequate athlete for the cornerback position and has the size and strength to press receivers at the line of scrimmage. He is inconsistent in off coverage, does not show great route recognition and will bite on fakes. He is a little stiff in the hips and comes out his pedal in stages. He lacks the premier top-end burst of speed to catch up when receivers gain separation from him, but enough speed to shadow most receivers on go routes. He is Denver's No. 4 corner, but does not have enough explosive quickness or agility to start in the league. He is getting to the stage in his career that he will be fighting for a job every year.