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Vikings Sign McMahon for Two Years

March 25, 1993|BILL PLASCHKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PALM DESERT — The Minnesota Vikings added what could be the final piece to their playoff team--an attitude--by signing free-agent quarterback Jim McMahon here Wednesday.

"Jim McMahon doesn't take any . . . from anybody, and I don't take any . . . from anybody," Viking Coach Dennis Green said at a sometimes confrontational interview session.

McMahon turns 34 next season but will become the starting quarterback for a team that struggled late last season while alternating Rich Gannon and Sean Salisbury. For the last three seasons, McMahon has backed up Randall Cunningham with the Philadelphia Eagles. McMahon has averaged only six starts a season since 1985.

The Vikings, though, are more interested in his 58-20 record, and his 27-5 record against Central Division teams. They are giving him a two-year contract worth up to $6 million with incentives for games played.

"Last year we were not really settled at quarterback," Green said. "This is an ideal time for us to go to Jim McMahon. He's a smart quarterback . . . and he's a winner."

He is also the same person who blew his nose on a reporter in San Diego, mooned a helicopter in New Orleans, and generally caused havoc while leading the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl championship after the 1985 season.

"You have to look at the fact that McMahon was around 27 years old when some of these things happened," Green said. "His off-the-field conduct is now fine, and I challenge somebody to say otherwise."

NFL Notes

The San Francisco 49ers entered the Reggie White sweepstakes after losing defensive end Pierce Holt to the Atlanta Falcons. Holt, a restricted free agent, signed a three-year guaranteed contract worth $7.5 million. The 49ers did not match it because they did not want to guarantee the money and perhaps because only by losing Holt could they pursue White, the Eagles' defensive end. A rule in the new labor agreement states that playoff teams this season cannot sign a free agent unless they lose one.

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