Thompson makes deal with NFC North devil

A trade with Minnesota allows the Vikings to draft quarterback John David Booty, who has the potential to unseat erratic Tarvaris Jackson.

Ted Thompson made a trade on Sunday.

Shocking, I know.

But the big news here isn't that, for the first time in his nine years running drafts — five in Seattle, and this is his fourth in Green Bay — Thompson traded up. No, the shocker is that, later in the day, he dealt with the devil, er, the Minnesota Vikings.

Intra-division trades are about as rare as five-leaf clovers and $3 bills. But Thompson dealt the Packers' fifth-round pick (No. 137) for Vikings picks in the fifth round (No. 150, which was used on offensive tackle Breno Giacomini) and seventh round (No. 209).

With a dominating defensive line and the NFL's most dangerous running game, the Vikings are the top challengers to the Packers' NFC North throne. The Vikings have one enormous chink in their armor, though, and that's quarterback. Unless Tarvaris Jackson has an arm transplant, the Vikings' passing game will be about as successful as moving a cruise ship with oars.

That could change, though, and if it does, Thompson will have only himself to blame. With pick No. 137, Minnesota selected quarterback John David Booty, who led USC to back-to-back Rose Bowl wins.

"We don't do a lot of deals with anybody in our division, certainly not player for player and things like that," said Thompson. "In the draft, it's all numbers - draft slots. If they do a good job with the picks they receive from us and we do a good job from the picks we receive from them, it's not a big deal."

Booty isn't expected to be the second coming of Fran Tarkenton, but he's not chopped liver, either. He completed 63.2 percent of his passes as a senior and was expected to be selected in the third round, and scouts compare him to Trent Dilfer.

While that's not exactly high praise, Dilfer did win a Super Bowl by playing mistake-free football. If Booty can do that, and make just enough plays to take some of the heat off of Adrian Peterson, he'd be an upgrade over the erratic and mistake-prone Jackson.

"He's an extraordinary thrower. He's really got tremendous natural accuracy," USC coach Pete Carroll told reporters in Minneapolis on Sunday. "The reason he came to SC is he watched Matt Leinart and Matt Cassel battle it out in spring football when he was still in high school, and he said, ‘Shoot, I can throw better than those guys.' He was right. He's a tremendous passer. So, he's going to fit beautifully."

For his part, Booty didn't want to rock the boat, and said he's simply looking forward to practicing "my butt off and compete and try to do the best I can."

"I don't know. I have to get there and see, but I definitely think I have the ability to be a player in this league," Booty said when asked if he's capable of being an NFL starter. "It's been a dream my whole life to get this opportunity, and I have it now. I just want to make the most of it. But I think there's no question that I have the ability to play in the NFL."

If Booty can do more than simply "play in the NFL," this trade will be one Thompson and the Packers will regret for years.

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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