Preparing For Draft-Day Dealings

A league source details a number of draft-day scenarios he sees evidence the Vikings are preparing for to ensure that they come out of the draft filling their needs, and he says the Vikings are nurturing relationships with other teams to help their cause.

Realizing that most of their off-season free-agent objectives have been met, the Vikings front office is now in the mode of exclusively preparing for the NFL draft. Not that the organization hasn't been in preparation over the past two-months, but the focus has greatly increased over the past two weeks.

Visiting college campuses all over the country, head coach Mike Tice and company have a definitive interest in the continued enhancement of the Vikings defensive line.

"Our objective heading into the off-season was to get better on both sides of the ball," Tice said this week. "We are comfortable with what we have done in free agency and we are preparing for the draft. We do not expect to be drafting with the seventh pick again anytime soon.

"The talent at the defensive line positions, especially at the tackle spot is very good."

With the seventh selection in the first round, the Vikings may have the opportunity to draft a player that fills a void within the roster. Reports throughout the media have expressed the Vikings' liking of defensive tackles Jimmy Kennedy from Penn State and Dewayne Robertson of Kentucky. While these two players have been consistently linked to the Vikings, another name is quietly garnering the attention of the Minnesota front office.

"If something out of the ordinary or the unexpected were to transpire on draft day, the Vikings may either trade out of the seventh pick or go in another direction if the players they are locked in on are off the board," a source told this column. "At this time, we know that Robertson is their guy, followed by Kennedy and (Johnathan) Sullivan, the defensive tackle from Georgia. There is an outside chance that Robertson and Kennedy may be off the board, which will lead to some quick and serious discussions on which path the Vikings may take.

"Some jockeying on draft day could lead the Vikings towards wide receiver Andre Johnson from Miami or even quarterback Kyle Boller from California. While we doubt the quarterback selection, there has been some interest."

The seventh selection in the draft has drawn interest from a few teams in the past weeks. The New Orleans Saints are a team that has been rumored to be in discussions with the Vikings to trade up for the selection. Holding the 17th and 18th selections in the first round, the Saints are in position to make a run at the Vikings for a deal.

"Without a doubt there is a relationship developed between the Vikings and Saints that could lead to some further activity in the upcoming days, but most likely on draft day," a league source said. "New Orleans desperately wants to move up in the draft, they have taken a long serious look at players on both sides of the ball."

Keeping the seventh selection or trading the pick has been the holding pattern regarding thoughts on the Vikings, but there is a possibility that has gone virtually unnoticed. Would the Vikings be willing to trade up in the draft to select the one player that has them excited?

The answer to the question from a league source is a resounding yes.

"If Minnesota feels that they will not be able to land the one player that they have their sights set on, they will attempt to wheel and deal to get into that position," the source said. "From everything that we have gathered, at this time many within the organization believe that one player is defensive tackle Dewayne Roberson."

"Keep an eye on Minnesota and Dallas. There have been some overtones to lead us to believe that something could be in the works. Don't buy into the thoughts that Minnesota owner Red McCombs will put the brakes on having to dole out another $10 million signing bonus. If the Vikings feel that Roberson or any other player is worthy of moving up, it will happen."

Viking Update Top Stories