How Much Do Vikes Want Robertson?

The games are on! Jimmy Kennedy could well end up hoisting a purple jersey for a photo op because, as future RB draftee Justin Fargas' dad was wont to say, "The word on the streets is..."

In the football biz, every operation has sources. VU is no exception. Some are solid. Some stink. Others blow hot and cold.

Over the years, one of our Saints sources has been dead-on when it comes to his team's wish list and intentions. Long story short, he's a good friend for VU to have. He hipped us to Jake Reed, Andrew Glover and several other Saints mistakes over the years (all love, brother). But the latest golden nugget is one that could resonate through Winter Park...big time.

Last week, VU heard whispers that the Vikings may actually trade up to get DT Dewayne Robertson of Kentucky. While the plan still doesn't make a lot of sense to VU -- it would likely cost a third-round pick to move up two or three slots to assure they get him (and the incumbent addition to a signing bonus, right Red?) -- that's the chatter.

Where do the Saints come in? VU has been told that the Saints are also extremely high on Robertson and want to move up to get him. With the 16th and 17th picks in the first round, they can make such a move -- swinging a deal with Chicago or Dallas to get him. Perhaps that explains why the Vikings have been quietly talking the same story.

As it stands now, three offensive players are sure to be gone when the Vikings pick -- at least as the draft is currently shaping up. QB Carson Palmer and WRs Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson are being coveted by several teams. Throw in CB Terence Newman and the numbers are clear. At No. 7, the Vikings will have a shot at DE Terrell Suggs, Robertson or DT Jimmy Kennedy.

The question now becomes are the Vikings willing to do essentially a two-man draft -- trading their first and third picks to move up two or three slots to snag Robertson? From our view, if the Saints offer the 16-17 picks to the Bears, the Vikes are out of the running for Robertson. At that point, the lingering internal questions about Kennedy will come to the forefront.

The worst part about all of this speculation is that it will come down to a crucial hour on the first day of the draft. Robertson has become a hot property, and the Vikes will have about 30 minutes to trade down if he goes off the board. That's why the draft is fun. Teams go nuts in the heat of the moment. Why did the Chiefs part with a third-round pick last year to move up two spots? They knew the Vikes would take Ryan Sims. Thanks to unusual honesty and VU badgering, Frank Gilliam admitted on draft day 2002 that Sims was their guy, not Bryant McKinnie. Will someone move up in front of the Vikes if they're convinced Robertson is their guy in '03? Bet the house on it.

* VU again heard a Dumb and Dumber rumor that the Vikes might take QB Ryan Boller at No. 7. Two problems with that. First, would the Vikings give a $10 million signing bonus to a one-year college wonder when they have a three-year starter in the fold. Secondly, if they did, would Daunte Culpepper risk injury knowing he's an unrestricted free agent after this season? That, friends, is a recipe for disaster and one that, if chosen by the Vikings war room, should result in the firing of all of them.
* Marshall QB Byron Leftwich is conducting his draft workout today. VU hopes he wows the scouts. If so, the entire trade talk could become moot if the Bears or Cards think he's worthy of being taken with the first six picks.

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