Matching Wants With Draft Position

As draft day approaches, the Vikings are saying they are content to hold onto the seventh pick. However, we do know of other teams that would like to trade up to that selection and we know the players they covet. Putting the two together is what makes this time of year interesting.

The clock is ticking and if you listen to what is coming from the Vikings organization, they are quite content on keeping the seventh selection in the 2003 NFL draft. Another $10 million signing bonus in the offing awaits on the Vikings doorstep.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to listen though.

Not that we would ever claim that an organization isn't on the up and up, but there is an element of strategy and posturing in every word that comes from an organization, especially at this time of year. Sure, we know that the Vikings haven't discussed the possibility of trading up in the draft to select a player that may be climbing the draft charts quickly. Nor have the Vikings tinkered with the idea of trading down to save themselves an enormous signing bonus situation, while accumulating additional draft selections.

There is one thing that you can bank on, the seventh position in the NFL draft is going to be a selection that is, has, will continue to draw a significant amount of interest as draft day approaches. On draft day, the stakes will be raised and the odds are something on the lines of a deal could transpire.

"Minnesota is in a precarious position, they really are. They really have shown a strong interest in defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson. They also have looked at Jimmy Kennedy. One player that nobody really has tied to Minnesota is Andre Johnson," a league source said. "The Vikings have looked in many directions while scouting players over the past few months, nothing will come as a surprise. Being said, Chicago appears to be the team the Vikings have to worry about in their potential quest for Robertson. Word escaping from the Windy City is that Robertson is in a dead-heat with Terrell Suggs on the Bears draft board at number four."

"The latest information that we have received is that the Baltimore Ravens are looking at the Vikings' seventh pick in the first round. Baltimore is hot on the trail of a quarterback. While some personnel people in the league say Byron Leftwich is the guy that they want, we are hearing Kyle Boller has caught the eye of the Ravens personnel department."

While numerous teams have reportedly expressed an interest in trading up in the draft, it has been the Vikings, steadfast as ever, holding their position on the draft. There has been no talk coming out of the Vikings organization regarding the rumors of trade talks. Nor has there been any substantiated information to back the claims that the Vikings want to move out of the position.

"It is that time of the year where people throw many rumors out there to see what sticks. In our case, we have a good idea of what we want to do and what players we are looking at with our pick in the first round," a team source said. "We are not seeking a trade. We haven't approached any team about that possibility. As we continue to evaluate the options and project the scenarios that we might see, we'll get a better read on our situation.

"At this time we do not see any reason for us to trade the pick, either up or down. We will be proactive as we continue to build this team."

On the rumored trade front, the Jets, Saints, and Ravens all have appeared on the Vikings' radar screen. In the case of the Jets, they are looking at Andre Johnson, and indications are they will have to trade into the top six selections to get the receiver.

The Saints have shown a very strong interest in Robertson, Kennedy, and offensive tackle Jordan Gross and could acquire one of the three by dealing with the Vikings … some talks that have taken this one to the "more than just a rumor" stage.

We have talked about the Ravens. The jury may be out on which player they want, but the position targeted is quarterback. If they can't or don't want to trade up to basically secure a quarterback, the odds are that they we still have the opportunity to draft Leftwich at number 10 ( Jacksonville is hot on the trail of Boller with the eighth selection).

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