With The Seventh Pick ...

After a year of preparing for the 2003 draft, the Vikings appear to have their rankings set. And, according to a league source, the Vikings now know who is their top target and who comes in second.

The cards have yet to be dealt. The clock has yet to strike 12 (Eastern), but the witching hour is almost upon us. The Vikings know exactly which player they want with the seventh selection in the 2003 NFL draft.

Throughout all the smoke and mirror acts within league circles, the Vikings will be coming out of the closet with their latest and greatest draft pick.

Well, there is only one problem -- they will if the player is available. His name is: Not Slim Shady, not even slim, it is big, bad, middle-of-the-defensive-line beast Jimmy Kennedy, according to a league source.

"The Kennedy kid from Penn State has been at or near the top of the Vikings' draft board since day one. He is the best defensive tackle on the draft and he has the potential to be better than 95 percent of the tackles in the league today," the source said. "They (Vikings) have bounced back and forth between Kennedy and Dewayne Robertson. In the end the Vikings are looking at the right player.

"If Kennedy is off the board, they would select Robertson, after that a trade looks like the next best option. But, right now Kennedy is the first choice and Robertson is second."

A team source indicates to The Insiders that they are closer to locking in on their top choice, but talks continue with other teams in the days leading up to the draft.

"We believe that we have a consensus on the player that we would like to select. With that comes a contingency plan in the event that the player has been selected though," the team source said. "I can't tell you what we intend on doing. This is the time of the year, the part of the process where anything can happen and happen quickly. The potential to move up, trade down, or stay put is greater this time around than in any time that I can remember, but the price to move up is high, and for us to move down it would have to be a blockbuster."

"Also, we won't have an issue as we did last year, where we had a proposed offer made to us that we did not all know about."

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