Bouman Finds It Not So Easy In N.O.

When Todd Bouman made his push to Mike Tice to get out of Minnesota, it was to compete for a starting job. Now it looks like he could be in a battle just to hold down a No. 2 post.

Todd Bouman had big plans when he surfaced as a starter for the Vikings over the last couple of years. Having led the Vikings to victory in 2001, Bouman had hoped to get a shot at starting. But, knowing the Vikes were committed to Daunte Culpepper, he asked to be traded or released.

He got the former, being traded this spring to the Saints. At first, it seemed like a questionable team for Bouman, since the Saints already have Aaron Brooks. However, with late-season arm problems the last two years, it would be easy to envision Bouman as a potential starter.

But that was then. A very good source of VU's with the Saints said the team is strongly considering picking up recently released QB Akili Smith -- the former No. 1 draft pick who was taken in the same draft that included QBs Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Culpepper, Brooks and Shaun King -- not to mention assorted busts like Cade McNown.

Will Bouman find a starting job with the Saints? Not unless Brooks gets hurt. Now his main job will be fighting off Smith for the No. 2 spot.

* Remember Kevin Dyson? He holds the distinction of being the only wide receiver taken in the 1998 draft ahead of Randy Moss. While Moss has a near-lifetime deal with the Vikings, Dyson was allowed to leave the Titans via free agency -- despite a major lack of talent at the position -- and he signed with the Panthers. The problem? He tore his Achilles this week and is gone for the season. VU has taken great sport at the Dyson selection -- at least nobody else who passed on Moss took a wide receiver. For the record, since being drafted in 1998, Moss has played in all 80 games his team has played, 414 catches for 6,743 yards and 61 touchdowns. Dyson, on the other hand, has played in 58 games, catching 176 passes for 2,310 yards and 18 TDs. Ouch, babe.
* Remember Terrell Suggs? The guy the Vikings passed on is being passed over at Ravens minicamp. Suggs has been suffering back spasms all camp and forced himself to the sidelines.

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