It's Time to Play the Game

The Vikings are scheduling visits for a handful of college prospects. But how many -- if any -- will end up being Vikings two weeks from now?

You have to give the Vikings some credit. They have learned to play the pre-draft game with the rest of the league.

In the infant stages of the Mike Tice Adminstration, the media was alerted to their every plan and move. It was NFL glasnost – as opposed to the bunker mentality of Denny Green. That lasted one year. The following year, someone in the position to make the call said, "let's throw out a red herring." The Vikings brought in one player for an individual workout – defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy – even though hindsight has told us that the team was sold on Kevin Williams. Granted, they were right in their assessment and, despite the debacle that brought him to the Vikes, they sent a message to those willing to pay attention. What message? We'll smokescreen our true intentions.

So it is that the Vikings will bring five players to Winter Park for personal interviews and workouts – each of which has an improbable chance of winding up in purple and gold. Let's take them individually.

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards. If he's still on the board at No. 7, the Cowboys will offer both of their first-round picks and apologize for Herschel Walker to take him. Long story short, he won't be around.

Running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. If one of the Big Three running backs still remains, it's more likely to be Cedric Benson. But, if Williams is still there, the Vikings' interest will be more directed to pimping Green out of a fourth-round pick to move up one spot to assure he gets the RB he so desperately needs.

Cornerback Adam "Pac Man" Jones. Aside from a kitsch nickname, what's the deal? The franchise has spent millions to get Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot. Are they going to give a $12 million signing bonus to a nickel back? Uh…no.

Defensive end Erasmus James. At best, they're looking at him as a candidate at No. 18. When healthy, he's a blue-chip prospect. But keeping him healthy was a problem in college and, considering the Vikings being the first team to jump on Kenechi Udeze's bandwagon, it's highly unlikely they would do the same twice in two years.

Defensive end Justin Tuck. His stock is rising, but nowhere near either of the Vikings' first-round picks. Unless they plan to make a deal to move into the very end of the first round or early in the second round, this face to face is curious at best.

As it stands now, a handful of players will be paying visits to Winter Park. Of those, with the exception of Edwards, whom the Vikings should snap in five seconds of being on the clock, none of them will end up Vikings. Why? They're playing the game.

* After a couple of weeks of discussion, attorney Bill Busch has finally spoken out on a proposal by a Minnesota legislator to create a system to penalize Red McCombs for making a profit on the Vikings. Busch said that if the proposed sale of the Vikings goes through, McCombs will pay $7-12 million to the state. Sen. Dick Day (R, Owatonna) has pontificated that McCombs should pay upwards of $25 million. Apparently, Red made the right choice to cut off lobbying efforts.
* Kelly Campbell has yet to be charged for his drug arrest in which a gun was found in his vehicle. The local authorities have a decent explanation. On the day Campbell was to be charged, a felon in Fulton County went on a shooting spree that brought the local courthouse to lockdown mode. Campbell may well fall through the cracks as a result.

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