Vikings Could Be Target of Draft Trade

The Vikings are becoming the talk of an NFL war room half a country away, as the Oakland Raiders look to assess the 2002 draft crop and make a move that could impact the Vikings draft.

It started out as a rumor that, at first look, made sense, but wasn't taken seriously.

Apparently, Al Davis wants to be taken seriously.

Davis, the colorful owner of the Oakland Raiders, wants a top-flight defensive tackle. However, picking at Nos. 21 and 23, the current draft climate has all of the players viewed as top defensive tackle prospects -- Tennessee's John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth, Wisconsin's Wendell Bryant and North Carolina's Ryan Sims -- long gone before the Raiders get to use the first of four picks obtained for letting Jon Gruden go to Tampa.

That's where the Vikings come in. Seeing as the first five selections in next month's draft don't include a defensive tackle -- most see the Texans taking QB David Carr, Carolina taking DE Julius Peppers, Detroit taking CB Quentin Jammer or SS Roy Williams, Buffalo taking QB Joey Harrington or OT Bryant McKinnie and San Diego taking McKinnie or OT Mike Williams -- the Raiders are confident they could get the best defensive tackle on the board at pick No. 6 or later.

Why be concerned about the top five picks? The cost of signing a blue-chip rookie drops by about $1 million a pick in the first 10 selections over the course of a five-year rookie contract, so the farther the Raiders can slide down, the more money that can be saved.

That's where the Vikings come in. With Dallas spending millions on La'Roi Glover to fill a DT void on its team, the Vikings would be the first team seen as targeting a DT in the first round of the draft. From what we're hearing, the Raiders might be willing to part with both of their first-round picks to jump up 14 slots from their first pick and grab the player they want most -- likely Henderson.

While a potential trade may have to wait until closer to draft day, VU is being told that the Raiders are targeting the Cowboys and Vikings for those picks and that both Dallas and Minnesota are interested.

We'll follow up on this for any further details.

* The elements may have kept Byron Chamberlain from potentially ending his Vikings career. Ealier this week, Mike Tice had said if Chamberlain got on a plane to Detroit, any previous contract negotiations would be ended and, if they were to resume, they would start anew. Chamberlain was scheduled to leave for Detroit Thursday evening, but more than a foot of snow fell in Minnesota Thursday and it was unclear if Chamberlain's was one of the few planes to get out. The Lions are chasing hard after Chamberlain and, once he gets there, many think an offer will be made by the end of the weekend.
* The Lions remain busy in the free agent market other than just Chamberlain. The team signed three players Thursday, including former Packers WR Bill Schroeder and released Johnnie Morton -- a Viking killer over the years -- to create more cap space.
* One wide receiver the Vikings have targeted is Germane Crowell, late of the Lions. However, he is down in Tampa today looking to talk contract with Gruden and the Bucs.
* The Vikings are said to be turning their attention to cornerback, where it's likely they can get a much better deal than what the Saints gave Dale Carter. Names being mentioned include Artrell Hawkins of Cincinnati, Corey Chavous of Arizona and Brian Kelly of Tampa Bay.
* The Vikings have apparently dropped out of consideration for Bengals DE Reinard Wilson, instead looking to target Keith McKenzie or Sean Moran.
* What is it with the Vikings and Cleveland? Corey Fuller, Foge Fazio, Derrick Alexander, Stalin Colinet, Dwayne Rudd and Robert Griffith are all former Vikings with the Browns organization and, if not for his ill-timed remarks, perhaps Cris Carter would have joined Denny Green's son Jeremy with the Browns. The latest word is that Cleveland may bring in Ed McDaniel at a veteran minimum to play linebacker. Who would think that a team trying to build a champion by bolstering its defense would take so many component parts from the Vikings, seen as one of the worst defenses in the league for several years.
* In a housekeeping move, the Vikings exercised their option on the contract of Randy Moss, which kicks in a signing bonus for the remainder of his contract. He will get a check for $8 million next March, but it could have come sooner. Had the Vikings opted out of the deal, they would have owed Moss an immediate $8 million -- the price of a contract buyout if he was to be placed on waivers this year.

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