Buffalo and San Diego.
Those teams have little to do with the Vikings -- no history, no rivalry, rare opponents.
However, those two franchises may go a long way to determining the future of the Vikings franchise -- at least in the short-term.
As of today, it looks like Buffalo is going to by-pass taking QB Joey Harrington in the first round of Saturday's NFL draft. If that happens, all indications are the Bills will grab OT Mike Williams. With the next pick, San Diego is expected to take OT Bryant McKinnie. The only certainty is that San Diego, if it stays at No. 5, will take an offensive tackle.
If that scenario plays out, the Vikings' decision on Saturday could be made much simpler. The Vikings will have a hard time passing up Williams or McKinnie if they fall to No. 7. However, the third-rated offensive tackle -- Levi Jones -- isn't viewed as a top 10 selection, so, for all intents, if those two are gone, the Vikings won't look at OT in the first round at the No. 7 slot.
Harrington could change all that if Buffalo is convinced that it has no chance to sign Jeff Blake or trade for Drew Bledsoe. Williams visited Winter Park last week and both he and the team were mutually impressed. The Vikes would love to see him available to make their decision-making process more difficult, but, as it stands now, it looks like both will be gone before Jerry Jones can find a way to botch up Dallas' chances by trading down out of the No. 6 spot.
* With more teams closing down the free agent shop in lieu of the draft, one player the Vikings have shown some interest in -- LB Warrick Holdman -- is apparently close to having an offer sheet prepared by Kansas City. Like D'Wayne Bates, the Bears failed to mark the appropriate box to keep Holdman, which means if he is signed, Chicago would get no compensation. Why is this of interest to the Vikes? If the Chiefs make a reasonable offer and the Bears try to pull another fast one, the Vikings would be in front of K.C. in the waiver pecking order, but this time expect either the Bears to match and keep Holdman or reject the offer sheet completely and not be embarrassed as they were in the Bates fiasco.
* While Dallas is said to be extremely interested in safety Roy Williams, there is some discussion that he may last until the 11th pick and Indianapolis -- if not farther. At VU, we're not convinced Williams will make it past Dallas. If he does, Oakland may step up with multiple picks -- both first-rounders and perhaps more -- to get in the Vikes' slot at No. 7. Regardless of who is gone at No. 7, expect to hear that the Vikes got plenty of offers to move down, because the draft is top-heavy with can't-miss talent, but that would seem to end about 12 picks into the draft.
OT Off the Table?
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