Wide Receiver Being Connected to Vikings

A receiver waiting on free agency is expecting the Vikings to be among the teams making a play for him.

The Vikings would like to retain the services of wide receivers Koren Robinson and Nate Burleson, but keeping both of them may be tricky. Robinson, who seems to attach more loyalty to former Vikings coach Mike Tice than he does the organization, has had his agent in talks with the Vikings, although it appears he is likely to test the free agent market.

The Vikings do hold the trump card with the unrestricted free agent, however, being able to match any offer Robinson receives, although they wouldn't receive any compensation if they don't match. So it's easy to see why Robinson would want to test the market and see if he can drive his price above what the Vikings have already offered.

Burleson, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent whom the Vikings tendered a $712,000 salary for next year, a figure that carries with it a third-round choice as compensation if he receives an offer sheet from another team and the Vikings decline to match it.

If the Vikings do lose Burleson, the team could be in the market for a similar player—New England's David Givens, a free agent-to-be who is able to test the market for the first time in his career after four seasons with the New England Patriots.

The seventh-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2002 is their career leader in postseason touchdowns, including one in each of New England's three postseason games in 2004, and one in Super Bowl XXXIX the following year as well.

The Notre Dame alum has between 500 and 900 yards in each of his last three seasons with the Patriots.

Burleson had 455 and 328 yards in 2003 and 2005, respectively, but his 2004 production—yielding 1,006 yards—makes him appear to have more upside and more polish. And, considering Givens appears to be waiting for a bigger payday, much like Robinson, it could be mostly agent-speak why his name is surfacing in connection to the Vikings. They have salary-cap room and the Givens wants a bigger payday than the Patriots are willing to accommodate.

While Givens isn't talking, his agent has prepared a list of teams that likely would have an interest in him, and that list includes the Vikings, according to a story in the Boston Globe. Also included in that list are the Dolphins, Browns, 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals. The Vikings could be the leaders among those teams if they don't re-sign Burleson or Robinson.

Givens is considered a good possession receiver, with 32 catches in 2005 going for first downs, but he still isn't considered a receiver that can stretch the field or be a true No. 1 receiver. Burleson still appears to have that potential when healthy. Givens, meanwhile, is coming off a career-high 59-catch season that netted 738 yards last year, and his agent has been preparing him to spring into action quickly at the outset of the signing period, whenever that actually begins. Already, there have been two delays in the process and the future is still uncertain.

But when free agency does, indeed, start, Givens will be ready to hop a plane and start his free agency tour, and the Vikings could be among the teams he visits.


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