BETTER TO RECEIVE
As soon as wide receiver Koren Robinson's arrest for suspicion of drunk driving became public knowledge last week, the rumors started flying on the personnel front. The theory went that the Vikings were short on starting-caliber wide receivers and would need to go to the trade market to find one.
Robinson's arrest and prior record in the state of Washington make it likely that Robinson has seen his final days with the Vikings. If the league doesn't suspend him for violating the terms of his substance abuse agreement, he might simply be cut.
Asked if he needed to make a roster move in regards to Robinson, head coach Brad Childress said this week: "I don't know if I need to do anything. We'll just see how the thing goes and how the situation takes care of itself. We still need to let all of the municipalities weigh in. I need to hear from the NFL and the legal system."
That may be the case, but meanwhile the waiver wire and trade markets keep moving. Two of the most popular names being bandied around in the wide receiver trade market were not and are not on the Vikings' list, according to a league source.
The Denver Broncos' Ashley Lelie was traded on Tuesday night in a three-way deal. The Broncos sent him to Atlanta, the Falcons sent running back T.J. Duckett to Washington, and the Redskins sent a third-round pick to Denver. The Vikings were not in pursuit of Lelie, according to a league source. The Broncos contacted the Vikings to see if they had interest, but Minnesota rebuffed their trade attempts.
Three were the favorites for acquiring Lelie's services – the Philadelphia Eagles, the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears. The Eagles were thought to be the favorites, but as the day progressed Chicago and Atlanta were the more serious contenders for Lelie.
Another receiver whose name is frequently making the trade circles is Oakland's Jerry Porter. However, according to the source, the Vikings are not interested in that option either.
A third receiver mentioned in potential trades is the New England Patriots' disgruntled Deion Branch. However, while Branch makes an issue of his contract status, the Patriots don't appear interested in pursuing trade options for him.
The Vikings could opt to wait and see who is available until the first round of training camp cuts. Teams are required to trim their rosters to 75 players (not including those on injured reserve) on Aug. 29 and 53 players on Sept. 2.
NOT ON THE LINE
The Arizona Cardinals made a play to trade for Vikings offensive tackle Mike Rosenthal recently, but the Vikings declined that offer. The Cardinals then traded a conditional seventh-round draft pick to acquire Patriots right tackle Brandon Gorin.
Indications are that Rosenthal's spot on the team is safe. Rosenthal has started 55 of 74 games in his seven-year NFL career and 30 of 34 with the Vikings, but he was stripped of his starting status last year when the Vikings moved then-rookie Marcus Johnson to tackle.
Another former starter, Adam Goldberg, holds a much more tenuous spot on the roster. Goldberg started the final 12 games of the 2005 season at right guard and has started 18 of 29 games he has played in, but the Vikings acquired Pro Bowl Steve Hutchinson and traded for starter Artis Hicks during the offseason. Goldberg has since been demoted to third-string left tackle, and indications are his roster spot is in jeopardy.
Expect the Vikings to continue to evaluate their options at quarterback. Brad Johnson remains the unquestioned starter, and second-round draft pick Tarvaris Jackson has been playing like a steady veteran and elevated to the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart (despite being listed as the fourth quarterback on the team's official depth chart). However, five-year veteran Mike McMahon has had a bumpy ride in his two preseason appearances thus far.
"I know he wishes he would have given a better account of himself, but he's still a good quarterback," Childress said. "He just needs to push, but he needs to play within a system, take care of the football, and do the routine things for the team."
While Johnson and Jackson have combined to complete 30 of 41 passes for 243 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in two games, McMahon has completed only 2 of 11 passes for 51 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
"He is a tough competitor, and he is his own worst critic," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said of McMahon. "He puts a lot of pressure on himself, and I think he might be pressing just a little bit. We know what his abilities are, and he just has to do what he can do. He doesn't have to be Brad, he doesn't have to be Tarvaris, he just has to be Mike McMahon, and play to his abilities."
If McMahon doesn't rectify his play on the field, the Vikings could be in search of a third-string quarterback before the regular season opens and leave Jackson as their second option.
The Vikings and former vice president of player personnel Fran Foley closed their settlement Tuesday. Foley was fired days after the 2006 NFL Draft after an intense three months as the Vikings' lead personnel man. It was a brief tenure that was laced with friction between Foley and other employees, along with inaccuracies that were discovered in Foley's resume.
The announcement of the settlement is expected Wednesday. Foley's representation, Jeffrey Kessler, did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.
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