Collusion?

The National Football League Players Association is following speculation that the Vikings and Chiefs are conspiring to drop the asking price down on Bryant McKinnie and Ryan Sims.

The Vikings had no love for the Kansas City Chiefs on draft day. When Dallas ran out of time on the clock to make the sixth pick of the draft, the Vikings submitted a card that was accepted -- drafting DT Ryan Sims.

However, in the chaos that followed, the league awarded the sixth pick to Kansas City in a trade, despite what VU has been told was a clear breach of protocol. In short, both teams need to announce a trade to the league before it is official and Dallas didn't do it. The Vikings should have been able to draft Sims, were denied and weren't happy about it.

Flash forward four months. An investigation has been launched claiming the Chiefs and Vikings have colluded to keep the prices down on the market value of both Sims and Bryant McKinnie. The claim alleges that the Vikings and Chiefs have kept each other abreast of the contract offers made to the agents of their players -- which, if true, is a violation of the league's collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA.

As usual, the source of the allegation is someone "close to the situation that knows" -- a mystery person who will likely have to come forward for the claim to have any teeth.

Considering the relationship with the Vikings and Chiefs over the Sims matter, it doesn't seem likely that the teams are working together. Some might point to the shared workouts the teams had together as an opportunity for personnel for both teams to discuss their disgust at contract snags. But, until something concrete comes out, there is no reason to believe the Vikings and Chiefs are conspiring -- they're just drafting higher than they have in years and aren't used to slapping up the kind of money high draft picks command.

WEDNESDAY NOTES
* As McKinnie's holdout moves into its 19th day, the Vikings will break training camp after today's practice, meaning that, even if he signs, McKinnie will have missed out on his best chance to get in condition for the 2002 season.
* The Vikings held their second passing scrimmage last night and, once again, the offense dominated the defense, with Daunte Culpepper completing a couple of bombs for touchdowns to D'Wayne Bates and Randy Moss.
* A player who VU is hearing is on the block is QB Spergon Wynn, who may be released before the team takes off for Buffalo tomorrow.

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