Notebook: The Battle for Quinn

The analysis and banter continues on how much value Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn possesses in April's draft, but who is really interested and who is throwing out a smokescreen? Plus, get updated information on free agents Kevin Curtis and Robaire Smith.

While it has been speculated that the Minnesota Vikings may have LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell in for a visit, league sources indicate that the club feels very strongly about second-year QB Tarvaris Jackson and intends for him to be the starter for years to come and have no desire to trade up for Russell (many inside the NFL believe Russell will go off the board to the Oakland Raiders, who have the first selection in the draft).

The philosophy of Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman, according to those who know him, is to build through the draft and not to trade away draft picks. Instead, the belief is they are trying to create a market and value for their selection by acting like they want a quarterback when they actually do not.

Sources also believe that the Vikings would look to trade down should Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn make it to their selection (No. 7 overall), despite head coach Brad Childress' remarks about Quinn. After the last game of 2006, Childress said the Vikings would not be taking a quarterback in the draft, but he has since backpedaled on those comments.

"No. 1, we will have those two guys (Jackson and Brooks Bollinger) compete, and not name a starting quarterback," Childress said at February's NFL Scouting Combine. "However, it wouldn't hurt anything to have a third guy competing there. If there's a good football player that we covet at that seventh pick and it happens to be a quarterback, we try to create that competition at all positions. So that quarterback position should be no different."

It's believed Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner prefers Quinn with their selection (No. 3), but many around the NFL believe Quinn could drop out of the top-10 selections should Cleveland pass him up. The issue is whether or not Phil Savage, senior vice president and general manager, is on the same page as Lerner on Quinn.

Meanwhile, if the Browns don't select Quinn and he's available at the Vikings' No. 7 pick, Childress' complimentary words on Quinn are believed to be an effort to increase the value of the pick.

"I think he's a good football player who has played well for a long period of time under the bright lights of Notre Dame," Childress said of Quinn. "Obviously, great physical stature, strong arm, bright-eyed guy."

The Vikings interviewed Quinn and attended his Notre Dame pro day.

  • Also of note on Wednesday, the Tennessee Titans have continued talks with the representatives of free agent WR Kevin Curtis, as well as free agent DT Robaire Smith. As first reported, Curtis left Tennessee on Tuesday evening and is deciding on where to sign. Interestingly, he had jury duty on Wednesday.

    Smith has drawn serious interest from Cleveland. He is seen as the best interior defensive lineman left in free agency who is capable of playing in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, and some believe he has leverage to get a good deal. Tennessee is one of the top-three teams that have the most cap space left, according to league sources.

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