The Vikings and the agent for Troy Williamson are on the record: The agent can explore trade options for the oft-maligned speed receiver who has struggled to live up to the No. 7 overall pick since the Vikings drafted him as Randy Moss' replacement in 2005.
Williamson's agent, David Canter, didn't initiate the move, according to the Vikings, but he is driving the business.
"We allowed him (Canter) to go out and see what's out there," Vikings coach Brad Childress said on Friday. "It's something that's got to be satisfactory to us, then we'll do it. But I've said before that he's under contract with us."
Childress indicated the Vikings had no real preference if they received a draft pick or a player in return.
Asked what his value might be, he said, "You know, you might be surprised. We'll see. I just know that when I got out of there (a morning session at the NFL Scouting Combine), I had probably three people grab me. David is keeping in contract with Rick (Spielman, the vice president of player personnel). We'll just see. I wouldn't probably venture a guess."
Childress' reference of three teams showing interest increased to about a dozen teams, according to Canter, in the hours following.
In 2005, the Vikings got a first- and seventh-round draft pick in trading Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders. After spending two disappointing seasons in Oakland, the Raiders made a draft-day deal that sent Moss to the New England Patriots for a fourth-round draft pick, showing how value is about perception and timing. The Vikings' first-round pick in their Moss deal was used on Williamson.
In three seasons with the Vikings, Williamson has 79 receptions, 1,067 yards and only three touchdowns.
The Vikings could end up with a player or a draft pick if they trade him.
"A couple pitches I heard: ‘Are you set and cemented that it's got to be this and this or it's got to be this and a player?' We're not. We're just listening," Childress said Friday morning after other teams were learning of Williamson's availability. "David is the guy that's drumming up the business."
Of course, having teams find out the news at the Combine is convenient and expedite the process. Teams can conduct more face-to-face sessions with the Vikings to gauge their interest in potential deals.
"It saves you a bunch of phone calls when you see them all face to face and the word is out there," Childress said.
Childress said the move was "a decision we made organizationally."
"It was a mutually agreeable situation," Childress said. "David was happy to be able to have that latitude to do that and we wanted to give him the ability to do that."
The Vikings and Williamson worked together with the Nike Institute in Oregon to correct a problem they spotted with him being able to track the ball in the air. He also spent additional time catching thousands of footballs launched from the JUGS machine after practices and at his home.
"The investment on our part was really more of time and was a Nike investment. … All you're trying to do is heighten skills and give a guy every tool you can. Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Childress said. "There are some that will have success with the things that you put in place and there are some that won't. It doesn't mean that he won't if he goes somewhere else. It doesn't mean he won't if he stays. You don't know."
Childress couldn't recall a player being allowed to seek a trade and then remaining with the same team, but he didn't rule out that possibility in this situation.
Williamson Trade Situation Fluid
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