While not the best sign – Allen tentatively has a visit scheduled with Tampa Bay early this week – it doesn't completely take the Vikings out of the picture. With a higher first-round choice and more picks later in the draft, the Vikes can probably package a better deal than the Buccaneers can and defensive end is not a glaring need for the Bucs right now with Gaines Adams and Greg White already in the fold.
But one fact that has seemingly not been viewed as an alternative is that the Vikings still have the chance to sign Allen to an offer sheet. The Vikings have said they will not do that – probably because it would require two first-round draft picks as compensation to Kansas City – but it is an option if other trade talks fail. More importantly, it could be done after the draft. While the deadline for making offers to restricted free agents ended one week prior to the draft, the same is not true for franchise players. If a player has not signed his one-year franchise tender, another team can sign him to an offer sheet and give Kansas City seven days to match the offer or decline. With the Vikings' recent history of putting a "poison pill" in the contract of Steve Hutchinson to make it nearly impossible for Seattle to match it, a similar tactic could be used to try to sign Allen and not give up a first-round pick this season.
The downside is that the Vikings would have to give the Chiefs their first-round picks in 2009 and 2010, but if the team is convinced that Allen could be the difference in them being a legitimate Super Bowl contender, those picks would be at the end of the first round and not have nearly the value of the 17th overall pick they currently have.
It would seem like a long shot that the Vikings would go that route – as Rick Spielman told Viking Update at the beginning of the draft process earlier this year, "draft picks are the currency of the NFL" – but it something to ponder and, if the Vikings change their minds and are willing to roll the dice that they have assembled a team that can make a Super Bowl run, it might be worth considering very strongly.