Reports: Cutler talks didn't go well

The Vikings' interest in Jay Cutler was a passing line in a report last week, but given the state of the Broncos' relationship with their franchise quarterback and the Vikings' need for one, it is a topic of interest for Vikings fans. A couple of reports corroborate a rocky relationship and a growing rift in Denver. The issues run deep for both franchises when it comes to a possible trade.

Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel, last week declined to talk in-depth about a report that the team was interested in trading for Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, citing the fact that Cutler is still under contract with another team. Still, Spielman seemed miffed at the amount of attention the initial report in the Denver Post generated in the Twin Cities.

"You guys read something in paragraph 27 in the newspaper and it's headlines here," Spielman told reporters last week. "That's your prerogative, but I'll just leave it at that."

Cutler has publicly stated that he was irked by the Broncos' attempt to trade him recently in an effort to get Matt Cassel from the New England Patriots (Cassell ended up with the Chiefs).

"I'm upset. I mean, I'm really shocked at this point," Cutler was quoted as saying in the Post. "I could see why they want Cassel. I don't know if they think I can't run the system or I don't have the skills for it. I just don't get it. Or if they don't think they can sign me with my next contract. I just don't know what it is. I've heard I'm still on the trading block."

That was last week. But the story in Denver is ongoing.

CBS4 in Denver reported on Tuesday that the Broncos and disgruntled Cutler finally spoke, but it was on a conference call with first-year head coach Josh McDaniels and owner Pat Bowlen, not a face-to-face meeting.

"Sources close to the situation tell CBS4 Sports that the tone of the discussion was not exactly ‘make nice' as might have been expected," the television station reported on its web site. "We're told McDaniels made it clear to the quarterback how the team will be run, and how Cutler was expected to fit into that plan. McDaniels reiterated the Broncos position that they have no intention of trading Cutler, but he also made it clear that all players are being constantly evaluated and could be traded if management thinks it will make the team better." reported on Tuesday that the conference call "did not go well."

"The conversation was supposed to be a clearing of the air after the Broncos engaged in trade talks Feb. 28. However, the rift grew bigger when the phone conversation became contentious," wrote Bill Williamson, a former beat writer for the Post on "Sources said the Broncos approached Cutler as if he was the one who started the trade talks and informed him that they have no plans of trading him but that they can trade him at any time."

The Broncos start their offseason conditioning program on Monday and it's unclear if Cutler will show up for that or try to force a trade. With McDaniels implementing a new offensive system in Denver, the need to have Cutler attend is even greater and it could mean the team would move quicker to find a replacement, if needed.

Despite already trading away a fourth-round pick to obtain QB Sage Rosenfels and still without a sixth-round pick in 2009 because of a 2007 trade for QB Kelly Holcomb, neither Spielman nor head coach Brad Childress has denied that the Vikings might look at trade options again if something intriguing presented itself.

"I wish I had a crystal ball to say that," Spielman said when asked if it would take a superstar to make another move at quarterback. "I know T-Jack (Tarvaris Jackson) has progressed. I know what we feel about Sage and what he's done. He's been out at Houston, and right now those are the guys that we're going in to compete. And John David Booty is getting better too and he'll be going into his second year. There's another young quarterback that we think is developing."

Last year, the Vikings traded a first- and two third-round picks to get defensive end Jared Allen from Kansas City and the organization has been nothing but pleased with the results that trade yielded. However, Spielman did admit that trading away too many draft picks in consecutive years could hurt the team long-term.

"You never know what presents itself. That's the only thing about this job. You can walk in tomorrow and something hits you smack in the face that you weren't expecting," he said. "You set your franchise back if you give your draft away two years in a row. Then you just don't have any young guys. You can keep filling in with veterans here and there, but you also have to look out for the future of your organization. You have to have drafted players that you have to develop, that are going to be the guys who replace the guys that you're eventually going to lose.

"The draft is the bloodline of your organization. If you give your bloodline away two years in a row, it can have significant consequences down the road."

Given the fact that the Vikings haven't had a 300-yard passer in the last three years, it would also appear that not having a franchise quarterback has also had its consequences.

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