There is a bit of a quiet buzz that the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns may have had more than a passing discussion regarding Minnesota offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
While members of the Vikings and Browns say the two teams have not talked for a significant period of time, they say that there are not any discussions about a deal for the mammoth offensive lineman.
A league source at the combines tells this column that some subtle feelers have been thrown out by one or both of the teams that Kevin Johnson and the Browns' first-round draft choice (the 21st overall pick) in the 2003 draft may be available for the "right" player. That player, from what we're being told, is McKinnie.
The key to this story is that this is word from a league source at the combine that appears to be generated from Cleveland. However, the Browns were also said to be interested in McKinnie when contract talks were progressing poorly last summer and fall.
The Browns have long been rumored to be shopping Johnson. From the Vikings' perspective, such a deal would require them to find at least one starting offensive tackle in the draft or free agency, and maybe two, depending on their ability to find a guard or move Chris Liwienski inside from his current spot at right tackle. The Vikings also have an interest in former Browns tackle Orlando Brown, who is a free agent and is scheduled for a workout early in March. Such a deal would also end the Vikings' search for a downfield threat as their No. 2 wide receiver opposite Randy Moss.
From head coach Mike Tice's comments about McKinnie, it wouldn't appear like he is interested in moving the second-year player. But if the team were able to replace McKinnie with another solid left tackle in the first round of the draft, sign Orlando Brown, still use an additional first-round pick on a defensive lineman and have Kevin Johnson it might not be a bad option to at least consider.
Vikings Part Of Trade Rumor
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