Vikes and Ravens Talking Deal?

NFL Draft 2003

The Baltimore Ravens don't want to be held hostage over drafting a QB to finally give some stability to Brian Billick's offense. That could have a big impact on the Vikings' draft plans.

As the draft gets nearer, some issues come into more clarity, while others get more confused. A report from a Ravens source of VU's is a perfect example.

It has become apparent that the top defensive tackle on the Vikings' list -- Kentucky's Dewayne Robertson -- is now clearly being targeted by the Bears with the No. 4 pick. The other name that has circulated for a month as being on the Bears' wish list was QB Byron Leftwich.

If the Bears take Robertson, the Vikings could face an interesting dilemma at pick No. 7. Much like the situation the Cowboys were in last year, they sat at No. 6 with the Vikings at No. 7 and the Chiefs at No. 8. The Cowboys clearly wanted safety Roy Williams, but knew the Vikings weren't going after a safety -- a VU source with the Cowboys was told that Jerry Jones was told directly by the Vikings that they weren't intending on taking S Roy Williams with the seventh pick. Dallas then made a deal with the Chiefs, dropping from No. 6 to No. 8 and still getting the player they wanted.

The Vikings could find themselves in a similar position on draft day. If the draft plays itself out as many think it will, the Vikings will still have DT Jimmy Kennedy on the board at No. 7. Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome told our source Tuesday that the Ravens are looking at trade options -- one of them moving ahead of the Jaguars and Panthers to get the first crack at either Leftwich or QB Kyle Boller of Cal.

Where this could be similar to last year's draft-day trade, neither the Jags or Panthers have an immediate need for a defensive tackle, but both have a wish for a QB. The Jags would find it difficult to pass on Leftwich, and Boller could be the guy of the future for Carolina. If the Vikings made a draft-day deal, they could get additional picks -- most likely a third-rounder, drop three spots and know that, barring another trade, neither the Jags nor Panthers would take Kennedy. That would allow the Vikings to add another pick and still get the player they want.

Whether this deal comes off will depend largely on what happens before the Vikings get on the clock. But this is a trade the Vikings are taking seriously and, while it would force them to hold their breath for a half hour waiting for the Jags and Panthers to pick, it could reduce their signing bonus obligation, add another premium draft pick and get the player they would have wanted at No. 7. Make sense? If not, you're probably not as insane as the typical draftnik.

WEDNESDAY NOTES
* Not only are the Ravens talking a trade up, the Patriots are also talking moving up. The difference? A VU source from Boston said the Pats are targeting Robertson and Kennedy as their players of choice. The Saints have already indicated they might try to move up to get Robertson. Both the Pats and Saints have two picks in the middle of the first round.
* From the big ego department comes this: WR Andre Johnson cancelled a scheduled visit with the Rams. Why? Because he doesn't think he will be available when the Rams pick at No. 12. Apparently he or his agent doesn't believe the Rams will package a trade offer to move up.

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