As a result, the Vikings sitting with the No. 3 pick might turn out to be pretty interesting. While an infatuated Manning continues to look for compliments from fawning team executives from San Francisco, Tennessee and Denver, the rest of the NFL has business to conduct and can't wait for that scenario to finish. The Manning circle of influence has dropped and those out of the running have been striking back in their own way.
Arizona got the ball rolling by paying Kevin Kolb his $7 million bonus due last Friday – officially taking the Cardinals out of the running. Miami wasn't given a rose and was sent packing, so the Dolphins turned their attention to Packers backup Matt Flynn. However, the Seahawks had already made a move in his direction and, instead of being reunited with Joe Philbin, Miami's new head coach and former offensive coordinators with Green Bay, Flynn is headed west to Seattle. He signed a three-year, $26 million deal to compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the Seahawks starting job.
Having to adjust on the fly, the Dolphins had a five-hour meeting with Alex Smith Sunday. Smith, who apparently had a three-year deal on the table to re-sign with the 49ers, is looking at other options. Word out of San Francisco is that if Manning signs with Tennessee, the 49ers will likely make a run at Matt Hasselbeck.
How the landscape settles could impact the Vikings depending on whether Miami lands its QB or not. With the first two draft picks locked and loaded, interest is now turning to Ryan Tannehill. A borderline first-round pick a month ago, the buzz around Tannehill is that he could go as early as No. 4 to Cleveland. What the Vikings may be looking to find is a competition for Tannehill. The parameters would be pretty clear. The only way to assure yourselves of getting him is to get ahead of Cleveland at No. 4.
If, however, the Manning signing merely becomes a changing of positions – Manning to Tennessee, Smith to Miami, Hasselbeck heading to San Francisco and Tim Tebow staying put in Denver – the competition for Tannehill could be all but eliminated. The Vikings need at least one of those teams to come up empty – ideally Miami. Then the fun could really begin.
Until then, we tune into our favorite soap opera again Monday, hoping to get his piece of the puzzle done. So far, things aren't going according to plan for the domino theory of 2012 free agency.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.