Vikings Make Trade

Toniu Fonoti

The Vikings have traded a conditional draft pick to the San Diego Chargers in order to shore up their offensive line.

The Vikings acquired guard Toniu Fonoti from the San Diego Chargers Tuesday for a conditional sixth-round draft pick.

Fonoti had been a starter with the Chargers and was named a first-team all-pro by SportsIllustrated.com in 2004. He spent the 2003 season on injured reserve with a foot injury and was selected to Football Digest's all-rookie team for 2002.

Fonoti's injury history is eventually what caused his availability on the trade market. He injured his right hand earlier this season and had a plate and screws inserted on Sept. 20. He left the Chargers complex without permission to seek a second opinion on Sept. 29, according to a league source, and had a second operation on the hand the week of Oct. 3.

The Chargers were receiving interest from Houston, Tampa Bay, Miami, San Francisco, the New York Jets, New Orleans and the Minnesota Vikings, but the strongest interest on Tuesday, the last day to make trades in the NFL, came down to the Saints and the Vikings, according to a league source.

Fonoti has also missed the opening day of training camp twice and missed a minicamp session in its entirety.

He is expected to be available to play within the next week or two as he recovers from his second hand surgery.

Depending on his playing time with the Vikings, the conditional draft pick could slip to a seventh-rounder, according to the source. Fonoti is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2005 season.

Fonoti, 6-foot-4 and 350 pounds, was a 2002 second-round draft pick out of the University of Nebraska.

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