Rumors heading into draft time always run rampant. As part of keeping in contact with several teams about comings and goings, VU is privy to what other teams are hearing. Two rumors have been gaining momentum -- one VU believes will happen and one we don't think we'll see.
First on the dismissing side, a couple of New York sportswriters have started running with the rumor that the Jets are going to swing a trade with the Vikings to get Randy Moss. From what we've been told, this rumor has been started by the Jets, and the Vikings and Mike Tice have no intention of taking away their true franchise player -- regardless of the offer.
The other rumor, which has truth and is gaining ground, is that the Vikings are willing to shop their No. 7 overall pick (and the $10 million signing bonus that will come with it) to move down in the first round. One name that keeps coming up is New Orleans, with whom the Vikings completed a trade for Todd Bouman late last week. The Saints sit with the 17th and 18th overall picks, which could be used by the Vikings to take a cornerback and a defensive tackle -- for essentially the same money the No. 7 pick would cost them. In addition, other teams have surfaced now that the Bears have signed Kordell Stewart and the chances of them ending up with QB Byron Leftwich have dimmed considerably.
From what VU is hearing this weekend, if, as expected, DT Jimmy Kennedy, DE Terrell Suggs and CB Terence Newman are all gone, the Vikings will trade their pick to move down and save Red McCombs having to sign another monster check for signing bonus cash.
* A VU source in Tennessee has told us that Neil O'Donnell has told them the Vikings are officially out of the running for his services. In a connected piece of information, we now know why. O'Donnell fired his agent Leigh Steinberg, after he tried to broker deals with other teams only to have O'Donnell balk at signing because his heart is still with the Titans. Who did he hire? Jim Steiner. Does that name sound familiar? He is the agent for Bryant McKinnie, who orchestrated the longest holdout in franchise history and enough for the Vikings to say "no thanks" to O'Donnell.
* From the Addition By Substraction Department comes this: Some Vikings insiders were happy to see Hugh Douglas sign with the Jaguars. With him gone, the Eagles are expected to make a big offer sheet tender to the Packers' Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. The choices are two for the Packers -- match the offer and gut what remains of the team's cap room or let him go and lose another defensive stud.
* VU has been told that the first attempt at talks on a long-term deal with Daunte Culpepper have fallen through and that they won't be resumed until likely after the draft. Culpepper's agent, Mason Ashe, called the first round of talks "disappointing," but added he expects the team and Culpepper to agree on a new deal before training camp starts.
* QB Jeff George and CB Donald Mitchell (Titans) are both scheduled for visits with the team today.
* The Vikings have apparently made offers to WR Derrick Alexander and DB Tyrone Carter to come back in 2003. Both offers are said to be for veteran minimum for the time they have in the league, which would be $650,000 for Alexander and $450,000 for Carter.
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