Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Thanks to everyone who participated in Monday's chat, where we brawled about new Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew and gave Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson a few pats on the back.
We also touched on a side angle to the draft that merits further discussion. Here's the relevant exchange:
John (Wisconsin): There was a rumor that the Bucs traded up to get Freeman because they feared the Vikings were interested as he was coached by two Vikings coaches. Any truth to it?
Kevin Seifert: I have heard nothing to suggest that rumor was true. I would have been stunned. It's possible the Vikings put that out there to try to get people off the Harvin scent.
I had heard that report, and after a quick search, I found it here on the NFL's Web site. Tampa Bay already was situated at No. 19, meaning the Vikings would have had to move up five spots to leapfrog the Bucs to get Freeman.
I don't mean to nitpick, but this report got enough traction that it bears inspection. First, none of the Vikings' primary assistant coaches were at Kansas State during Freeman's career. (If I missed someone on this list, let me know. I could be bleary-eyed.) Second, we should draw the distinction between what the Bucs thought might happen and what the Vikings were intending.
It's very possible Tampa Bay believed the Vikings were making a covert play for Freeman, considering their lack of an established starter as well as the dropoff in the quarterback position after Freeman. And while there was no overt evidence of the Vikings paying special attention to Freeman, ESPN analyst Todd McShay and others had been drawing a connection between the two in mock drafts.
It's possible the Bucs believed the Vikings were publicizing their interest in Florida receiver Percy Harvin to mask their true intention of grabbing Freeman. You never know when it comes to the draft.
That said, I don't think the Vikings gave any deep thought to drafting Freeman. They committed to a competition between Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels at a time when they knew Freeman could be available to them in the draft. They weren't interested in drafting a first-round quarterback, from everything I've heard.
Indeed, it seems pretty clear the Vikings were zeroed in on Harvin for several days heading into the weekend.