The Minnesota Vikings should know within a week if their decision to be patient in trading a player they don't want will pay off.
Multiple sources said running back Mewelde Moore is expected to be traded by the NFL trade deadline on Oct. 16.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers contacted Minnesota last week after losing running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams to a right patellar tendon injury on Sept. 30 in a victory over the Carolina Panthers. Tampa Bay's need for a running back increased when it lost Michael Pittman for six to eight weeks with a broken right fibula during Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Bucs are down to running back Earnest Graham.
However, the difference in what the Bucs have offered and what the Vikings want is significant. Tampa Bay offered a sixth-round pick for Moore, who has been inactive for most of the two seasons under coach Brad Childress, and is behind backs Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson on the depth chart.
Still, Minnesota has asked for a third-round pick for Moore, who was originally a fourth-round pick in 2004 and showed flashes of potential in his first two seasons. The Vikings are currently hoping the Bucs will give in to desperation or that a few other teams, such as the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans or Green Bay Packers, end up in the bidding for Moore.
Denver is expected to lose running back Travis Henry to suspension following published reports last week that he tested positive for marijuana. Henry, a repeat offender, is facing at least a one-year suspension. In Houston, Ahman Green missed the game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins with a bruised left knee and is out indefinitely. Green Bay's running game has been ineffective all season and rookie Brandon Jackson, who opened the season as a starter, is currently sidelined with a shin injury.
In addition, there isn't a lot available. San Diego Chargers backup Michael Turner is a popular commodity. He is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season as well, but general manager A.J. Smith doesn't want to deal Turner. First, Smith thinks the Chargers are a title contender this season and wants to have a strong backup for LaDainian Tomlinson. Second, Smith figures that the Chargers will receive a third-round draft compensatory pick in 2009 assuming Turner signs a lucrative free-agent deal elsewhere after this season and becomes a productive back.
"The difference between the pick you might get now and what you'll get down the line isn't enough to make a trade worth it," a Chargers source said.
As for other notable backs, Miami has Ricky Williams. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Williams can be traded while he serves his suspension for violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. However, Williams applied for reinstatement to the league last week. The earliest he would likely be reinstated is Nov. 1 and the process could go until Dec. 1.
And as tantalizing as Williams might sound, he hasn't played in the NFL since 2005. He was a good backup for Miami that season, but had a lackluster performance in the CFL in 2006, during which he missed time with a broken arm.
Still, the idea of Moore being worth a third-round pick seems a stretch.
"You're not talking about a player that somebody wants to trade for and keep with a long-term deal," a source said of Moore. "He's a good kid, but basically the Bucs want to bring him in, let him play it out and let him hit free agency. That's not worth a third-round pick."
At least not yet.