Initially, six teams expressed interest in acquiring Toniu Fonoti from the Chargers and the Vikings represented the sixth team – stepping up their pursuit after unsuccessfully trying to find a guard who could provide solid play on a consistent basis. The Vikings also lost center Matt Birk for the year.
Houston, Tampa Bay, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco and the New York Jets all showed interest at times over the last two weeks with the Saints in it until the final minutes.
The Saints had pressed the issue late after lost several offensive guards to injury this year and saw Fonoti as an upgrade over their current stock of linemen.
In the end the Vikings won out. The conditions of the pick are tied to playing time and it could drop to a seventh round pick if Fonoti does not log a certain number of games.
Fonoti left the team prior to the New England game without permission to seek a second opinion on his injured hand – further fueling the team to ship him out of town.
It was just one of a string of incidents that left the Chargers wondering where their offensive lineman was. He also missed reporting days twice in the last two years and skipped minicamp entirely to attend a weight loss clinic in Houston.
These issues have never been resolved, leaving a sour taste in the minds of the Chargers. That helped precipitate a trade.