The New England Patriots "stole" Chuck Foreman from the Minnesota Vikings -- for a No. 4 draft choice in 1981, though Foreman carries a high salary.

The running back will be 30 in October, but will benefit from the Patriots' wide open offense as a sure-handed pass catcher who was a wide receiver in college. If Foreman passes the Patriots' physical, the trade is firm. The deal will be sweetened for the Vikings if Foreman has a big season.

New England tried make a deal with Detroit for the Lions' No. 1 choice in the draft, so Billy Sims of Oklahoma could be selected. The Patriots offered their two first-round draft choices, plus a veteran player.

The Patriots also were interested in Benny Malone of the Redskins, because they wanted to protect themselves in view of injuries suffered last year by Sam (Bam) Cunningham and Andy Johnson.

Miami offered Jim Langer to the Vikings because the 32-year-old center wants to be traded, but he has had knee problems and has a high salary.

Don't snicker at Roman Gabriel switching from head coach of College of the Desert to Cal Poly-Pomona. George Herbert Allen furthered his coaching career with a shift from Morningside (Iowa) College to Whittier.

The awful pressure of coaching in critically tough New York is building even in the offseason for Ray Perkins of the New York Giants. Before he has even lost a Fat Camp scrimmage, the talk is that he will be out if there is not unusual progress in 1980.

The reason? Once more it is being said that the Giants would not want to miss what probably would be their only shot at hiring Don Shula, whose contract at Miami expires at the end of 1980. Shula had been represented as wanting to coach in a "glamor city," such as New York or Washington, or in Baltimore. That was before Jack Pardee had a splendid season with the Redskins and the Colts hired Mike McCormack.

The Giants still remember that they had their one shot at hiring Vince Lombardi before he went to Green Bay in 1959, and blew it, Media unimpressed to date with Perkins would never countenance the Giants not hiring Shula if Perkins turns out not to be an almost instant smash hit.

Frank (Bucko) Kilroy, general manager of the Patriots, disputes the suggestion this will be an unproductive draft, saying there are so many strong defensive backs that 20 of them may make pro squads.

The expected meteoric boxing career of Ed (Too Tall) Jones has come to a no-news halt, and the hurting Dallas Cowboys don't have a No. 1 draft choice to prospect for a proven talent such as Jones.

"We'd love to have him," the Cowboys' personnel boss, Gil Brandt, says, "but we don't think he is going to run away anywhere between now and the day the draft ends."

One club owner says that if Al Davis, managing general partner of the Oakland Raiders, makes a formal request, he will be permitted to move the team to Los Angeles for the 1981 season and Oakland will get an expansion franchise. Yankee Stadium in New York also will be considered for an expansion club.