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‘07 NFL Draft Wrap-up (05/02/2007)
By John Edstrom


Well fans, based on the results of last weekend's NFL draft, things may well be looking up in Vikings land. The Purple was able to draft for need, and got excellent value for every pick, at least by the concensus valuations of the players they chose. I did not want the Vikes to take Adrian Peterson, the Oklahoma running back, even though he has the potential to be one of the great ones. He has size, speed, power, what they call "burst," and shiftiness, a rare combination which could make him one of the best running backs in the next ten years. He also has a long history of injuries in every year he's played on the college level, shoulder, ankle, collarbone, and is said to run with his pads too high, an invitation to further injury, especially in the pros where everybody is bigger and faster. Every reference to him begins with the caveat, "if he can stay healthy."

I think the Vikes should have taken Brady Quinn, which they were loathe to do with the jury still out on Tarvaris Jackson. If Quinn plays well for the Browns and Jackson is a bust, and if Peterson continues to gimp, I will remind everyone of the keen insight displayed here.

Peterson was an easy choice at #1. Then, in position #44 where the Vikes have to get a wideout " voila! " there slides Sidney Rice, ranked by most as a first rounder. Rice is big, fast, and unlike a certain other WR out of South Carolina, has proven ball skills, having been featured in a passing offense. Rice lasted this long because he is skinny and has gotten hurt.

The Purple now needs a cornerback to replace the noisy Fred Smoot, probably a brass band as well. Instead they find Marcus McCauley out of Fresno State, a projected mid-second rounder. He has perfect speed and size to play the corner in the NFL. The knock on him is inconsistency and a lack of ball skills.

In the fourth round the Vikes took DE Brian Robison right about where he was expected to go, smaller, at 6'2" and 258, than you'd like to see in the pros. He is very quick and may come in on passing downs, as well as bust up the wedge on kickoffs.

The Vikes' next two picks are perhaps their best values in this draft, WR Aundrae Allison in the fifth, and outside linebacker Rufus Alexander in the sixth. Allison is ranked, according to my draft guides, as about the #10 guy at the spot, a third rounder for sure. He has good size and speed, but is perhaps a little slow on the uptake, and he will need to polish his skills, run crisper routes, etc.

Alexander is rated the fourth highest OLB in the draft, a second round choice whose outstanding speed and quickness made him a three-year starter at Oklahoma. He lacks size, but his consistent production for the Sooners should outweigh that concern, and he has the frame to add some bulk.

Even the final two picks show some promise, a sleeper QB candidate, Tyler Thigpen, and another WR, Chandler Williams, who played against tough competition in Florida. (He was in the middle of the big brawl with Miami, for what it's worth.)

In ‘07, then, the Vikes consistently found good value in the players they chose, while able to address some of their most pressing needs. They did not, to my relief, indulge in any of the gross reaches they were guilty of last year, so at least we can all hold our heads up when visiting the taverns in Cheese country, where the beer is quite salty today, seasoned with tears of rage and despair following the miserable showing the Green Bay brain trust made over the weekend.



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