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Draft wrap-up ‘08 (04/30/2008)
By John Edstrom

Well fans, if this were Christmas morning for the Purple horde, (a conceit which I have employed previously, I admit), it would be one of those years when Mom or Dad would warn you that, because they got a pony last fall, (or, heavens forfend, a baby sister), there would be no large packages under the tree. With Jared Allen, a very expensive and highly pedigreed horse safely in the barn, there was no sleek menagerie for Vikings fans to run their hands over this draft day morning, yet several very interesting, possibly invaluable surprises.

First of all - did this trade make sense? By all accounts the answer is a resounding yes, for a franchise that has the money to spend without sending its salary cap all out of whack. The Wilf regime qualifies in the latter regard and is apparently willing to invest money today to make money, or advance an agenda, down the long road. The agenda, of course, would be the new stadium. Zygi Wilf will not be quite mistaken for Santa Claus, given that obvious agenda, but how refreshing, after the threats, bullying, and whining of Red McCombs, all the while beggaring the franchise, to be sweetly wooed. It is the difference between perfume and a bouquet of flowers, or a screech of brakes accompanied by the imperative, "put out or get out!"

In any case, the Vikes used up two number threes and a first round pick to get an immediate answer to their pass rush problems, which was not available at slot #17, nor probably at all this year. I count that the cost of the later third round choice, very cheap indeed, (although the expense in compensation for Allen was not.) The Vikes could not have traded up for either DE Gholston or Long for the same value, and Allen is a proven commodity.

But now, a look at the draft day additions. Safety Tyrell Johnson out of Arkansas State is a pick that can't be appreciated if you are consulting old information, which listed him in Lindy's Draft Guide, for instance, as a projected seventh rounder, at 6' 198 lbs., running a 4.53 forty, ranked 24th out of 29 listed safeties. Phew! However, as of draft day he was certified 6', 207 lbs. and running a 4.44 forty, fast, even for a wideout. And he has a vertical leap of 39" (that's really good). Better yet, many of the draft day gurus rated him the best safety taken this year, better than first rounder Kenny Phillips out of Miami.

Now we jump down to the fifth round, where John David Booty, QB out of USC, was snatched at the last instant. He would have been worth a third round pick based solely on a name which will always give pleasure no matter what the man does. He was ranked a consistent 6th among QBs this year, a probable second round pick. He is deemed a possible franchise QB, especially in the west coast offense, and that after breaking a finger on his passing hand midseason his senior year.

Next comes Letroy Guidon a defensive tackle from Florida State, implicated in an academic cheating scandal, who declared that he came out after his junior year because "I've really got family issues." He has solid measurables but is a little shaky on the character side. Hopefully, his Florida pedigree of milk-fed family values will help him tiptoe through the fleshpots and temptations of Mankato and Lake Minnetonka, and that no one will open a joint along the Minnesota River called, "Piggy's."

John Sullivan of Notre Dame is a highly regarded three-year starter at center whose downside is that he is merely intelligent and productive, but not a fabulous athlete - sounds like another Matt Birk to me. And then comes Jaymar Johnson, a wideout not listed in most draft guides who is very fast, tall, but skinny. A typical flyer out of the last round rounds. Another Florida guy.

But wait. There is one more package, lost among the trash and leftovers, one Erin Henderson, brother to our own E.J., who was a projected second rounder, but never got picked at all through some inexplicable oddity of the draft. He signed a free agent contract with the Vikes, and has been described as a "more athletic version of his brother," "likely to contribute immediately." That was as good as an upgrade on one of the third round picks dealt to the Chiefs.

It could be our year. Then again, our year has been fairly predictable these past many. 


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