Well fans, it’s been a cold April, so the NFL draft beats out tulips as an early harbinger of spring. What fresh growth from the college ranks might be there for the Vikings, to help get them over the hump and into the Super Bowl?
Sorry, but the big hump/lump/dump for the Vikes is at QB, where Tarvaris Jackson has one more year to prove he can mature into a QB whose mechanics and decision-making won’t unravel under pressure; Sage Rosenfels has as long to prove he can be a reliable starter, something he has yet to do at age 31. Jackson is a long shot, and Rosenfels a fifty-fifty bet at best.
The only sure upgrade in the draft is Josh Freeman from Kansas State, who is not likely to be there when the Vikes pick at #22. If he were available, it would be a tough decision anyhow, and there is no other QB in the draft that would be a better bet than John David Booty, who already has a year of seasoning.
I would rather see the brain trust address the problem at right tackle, where Ryan Cook has not panned out – (it was reported in this column back then that Cook was a foolish reach) – and his position is the major weakness in the Purple offense after QB. When the Vikes pick, Arizona OT Eben Britton will likely be available, a solid, conservative choice, a proven player of steady character, though not a spectacularly gifted athlete.
It is possible that Britton will be gone before the 22 slot – what then? The Vikes next two areas of need are at cornerback and defensive tackle, where CB Darius Butler from Connecticut might slide, or possibly Peria Jerry, a promising DT out of Mississippi, though not the massive run-stopper he must replace in Pat Williams. A player more in big Pat’s mold, B.J. Raji from Boston College, is not likely to be around. My associate, Mr. DeLano, thinks the Pack might get him in the ninth spot – I don’t think he’ll last that long.
There will also be any number of intriguing wideouts available at that time, although this year’s draft is rich in that position, and it would be better to pick one up in a later round.
Depending on what the Vikes do in the first round, there are going to be a lot of good second tier CBs and OTs available in the second and third rounds. My wish is that they get a probable starter at both those positions in the first two rounds, and a wideout with promise in the third.
We will revisit this topic after the draft next week.