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Danish Dementia (02/01/2012)
By Patrick Marek
My mother’s maiden name is Beverly McGuire. She often jokes about a condition known as “Irish Alzheimer’s.” It occurs when the only thing you can remember are the grudges. I, on the other hand, always suffer from a case of “Danish Dementia” this time of year. It’s a malady where I magically forget all the horrible things the Vikings did in the previous season, and start to get optimistic about the team again. Call the guys in the white coats and lock me up, because against all odds, it’s happening again.

Christian Ponder? All he needs is a little protection and some real wide receivers. Adrian Peterson? Running backs come back better than ever from knee injuries all the time. Remember Terry Allen and Robert Smith?

Rick Spielman? Give the guy a chance. He’s done pretty well in the last few drafts. Leslie Frazier? I’m sorry, but even “Danish Dementia” has its limits. I may have blanked out his past, but I have no hope for his future.

Like a groundhog who peers out of his den and doesn’t see his shadow,

I predict a bright and sunny 2012 draft for the Vikings. With ten picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent history, Minnesota can’t possibly blow this one (am I sick or what?). That means no funny business with the third pick. They need to grab USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, lock him up, and throw away the key. The Vikes gave up 49 sacks last season, and Kalil didn’t allow one last year at USC. I know that picking an offensive lineman with your first draft choice isn’t going to excite the fans, but all you have to do is remember Ron Yary and Randall McDaniel. Both were first round picks that became the cornerstone to world class offenses.

After the first pick Spielman can wheel and deal to his heart’s content…as long as he listens to Scott Studwell’s advice. I don’t want to

see them overthinking, overreaching, or squandering these choices. Hopefully we won’t draft this high again for a long time, and we have to take advantage of the opportunity. That means no Demitrius Underwood’s, Troy Williamson’s , or Tarvaris Jackson’s. Stick to your areas of need (basically everywhere, but especially linebacker, cornerback and safety), and draft the best players available.

Unfortunately the Vikings’ roster has more holes than Larry the Cable Guy’s underwear, so there’s no way we can sew up all our problems with the draft. Here’s some good news. There is a juicy list of unrestricted free agents available, and if Minnesota gives Steve Hutchinson and Visanthe Schiancoe their walking papers, there should be plenty of money to spend.

Christian Ponder desperately needs receivers with size and separation speed, and Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, and Marquis Colston are on the 2012 free agent menu. Baltimore Guard Ben Grubbs or Saints Guard Carl Nicks could provide bulk and Pro-Bowl talent to our offensive line. E.J. Henderson looked old and slow at middle linebacker last year. London Fletcher and Curtis Lofton are two top tier linebackers available for the highest bidder.

Hopefully Chris Cook will get a good lawyer and become the hybrid cornerback we desperately need to cover the new breed of huge tight ends and wide receivers. We need to move Antoine Winfield to safety and pick up Carlos Rogers, Cortland Finnegan, or Brent Grimes to stabilize the cornerback position.

Is it the Tampa Two defense, or just plain rotten safeties that have made our defensive secondary such a mess? It’s probably a combination of the two. We need a new defensive scheme, and we certainly need a new cast of characters patrolling our last line of defense. You can usually get good safeties in free agency at a reasonable price. Tennessee’s Michael Griffen and Washington’s LaRon Landry are both available this year.

Finally, here’s my fearless prediction for this year’s Super Bowl. The Giants have an opportunistic defense, and a surprisingly productive offense with Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. However, my wife is a Massachusetts native, and has mysterious superstitious powers. I predict that Rod Gronkowski will magically heal from his high ankle sprain, and lead the Patriots to a 28-20 victory. 


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