Posted by Adam Kaplan on Tuesday, February 15, 2011
We're going to begin just as soon as I text my penis to you.
Game Of Inches Mock Draft (so far):
1) Carolina Panthers- DT Nick Fairley (Auburn)
2) Denver Broncos- DE Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson)
3) Buffalo Bills- CB Patrick Peterson (LSU)
4) Cincinnati Bengals- WR A.J. Green (Georgia)
5) Arizona Cardinals- QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
6) Cleveland Browns- OLB Von Miller (Texas A&M)
7) San Fransisco 49ers- CB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)
8) Tennessee Titans- QB Cam Newton (Auburn)
9) Dallas Cowboys- DT Marcell Dareus (Alabama)
10) Washington Redskins- DE Robert Quinn (North Carolina)
11) Houston Texans- CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado)
OK, come on! You can't talk about a team Brett Favre just "retired" on and not make Favre references!
Before I begin discussing the Vikings drafting strategy, I first need to discuss free agency. Currently, the Minnesota Vikings have three of the top 25 free agents this season which includes stud wide receiver Sidney Rice, defensive end Ray Edwards, and Sexy-Rexy-2010-Pro-Bowler LB Chad Greenway. Not to mention the gaping hole they have at quarterback (because call me I sucker I believe Favre will actually stay retired).
However, because not only do I not know what the Vikings actually plan on doing with their players or their cap room situation or anything like that, I'm going to assume that they re-sign their three free agents. I am also going under the assumption that they will trade for Kevin Kolb. I can't remember the last time an initial trade report by ESPN actually came true and now there are reports that the Arizona Cardinals are interested in Kolb (as they rightfully should be). But for right now, I will assume Kolb goes to Minnesota. Lastly, I'm going to assume Kolb will cost the Vikings a second round draft pick, not a first one.
Obviously, I made a lot of assumptions and probably not a one will come true, but because of the huge uncertainty surrounding this organization, assumptions must be made if I am to speculate on how the team handles the draft.
But for right now, let's switch to certainties. The Minnesota Vikings have THE BEST running back in the game in Adrian Peterson, two stud wide receivers in Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, and an above average tight end in Visanthe Shiancoe. Last year, Minnesota had the 11th best run blocking offensive line and the 19th best pass blocking offensive line. The strength of their line was the entire left side of it to complement a piss poor right side.
On defense, the team still has one of the best pass rushers in the game (even though his statistics didn't show it in 2010) in Jared Allen and probably the most underrated defensive end in Ray Edwards. The Williams brothers (Pat and Kevin- note: not ACTUAL brothers) anchor the middle of that defensive line, but Pat is currently 38 years old and Kevin is 30. Both still great talents but it wouldn't hurt to start drafting replacements so you don't screw yourself a few years down the line when they do actually break down/ retire.
The back seven starts to get a bit shaky. While I'm a big fan of linebacker Chad Greenway, the other two linebackers around him could easily be improved. Last year, according to Advanced NFL Stats, the Vikings had the 19th best (33 year old Antoine Winfield) and 75th best (youngster Asher Allen) corenerbacks. To put that into even better perspective, the Green Bay Packers had two of the top three corners (Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson) and the Chicago Bears had two of the top 7 (DJ Moore and Charles Tillman) cornerbacks. Minnesota's top two safeties ranked 57 (Madieau Williams) and 63 (Husian Abdullah). To say the Vikings need secondary help is an understatement.
Just to give the Vikings SOME credit, they do have an elite kick returner in 2009 rookie of the year and pro bowler Percy Harvin. Historically (like the past three to five years) Minnesota has had bad specials teams, but that's mainly because of blocking issues which is best addressed via coaching and absurd to do via the draft.
Ideally it would be best for the Vikings to draft a safety or cornerback but the best corner back still left in the draft is Aaron Williams out of Texas which neither Mel Kiper Jr nor Scouts Inc rank as a first round draft pick. The Vikings need defensive back field help but it is best for them to address it later in the draft or via free agency. Sure, it's a giant blow (based off of my assumption) that they do not have a second round draft pick, but it would be an even bigger blow to pass over the great talent they have at their disposal just to help a hole in the team.
The best available player on Mel Kiper's Big Board is Colorado's offensive tackle Nate Solder and the best according to Todd McShay is Illinois defensive tackle Corey Luiget. Not only does Mel Kiper not have Luiget as a first round draft pick, he doesn't have the Fighting Illini as the next best defensive tackle available. On the other hand, McShay's next best available after Luiget is Solder.
As I mentioned earlier, the Vikings do need a defensive tackle but you can never go wrong with an elite offensive lineman. NEVER. So I think the safe choice and a great choice for Minnesota is to draft Nate Solder and to address their secondary needs later in the draft.
- Defensive Backs
- Offensive Line