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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vikes Draft Preview

The Minnesota Vikings own the third pick in this years draft. The consensus pick for the Vikings is Matt Kalil, the left tackle out of USC. This would be a safe pick, but is it the right pick? I, say no. I am a firm believer in trading down, as far as the tenth pick this year to acquire another second round pick and maybe more. Why? This Vikings team has so many needs, and the recent evidence suggests taking a tackle in the top 5 of the draft does not guarantee team success, even if the player performs at a high level. Taking Matt Kalil at #3 would be the worst thing the Vikings could do. The three players the Vikings should target, after trading down, are in order; CB Stephon Gilmore, WR Michael Floyd, and CB Janoris Jenkins.

The Patriots and Giants, this past years Super Bowl teams did not have a tackle taken high in the  NFL Draft. The Miami Dolphins took LT Jake Long with the first pick in the draft in 2008, while he is a great player the Dolphins have floundered since then and are no closer to a Super Bowl. The Cleveland Browns took LT Joe Thomas third overall in the 2007 draft. He has been a perennial All Pro, but the Browns still are no closer to competing for a Super Bowl then they were in 2007. The St. Louis Rams took LT Jason Smith second overall in 2009. He was considered a sure thing coming out of college, but he has been a huge bust for them. The Rams, are no closer now to competing for a Super Bowl, then they were in 2009. If the Vikings take Kalil at three, and he happens to turn into an all pro, which is not guaranteed, there is no evidence to suggest the Vikes will be a playoff team because of it.

The 2011 Vikings, had a historically bad pass defense. The Vikes d finished finished the season allowing a 107.9 passer rating to opposing Quarterbacks. This was the second highest DQBR(defensive quarteback rating) ever given up by a defense in NFL HISTORY! The NFL average rating  for the 2011 season was around 85.0. The 2008 Detroit Lions own the highest DQBR of all time with a brutal number of 110.9. That Lions team was also the only team in NFL history to go 0-16. The Vikings have done nothing this off season to correct their pass D. Unless you count signing cornerback Zach Bowman, from the Chicago Bears as the solution. This team is in desperate need of secondary help as we enter the draft. The Vikes have the two worst starting safeties in the league, not to mention an aging Antoine Winfield and crazy Chris Cook penciled in at CB.Taking Matt Kalil is not going to fix this.

With the addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears this off-season, the Vikings will have to face him, Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and the plethora of Packer wideouts a combined six times in 2012. This is just in our division. The QB's in our division(Rodgers,Stafford and Cutler) are three of the best in the NFL. Again, taking Matt Kalil will not help us stop these guys.

The consensus top CB in this years draft is Morris Claiborne from LSU, who the Vikes are considering at pick #3. This would be a poor use of the third pick, because I believe he is highly overrated. He scored a 4 out of 50 on his Wonderlic test at the Draft Combine. The Wonderlic is basically an IQ test. Claiborne's score of 4, is the lowest known score ever recorded on the test. How can a team seriously consider drafting him this high? I'm sorry, but you need to know strategy and your playbook to succeed in the NFL nowadays. If I'm the Vikings, I can't risk the third overall pick on someone like this.

The Vikings should be able to pull off a trade, as a lot of teams want RB Trent Richardson. There is also a report that the Bills want to trade up to take Kalil. After taking the best trade offer, probably the Bills( the 10th pick, and the 41st pick for number 3)the Vikings will have 3 picks in the top 41. With the 10th pick I believe the Vikes should take Stephon Gilmore a CB from South Carolina. He looks like the real deal, and played on a defense that did not have nearly as much talent as LSU's. I would take him at #3 if a trade down can not be made. If he is off the board, I would take a hard look at Michael Floyd or Janoris Jenkins. Floyd reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald, and it's not like the Vikes are loaded at WR. He would be the deep threat and redzone threat the Vikings need to help Christian Ponder's development. Plus he is a hometown guy, which could help the stadium push. Jenkins has failed a couple of drug tests for pot(this has never stopped the Vikings before) and has 4 kids with 3 different women(talented swimmers, bad luck,Christian?) but he might be the most talented CB in the draft. He also is saying and doing all the right things leading up to the draft. The Vikings owe it to themselves to at least think about taking him if Gilmore and Floyd are gone.

Assuming the Vikes do make a trade, and have two second round picks they must take a safety for sure in this round. With the other pick they need to go CB or WR depending on how the first round shakes out for them. In the third round they need an OL, DT, or WR.

Because it's Minnesota sports, and the Vikings, they most likely will take Kalil at #3. Three non-playoff years later, LA Vikings fans, will be resigned to wonder why they passed on a chance to trade down for more help in the 2012 NFL Draft.

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