Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pat Shurmur can suck it (and other Viking draft news)

With the Vikings activity during free agency featuring only cheap thrills, I am salivating for the NFL draft to arrive.

So here are a couple of stories I read yesterday that are draft related. The first has to do with Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur saying that the club isn't looking to draft a quarterback with its first round pick - currently #4 overall, one slot behind the Vikes.

If Shurmur isn't blowing smoke here (and he probably is because pre-draft talk by NFL coaches and GMs is all about subterfuge), this has implications for the Vikings, who might be looking to trade out of the #3 slot and acquire extra draft picks.

As I've written before, Minnesota's best opportunity to do so comes if either Cleveland or Miami covets Texas A & M QB Ryan Tannehill. However, if the Browns think incumbent Colt McCoy is the real McCoy (sorry, couldn't help myself), the Vikings could be hooped. None of the other teams picking ahead of the Dolphins – Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Jacksonville – are looking for QBs. So why would Miami trade with the Vikings if the Browns and these other clubs aren't going to select Tannehill?

And I can see why Shurmur would be OK with McCoy as his starter in 2012. The former Texas Longhorn had no receivers to throw to and no running backs to hand off to in 2011. He's also never worked with an offensive genius like this guy.

The case for selecting a running back
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier have both said the team has a lot of holes to fill as it tries to rise from the ashes of a 3-13 season. Offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker, safety – they are all positions where Minnesota obviously need an injection of talent. But what about running back?

Viking Update's John Holler argues that Adrian Peterson's uncertain future and Toby Gerhart's less than game-breaking running style could force the Vikings to select a speedy, home run threat during next month's draft.

I don't think that would be the greatest idea. Gerhart showed last year he can do the job and you can find effective running backs among undrafted players (although the Vikes haven't been able to do it).

But the theory has merit. We don't know when Peterson will be ready to play and how he will perform once he does. And behind Gerhart is even more uncertainty. The Vikings only have Caleb King and Jordan Todman under contract.

So here is the National Football Post's list of 46 draft eligible running backs (click on the RB tag at the top). Get familiar with these names. One of them may be in the Vikings training camp come July.


  1. I love AP. I do. But I don't think the Vikings need to invest high draft picks in RBs. Having a stellar running back doesn't help much if opponents don't respect the passing game. And the teams that go deep in the playoffs are often the passing adept teams. The Vikings need pass blockers and weapons - and they need a better pass defense.

    If the team can improve at DB and OL and WR, they'll be in much better shape, even with Gerhart + mediocre RBs. But if one of the above three positions suffers because the Vikings get cute and grab Richardson in round 1, ugh. That'd be disasterous. Not to mention AP's trade value would plummet.

    1. Peter:

      I don't see them taking an RB in round one or two, but fourth or fifth round is a possibility, I guess. But I agree, focus on WRs, DBs, LBs - the real weak spots.

  2. We've talked about the Vikings trading down and getting extra picks, but I had an idea today I'd be interested in getting your and/or PV's take on (maybe as a post?).

    What would the drop in overall value be in taking Morris Claiborne at #3 and Jonathan Martin (Stanford - the LT that protected Andrew Luck) in round 2 vs. taking Kalil at #3 and the best player available in round 2? There was a time not long ago that Martin was considered the second best OT in the draft, but now for some reason most mocks have Riley Reiff (Iowa) going between picks 7 and 13 and Martin dropping out of the first round. Would Indy take him in round 2? St Louis won't.

    Another idea is to trade with Jacksonville at #7, who need an OT, and let them pay handsomely for it. Minnesota can then get Reiff at #7 or the best player available and wait until further picks to address the O-line and other needs.

    I see a lot of different ways the draft could pan out if we accept that Minnesota would miss out on Kalil by trading down or taking Claiborne.

    I think the best realistic scenario that includes Kalil now is to hope that TB buys Minnesota's story about Claiborne and they trade up two spots to get him.

    Many, many possibilities.

    You guys should come up with a half dozen scenarios about the Vikings draft and list pros and cons for each. Or not, it's your blog! ha ha.

    1. Peter:

      That's a good idea. I will give it some thought. Maybe I will even write about it.

  3. I don't mind if the Vikes draft a RB if they think he's good. But they shouldn't draft a RB for the sake of drafting a RB because they think they might need on in 2012. In general, rebuilding teams shouldn't draft for immediate need, and RB is a position where players can be found.