When you have the twelfth pick in a draft, it’s always a bit difficult to project what your plan is going to be. That’s true whether you’re prepping for a fantasy football draft or the greatest draft event in the world (i.e. the NFL Draft). In the case of the Minnesota Vikings and the 2011 NFL Draft, their actual plans are a bit of a mystery, probably to even them.
However, that doesn’t stop anyone and everyone for pretending to know what the team is targeting with their first pick in the draft. Per usual, with my outstanding network of sources in the media and inside the team, I have zero clue of what the team is actually doing. Instead, I’ll share my plan of exactly what the Vikings SHOULD do.
By Peter Christian
On Tuesday afternoon, the Vikings VP of Player Personnel had some interesting things to say in his pre-draft press conference. And by interesting, I mean he was overly vague and nondescript in explaining his gameplan over the next few days.
He did, however let out the two gems that A) the team has had a few calls about teams inquiring to acquire the 12th overall pick and B) the team has narrowed it’s list down to “six or seven” options with the 12th pick. Of course, those 6-7 options are at different positions, you know, to keep the media, fans and the rest of the league on their toes.
It’s not anything new for NFL teams to treat their draft strategy like a CIA playbook, complete with misdirection and subterfuge. The difference for the Vikings is that they aren’t really trying to throw anyone off, they just have that many possibilities because they have that many holes to fill AND they have to deal with what the 11 teams in front of them leave for them. But those things don’t really affect what I would do for the Vikings.
If the Zygi Wilf, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier (aka “The Braintrust) were to ask me what they should do, I’d offer a two pronged plan. Prong one: tell everyone who calls about the availability of the 12th pick to shove it. By making the draft pick appear to be unavailable, it will only drive the cost up. As much as the Vikings need to add an impact player at one of a handful of positions (which would best be gotten in the top half of the first round, historically) they also could benefit from having more than just two of the first hundred players selected (the New England Patriots, meanwhile have 5 of the first 100 picks, including the Vikings 3rd round pick – 74th overall).
By getting top dollar for a trade down the Vikings will be able to address more of those positions of need rather than having to choose just one (or two). Also, that will set the team up to execute the second prong of my plan. Prong Two: Utilize the additional draft pick(s) gained by trading down and ensure the team gets TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.
Yep, that’s my ingenious plan.
Wait, you don’t get it?
OK, well allow me to explain myself.
The plan allows the team to address more of its principle needs in the first two days of the draft and more specifically it allows the team to add a “quarterback of the future.”
Now, I know you’re probably asking, “But why Andy Dalton?”
Andy Dalton is the key part of my plan for one reason, to terrorize football fans in Wisconsin.
For those who don’t know, a Vikings fan’s primary goal each season is for the Vikings to win the NFC North and reach the playoffs but the secondary goal is for the team to defeat the Green Bay Packers (and as much as Vikings fans would hate to admit, that secondary goal is more of a “Primary – B” goal than a secondary goal).
Also, more than any other fan base (I’m speculating) the bulk of Packers fans are also fans of the state’s college team, the Wisconsin Badgers, and following the Rose Bowl last January (TCU defeated Wisconsin), Andy Dalton is public enemy #1 in the state of Wisconsin. If the Vikings were to draft him, it would only continue to draw ire from the fans of the Vikings closest rivals. Additionally, he’s already proven to be a winner against a Wisconsin team, so it’s not a stretch to think that trend couldn’t continue against another team from America’s Dairyland, right?
That’s my ingenious plan (cue the ominous music and the maniacal laughter).