Minnesota Vikings Make Mistake Taking Toby Gerhart


By Mike Gallagher

The Minnesota Vikings are a very good football team.  The great thing about very good football teams is that there really aren’t too many holes to fill, especially those impacting the team immediately.  

Going into the 2010 NFL draft, there were distinct positions the Vikings needed to shore up and, while they weren’t starting roles, the top two picks could easily be regarded as insurance picks.

The glaring needs the Vikings had at the top of their draft list were cornerback (just in case Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield struggle coming off injuries or aren’t ready to go on week one) and running back with the departure of third down specialist Chester Taylor to the rival Chicago Bears.

The Vikings addressed both of those needs with their first two picks, which ended up being numbers 34 and 51 after a little bit of trading, and for that they should be commended.

However, while needs were addressed, were they addressed correctly?

At pick 30, which the Vikings traded to the Lions, Detroit selected concussion machine RB Jahvid Best. This gave the Vikings time to select the cornerback they wanted.  Trading down four spots, they missed out on a product of Secondary U, Florida State’s Patrick Robinson.

Robinson is a great athlete with loads of potential and fits more into the cornerback mold size-wise.  Chris Cook, the Vikings selection at number 34, is also a very good athlete, but has many question marks coming with him.

Cook has only stayed healthy for an entire season once in his career, and missed significant time the other two.  He was also declared academically ineligible in 2008, which obviously brings into question his ability to succeed mentally at a pro level.  If the Vikings like Cook at more of a safety position, which his size would indicate, he would be undertaking an even more complex position to play in football which he may not be ready for.

Cornerback was the right call, but Cook was not.  If the Vikings really wanted to be aggressive, they could have simply moved up a spot and taken a top three corner in the draft and a major playmaker at that, Boise State’s Kyle Wilson.

With the Vikings second pick, they moved up and selected Stanford’s Toby Gerhart, a much-deserved Heisman runner-up who probably should’ve won it.  Gerhart’s stats and power in college were very impressive, racking up over 3,000 yards during his last two seasons at Stanford.

While you can’t doubt Gerhart’s ability, you have to question where he fits in for Minnesota.  The Vikings had so much success with AP and Taylor as a power attack the first two downs, and a quick, diverse, speed approach on third down.

With Gerhart, all you’re doing is complimenting Peterson’s power with more power.  When it comes to third and three or more, it seems that any play to a running back is out of the question.  Gerhart’s 39 receptions over four years of college football leaves diversity on third and distance out of the question.  While he can be effective as a third and short or goal line back, last time I checked Adrian Peterson was pretty decent at that.  Minnesota no longer has a third down threat, definitely not one the caliber of Chester Taylor.

The man that seemed like a logical RB pick in this draft, at least for the Vikings, was USC’s Joe Mcknight.  A lightning quick, explosive athlete, Mcknight has pass catching experience and more resembles the kind of guy the Vikings have historically used on third downs, whether it be David Palmer, Chester Taylor, or Mewelde Moore.  Mcknight is a threat from anywhere on the field and could’ve brought a lot to the Vikings offense without having to trade up to get him.

Mcknight went 112th overall, and the Vikings could’ve filled another position of need with a pick as high as the 51st.

The Vikings best pick could’ve been UAB QB Joe Webb.  Their 6th round pick, Webb probably will spend a year on the practice squad, but timed as the fastest quarterback at the combine with a 4.48 forty, he can do a lot of different things in the offense, which could lead him to being a good utility man in the league- think Miami’s Pat White.

While myself and all the other naysayers will naysay, we have to remember that the Vikings have been successful in drafts under Brad Childress.  He knows plenty of things the skeptics don’t and has done well since taking over the helm for Minnesota.

Perhaps this year will once again show that Brad knows best.


  1. jmccormick says

    I think you meant David Palmer. Dean Palmer was the Tigers third baseman for a while in the 1990s.

    With that said, you’re right about Gerhart and the Vikings draft overall. Their second round choice was definitely interesting, and wouldn’t you think it would’ve been worth it to grab Jahvid Best in the first and then Cook later in the second? Jim Schwartz had the best draft quote about that guy’s highlight films getting him aroused.

  2. Melissa W. says

    The Gerhart pick sounds like a Ted Thompson move almost! I mean, “we’ll take the best player available” argument is one that’s made often but seriously, not in this situation, you can’t make it. Good article Mike!

    David Palmer is also the former President on 24. And a dude who lives in MN that has been a TSB Contributor! haha.

  3. McKnight? That HUGE disappointment at SC?

    You’ve got to be kidding.

    TG is a pro-caliber centerfielder in baseball. The guy can catch.

    You frozen Minnesotans wait and see. Gonna love the guy.

  4. Peter Christian says

    I’m on board with Gerhart about a million times more than McKnight. Gerhart is a workhorse who can do anything you ask of him in the backfield. Run inside, run outside, pick up the blitz, run short routes into the flats, whatever. McKnight can realistically do only half of that. I agree McKnight gives more flexibility on the routes he can run but who cares, ADRIAN PETERSON is going to be on the field 2/3rds of the time. Purple Jesus, you might have heard of him. I’d much rather have a guy who can do everything to spell AD rather than a guy who the opposing middle linebacker(s) can have free passes to the QB with.

    I don’t like the Chris Cook pick, not one bit. I would have rather them trade down again and get Javier Arenas even later. Or trade up to get Kyle Wilson once they realized that it was going to come down to the Jets or them taking him (which by all accounts I’ve heard, is what happened on Thursday night).

  5. paulmbanks says

    Why are you even bringing AP into this argument?? That’s a non-sequitur! The best tailback in the game…yeah of course he’ll be on the field 2/3 of the time as long as he’s healthy. We’re talking about finding Chester Taylor’s replacement here, not a new feature back to handle 20-25 carries a game.

    You’re pretty feisty today for someone who made fun of me for neevr seeing “Miracle.” promised to mail to me on at least 4 different occassions, and then delivered on 0% of those promises.

  6. paulmbanks says

    Oh yeah back to the pt at hand McKnight vs. Gerhart as someone whol could grow into the 2nd string tailback, I think Toby was genuinely a victim of racial discrimination in his draft stock. Few NFL GMs and scouts will admit it, but they do avoid white tailbacks like Charlie Weis avoids dieting. But I still think if he was this do-it-all prospect you claim him to be he would have been scooped up earlier.

    cuz racism aside, this was still a weak ass RB class. Epsecially after Spiller and Mathews. as for McKnight, well that might have been worse. The only person I could see wanting to draft him is Al Davis, so I think I insulted Mc Knight enough now.

  7. Gerhart and Cooke were chosen as players that are the best fit the Childress’ system. Gerhart is an advanced blocker coming out of college and Cook is a prototypical cover 2 corner. Reynaud moving to the backfield gives the Vikings the pass catching running back with Peterson and Gerhart beating the crap out of the defensive front line. I like the picks and I think they will prove to be solid players for the Vikings.

  8. footballfan14 says

    The author of this article clearly has no idea of Gerhart’s pass receiving ability The fact is, Stanford did very little passing out of the backfield because Toby usually got them a first down after a couple of runs. And, when he didn’t Andrew Luck had a great receiving corp to choose from other than Toby. The kid can and will catch footballs. As for his running ability, anyone who thinks this kid is merely a short yardage brute….is an idiot!

    Provided he stays healthy, write this down today………… he will give Adrian Peterson all he can handle for the right to become the go-to guy in terms of running the football. THIS KID CAN RUN!

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