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.Follow paulmbanks