We interrupt our regularly scheduled Jared Allen programming to talk about this weekend’s upcoming draft.
That’s right, despite what you may have heard, the Minnesota Vikings didn’t trade all nine of their picks in the 2008 draft to the Kansas City Chiefs to acquire Allen. It just seems that way.
The Vikings actually still have six picks left – one each in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh rounds, plus two in the sixth round. Allen is essentially like a first-round pick for the Vikes, so the team is already off to a rousing start to its ’08 draft. Now the Vikings scouting and personnel team must finish the job and draft some players with their remaining picks that can help the team next season and beyond. The Vikings did that last year by selecting receiver Sidney Rice (second round), DE Brian Robison (fourth round) and receiver Aundrae Allison (fifth round) in the draft.
Here are a few thoughts on what the Vikings might do with their picks this weekend.
Second round (47th overall)
This is still a high pick and the Vikings should be able to land a pretty good player. I think the same philosophy holds true here as it does in the first round – you take the best player available. In a perfect world the best player available would be a versatile O-lineman, someone who can play either left or right tackle and give the Vikings some insurance in case Bryant McKinnie (conduct issues) or Ryan Cook (performance issues) need to be replaced.
Of course, quarterback is still a wee bit of a concern for the Vikings. If someone like Brian Brohm (unlikely) or Chad Henne (possibly) slips this far, the Vikings will seriously consider taking either one.
Fourth round (117 overall)
Signing Allen leaves the Vikings less needy at DE than they were two days ago. Still.... you can never have enough pass rushers. Kenechi Udeze’s likely done for ’08. Erasmus James is a walking MRI. Ray Edwards and Robison are young and promising but also have yet to register more than five sacks in a season. If there’s a DE the Vikings like at this point, I have no problem with them taking one here. And don’t forget defensive tackle. The Vikings have Kevin and Pat Williams manning the middle but behind them are Fred Evans and Ellis Wyms. Upgrading the talent level here wouldn’t hurt.
The Vikings also need to find a replacement for safety Darren Sharper – and soon. This would be a good round to do so.
Fifth round (150 overall)
This could be the time to nab the pass-catching tight end the Vikings currently don’t have on their roster. I know they signed Visanthe Shiancoe to fill that role last year but, sorry, the guy just doesn’t have it. And I don’t know if Garrett Mills or Braden Jones does either. Safety or DE would also be a possibility at this point if the Vikings haven’t already addressed those positions.
Sixth round (187 and 193 overall)
Extra picks in any round other than the first or second usually means a trade will be made to move up in the draft by the team with said picks. The Vikings are in that position here. I expect they might try to deal their sixth round picks to get another pick in the fifth round - if there’s a player they like who they don’t think will be around by the sixth round. As for what position that player might play, wide receiver is a possibility. Despite resigning with the club, Robert Ferguson’s hold on a roster spot can’t be all that secure. The Vikings might also take a quarterback here for Chilly to “develop” if they haven’t done so already.
Seventh round (207 overall)
At this point in the draft you’re taking a flier on any player you choose. The Vikings are probably looking for someone to bolster the special teams unit this late in the draft. That player could play any number of positions.
So there you are, a brief rundown by an interested (but not necessarily well-informed) observer on what the Vikings might do during this weekend’s draft. Without a first round pick, the draft drama might be gone for most Vikings fans. But that doesn’t mean making good use of the picks they do have isn’t important. It is. If the team can land players with the skill level of Rice, Robison and Edwards, they will have done well.
On Deck: Helpful advice