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NFL Mock Draft 2011: The Vikings Select...

The New SB Nation Mock Draft has been released, and there isn't a lot of movement or change from the top pick, or who the Vikings are projected to select.  However, there is one tidbit of information that might change the entire draft dynamic for the Vikings.

The two biggest positions of need for the Vikings, quarterback and defensive end, are unchanged, and the top two quarterbacks are still Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert.  And they're still both projected to be gone by the fourth pick, as Newton is still the projected #1 overall to Carolina, and Gabbert quickly following at #4 to Cincinnati.

For the Vikings, Brian Galliford is doggedly sticking with Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers as the Vikings first pick, and his reasoning is still unchanged:

12. Minnesota Vikings: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. The term "microfracture surgery" is being floated around Bowers, despite the fact that other than a slow 40 time, he tested fairly well at his pro day. It's hard to see him lasting too far beyond the Top 10, if in fact he gets that far to begin with.

Bowers is a great talent, did pretty good at his pro day but was a little slow, and might need microfracture surgery.

Wait...WHAT?!?!?!

Brian Galliford is one of the smartest football minds we have on SB Nation, and we've had a few email exchanges over who the Vikings should select.  He makes a solid case for Bowers, he really does.  Up until the microfracture surgery part.  If microfracture surgery is even a remote possibility for a guy that's never taken a snap in the NFL, you do not, under any circumstances, draft him that high. 

Microfracture surgery is a risky operation, not in a life or death manner, but in a 'can you play professional sports again' risk.  Back in the 70's, a torn ACL was the career ender; today, in many cases, it's microfracture surgery.   There have been some notable NBA players who have returned from the procedure and have had success, but results are mixed, as they are with the NFL.

Doing a quick study of NBA and NFL players that have undergone the surgery, it looks like 50-50 proposition if a guy can even make it back and play (results are a little better in the NBA), and if he does, the chances are even less that he will get to 100% of where he was before the injury.

That said, these are the type of rumors that pop up around draft day, and they sometimes cause a player to drop like a rock towards the bottom of the ocean.  Many times, these rumors are unfounded, and the team that eventually take a chance on the guy gets a great player at a discounted price.

If Bowers' knee is healthy, he needs to get out in front of this and squash this rumor, or it will spread through NFL draft war rooms like a California wildfire.

The Vikings aren't in a position to take a risk on a player that might have a potentially serious health problem, and if Bowers' troublesome knee doesn't magically clear up between now and draft day, the Vikings would be wise to pass on him.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.