After struggling through a disastrous 3-13 season, the Minnesota Vikings enter what is probably the most unsettling off-season in team history. Not only was their on-field performance cause for worry for Viking faithful, but the continuing stadium drama has left Vikes fans anxious and distraught. The stadium will take care of itself, one way or another, and sooner rather than later.
So let's talk about fixing the Vikings on the field.
With the announcement by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III that he will be entering the draft, the Vikings find themselves in an enviable position. The Indianapolis Colts, selecting first overall, have said that they will be selecting Stanford QB Andrew Luck. The St. Louis Rams need as much help as the Vikings do, and they're selecting second.
But they don't need a quarterback. With their offensive line as much of a disaster as Minnesota's, I would be surprised if they passed on USC's Matt Kalil. If the Rams don't select him, he would be the obvious choice for Minnesota. But let's say that the Rams take a playmaker for Sam Bradford, like Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon.
The Vikings are on the clock, Matt Kalil is out there and the phones are ringing with trade offers so somebody can move up and take RGIII. If you're Rick Spielman, what do you do? If Kalil is there, take him and don't look back. Quality LT's in the NFL are a rare commodity, and Kalil will go a long way to fixing the offensive line.
But let's say Fisher and the Rams do take Kalil, now what?
If this is the scenario, it will arguably be the most critical moment in Vikings draft history. A trade down to acquire more picks and help re-stock the roster is the smart play here, but what's even more critical is who the VIkings end up getting with it.
Minnesota has done a pretty good job with first round picks since Rick Spielman became part of the front office staff in 2006, but a terrible job in the later rounds. It is because of that failure that the VIkings find themselves in the spot they are today, and they will only crawl out of this hole by getting solid players in the second and third rounds. Solid players that can contribute right away.
So yeah, I'm all for trading down to collect picks as long as those picks are used wisely. Depending on how far back they move, I like a couple options. At the tackle position, Iowa's Riley Reiff or Ohio State's Mike Adams would be guys that could step in and start right away. At CB, LSU's Morris Claiborne would be a great pick, but so would Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick.
The one guy I don't want them to select? WR Justin Blackmon.
It's not that I don't think Blackmon isn't a great player. It's not that I don't think he's over-rated. I just feel that Minnesota needs help more urgently along the line and in the secondary than I do as WR. Yes, they need help there as well, but that need can be addressed in free agency.
The success rate for WR's taken in the first round is iffy, but offensive linemen, especially tackles, seem to fare better overall.
Trade down, take a tackle, and don't look back.