Vikings Roll the Dice With '09 Draft
If everything works out, the addition of first-round pick Percy Harvin and second-round pick Phil Loadholt will help ensure that it doesn't really matter who is playing quarterback for the Vikings.
If it all works out with Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe and Harvin, the Vikings will move the ball even with quarterbacks prone to short-hopping receivers. Putting the massive 335-pound Loadholt at right tackle on a team that already has Steve Hutchinson and Bryant McKinnie should help create even more holes for Peterson and backup tailback Chester Taylor. The defense led by Jarred Allen and the Williams wall, should continue to be one of the game's best.
Of course, that's a best-case scenario. If the Vikings' gamble doesn't pay off, Harvin could prove to be a problem in the locker room, which is the reasons some teams were unwilling to draft him. Loadholt may create some holes in the running game, but his slow feet may give defensive ends an easy path to Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson, and the Vikings will once again prove to be less then the sum of their parts.
But with this team it makes sense to gamble. As we saw with the Chargers last year, the shelf life of even the game's best running backs isn't that long, so it's worth trying to win while Peterson is in the prime of his career. Last year's trade for Jared Allen is also aimed at winning now. The Vikings have had only 10 draft picks in the past two years, and only four picks in the top three round (two less than the Patriots had this year). That may come back to cost the Vikings over the long term, so it's worth going all in to win now.
So now we've gotten to this point where the Vikings are doubling down on their risks. Percy Harvin was acclaimed by many to be a top 10 talent thanks to his game-changing speed. But he also was considered by some to be undraftable because of his positive drug test at the combine and his reputation as a me-first player at Florida. It's the kind of risk the Vikings should be taking--if he stays focused he could give the Vikings a third big-play threat. If he turns out to be a bust? Well, head coach Brad Childress won't be around to deal with the aftermath.
This could end up being an outstanding draft. The top two picks are expected to make an immediate draft, while third-rounder Asher Allen could end up starting at cornerback and Jasper Brinkley could become a very useful run-stuffing linebacker.
But it's also risky. If it works out, Childress may finally win over the Vikings fans. If it doesn't, he won't have to hear their boos any longer.
1 (22) Harvin, WR, Florida
2 (54) Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma
3 (86) Allen, CB, Georgia
5 (150) Brinkley, LB, South Carolina
7 (210) Jamarca Sanford, S, Mississippi
Grade: B-. Two years from now this could be an A, but if also could end up being a D. Fate awards the bold?