Minnesota welcomes Cook and Gerhart – Say Goodbye to Rnd3

Okay, so it was another interested morning of stories to wake up to, not quite what I was expecting, but relatively pleasing nonetheless.

With our 34th overall pick taken from the Lions we took Cornerback Chris Cook, a 6’2″, 210lb’er who gives us added security at a position which was not only questionable last year, but was looking very shaky going into 2010 with various injuries, especially the ACL issue with Cedric Griffin. He could also offer cover at safety, and should work well in our defensive set-up. But it wouldn’t be the Vikings unless he had some sort of “past”, and for Cook he missed large parts of his college career, through injury and also suspension for “academic reasons”.  But he showed real quality when he came back after his trouble and put up good numbers in the combine, and the Vikes staff too notice.

And then rather than waiting for our next pick at 62nd overall, the mighty Brick suddenly had a bit of a sinking feeling and felt the need to trade up at 51st to grab Toby Gerhart, a Heisman runner-up-running back. A very exciting prospect who will back up Peterson in 2010 and can also catch and block, a fullback with tailback legs, the heart of a lion, and the gills of Aquaman.

So two things can be taken from this, one that we picked up two players in positions that needed strengthening, and they seem to be good picks. The second is, however that we grabbed two players from the first 3 rounds, which is a little less positive.

The Gab sums up the understandable disappointment at this, but I’d like to add my two cents to it because I’m of the opinion that we actually did pretty well in strengthening rather than pasting over the cracks with more players of lesser quality. I’m a draft rookie so I’m not so well versed in the intricacies of trades for position, I understand wanting to move up and down, but when you are the team giving away trades you have a extra dimension to consider because you have something to lose as well as gain.

In the case of our first three rounds, many fans feel that there is the nagging feeling we didn’t need to lose a 3rd rounder and could have ended up with our draft bag a little fuller. Let’s say that in Round 1 we didn’t give up a pick and grabbed the CB we ended up picking yesterday, okay, so we don’t have some extra picks from the Lions, but we still have our man. Then going into round 2 we have two options, we hold our horses and wait until our original pick, hoping that Gerhart is still around or just pick the “best player available” which was apparently our drafting policy, or we do what we did, and lose a 3rd rounder to trade up for Gerhart anyway, essentially what we did yesterday.

Now, and I hope I’m making sense here, if we didn’t give up a round 3, we probably wouldn’t have gotten Gerhart, so while we would have had 2 players to compliment Cook, maybe, just maybe they wouldn’t have added up to the quality of Gerhart. So was our original decision that bad given what we got? I don’t think it was, we got great players at the key positions. We are not a team in desperate need of big changes, we are Super Bowl contenders who need a little tinkering ad we still have plenty of picks going into today, including an upgraded 4th rounder and an extra in round 7, so I’m hoping that Brick knows what he’s doing, and we end up with the right personnel.

So I’m staying positive, and I also need to stress that there is no point in judging our draft until it is well and truly over. So roll on tonight, and hopefully Brick will show us that there is method to their apparent madness.

And once again, welcome to Chris Cook and Toby Gerhart, may your futures be Purple and prosperous.

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Monday morning, my offseason predictions and the offseason lull hits top/bottom gear

Top of the morning to you all. It well and truly is the offseason now, 4 weeks after starting this blog I come into a Monday morning with 3 open tabs, and nothing new to report on. I suppose I can’t really complain too much though, we’ve had more news than most teams and there are still plenty of exciting (though perhaps not se dramatic) stories that are still to play out in the coming months.

So in the fine tradition of pretty much every football blog out there I’m going to lay out my predictions for the Vikings in the offseason.

1) There’s no point sitting on the fence, Brett Favre is coming back. There may be some out there who don’t want another year of the Silver Fox, but the way I see it, we need the guy. Sage and T-Jack just don’t seem up to the job, and our only other option is to trade up in the draft and get a quality QB straight out of college early on, but I just can’t see that happening. Favre must still be hungry for more, and as bruised and battered as he was after the Saints game, he won’t want to bow out on yet another heartbreaking interception. Plus he knows there’s money in the bag, the fans love him, the team loves him, he loves the team and he really does have another shot at making it to the Super Bowl.

2) The new stadium will not be confirmed until the 11th hour (end of 2010 at the earliest). The financial situation in Minnesota means that getting the legislature through to build a new stadium will be nigh on impossible for the time being, and whilst Gov. Pawlenty (who’s quotes are being recycled so often they’re starting to taste like Dutch Lager) is very vocal about getting it all set in stone, but money is the biggest factor here, and money in the present, not the future (money that a stadium would bring in). I also do not think the Vikings will be moved from Minneapolis,  but at the same time I recognise that this is a real threat. The people who will make the decision on a new stadium cannot be complacent, because places like LA want a football team, and if the Vikings do come on the market someone will snatch us up and move us away, which in my opinion will destroy the soul of the team.

3) The StarCaps saga will not go on an on. Whilst Pat and Kevin Williams have won a few battles in this Never Ending Story, the war they are waging against the NFL, in my opinion will end in a 4 game suspension. Betting against the NFL is like betting on the Lions, you gonna lose! The NFL will throw everything they have at this case to stamp their authoritah on the situation because if they lose it sets a worrying precedent from their perspective. Personally I think the NFL are in the wrong though, but they need to win this case and I think they will.

4) Chester Taylor will leave us this offseason. You can’t blame the guy, he had some very productive seasons, and then came AP, relegating Taylor to a 3rd down back, possibly one of the best in the league, but not the #1 choice. We need Taylor, he is a great go-to player, and is so versatile, catching, running and blocking when we really need it. But he wants, and if we’re honest, deserves another crack at being at #1. The only thing that could persuade him apart from $$$ is that he isn’t a spring chicken anymore, and as a 3rd down back in a very good team he still has a shot at glory, as well as potentially being able to prolong his career  due to the fact that he won’t be taking regular punishment like he would be as a starter. But if a team like New England do come-a-knocking it could be too good to pass up on, and if they do, I think we’ll see the end of him in Purple.

5) In the Draft this year, defence should be our priority. I’m no expert on the College football scene as it barely gets any coverage in the UK, so I’m just going to say where I think we will strengthen the team with new blood.

Rnd1) A cornerback should be top of our shopping list after injuries to both our starters and some questionable form from Antoine Winfield towards the end of last season. Despite promise from rookie Asher Allen, our secondary was the weakest area of the team last year and it needs fixing. A strong CB in round one should offer up good competition for the starters as well as cover when we need it, which could be as early as week 1 if Cedric Griffin hasn’t recovered from his surgery.

Rnd2) This is more dependant from what’s available, but if the opportunity is there, we should get a QB on the roster. Regardless of whether Brett comes back, having a rookie QB on the team is a must for the future of the team. Sage and T-Jack do not realistically have a long term future with the team and with a supposedly strong draft crop in 2010, this could be a great year to pick up a future star.

Rnd3) An offensive tackle. The other key failing of the team last year was the O-Line. Losing Matt Birk at Centre caused a few problems but John Sullivan should be able to grow into the role, as should Phil Loadholt. Bryant McKinnie on the other hand seems to be burning bridges on a daily basis and I don’t want to see him playing next year after finding out what a total plank he really is, the fact he likes to advertise this on Twitter so often only goes to reinforce my opinion of him. Whilst he may not be cut from the team, a new OT would give him the kick up the arse, he need in the short term and if he doesn’t perform then the rook takes his place, it’s a win-win… almost.

Rnd4 onwards…) Beyond the first 3 rounds I think another CB/Safety should be on our shopping list as that secondary really needs patching up, and then depending on the Chester Taylor situation, a new Running Back could be needed, and finally another addition to the O-Line, possibly a centre to put pressure on Sullivan.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be a cracking few months though, I just hope there aren’t too many more days with a news drought like today otherwise I may end up making predictions on the length and style of Ol’ Chilly’s beard.