How to screw up a Super Bowl run in one easy step.
Somewhere George Allen is rolling his eyes and out on the Caribbean Jimmy Johnson is making a wisecrack on his fishing boat. This off-season the Vikings had the chance to trade for Jay Cutler and passed for undisclosed reasons. Yes, according to all credible media reports the Vikings – who run a predictable, vanilla offense that is stacked with explosive and talented players at every position except quarterback – passed on one of the top quarterbacks in football because, uh, they won't say. Had it been George Allen, who believed in winning now, he would have unloaded draft picks by the truckload to get him. Had it been Johnson, I bet he would have too because he always stressed the value of a franchise quarterback. Especially when it's a generational talent and you are already stacked at every position.
Anyways, there's no doubt that the Vikings maximized their draft. Grabbing Percy Harvin out of Florida gives them a guy who can fly out of the slot and wreak havoc on defensive backfields. If you haven't seen him play, which would mean tuning out CBS's SEC coverage all year, the guy was impossible to defend at the collegiate level. As Rick Alonzo from the St. Paul Pioneer Press points out, Harvin would excel in a Wildcat package should the Vikings choose to use one. And considering a potential backfield package of Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, and Tavaris Jackson, you have to know that Brad Childress has to at least be considering the possibility when he is laying in bed in the dark. Seriously, how many teams want to see Peterson come flashing out of some modified veer offense where he gets to pick and choose any number of holes to run through while someone like Harvin has the flat out speed to burn just about any safety on play action? However, while Harvin is a quintessential no-brainer in terms of talent, receiver is the third hardest position in the game to learn (after quarterback and center), so don't expect a 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns just yet.
After the defection of Matt Birk to Baltimore, Phil Loadholt better bring a big load because he more than likely became the staring left tackle on draft day. No pressure or anything, but it may be this kid's job to provide whomever starts at quarterback blind side protection. Godspeed, young man, and in week six tell Haloti Ngata I said hi.
Oh, but the third round just gets me. So you take another corner in the third round even though you are set at the position? I appreciate the idea of depth, and with the collective bargaining agreement in shambles and the day-to-day worries concerning injuries and depth hounding coaches, I understand where the front office is coming from, however, come on. It's time to win now, and this pick is the result of what the Vikings didn't do in the offseason; trade for Jay Cutler.
Let's get down to brass tacks. Considering that one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL was available in his prime because Josh McDaniels is the worst coaching hire since Rich Kotite, the Vikings were foolish to pass on him. Right now, at this moment, this team is a quarterback away from a serious Super Bowl run and three-to-six years of 10-13 win seasons and consistent playoff berths. To bet on Tavaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels, or John David Booty is absolute lunacy considering the paltry sum the Bears gave up to get Cutler. Draft picks are valuable, yes, but players like Cutler come along only every so often. They didn't even take a flier on Graham Harrell because, what, he played in a spread offense at Texas Tech? The biggest hole in this team was not addressed in the off-season nor in the draft, and even though they'll win 10 or 11 games, they better pray that someone steps up at quarterback now or they will have wasted one of the best defenses no one has ever heard of and one of the best pure runners, in Peterson, since Gayle Sayers.
Have fun with that.
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Written by Sean Neumann