Minnesota Vikings 2008 Draft

If we have learned anything from watching the Wilf/Childress regime in action on draft day, it’s that they draft for need. Not that the previous regimes didn’t; it’s just that this one does it well. They’ve earned my trust because they’ve had far more hits than misses on draft day.

In 2006, they picked Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffin, Ryan Cook, Tarvaris Jackson, Ray Edwards and Greg Blue. The only one who definitely didn’t work out was Blue. Jackson remains to be seen.

brought Adrian Peterson in the first round, followed by Sidney Rice, Marcus McCauley, Brian Robison, Aundrea Allison, Rufus Alexander, Tyler Thigpen and Chandler Williams. Alexander was injured during camp, so we should see what we’ve got with him this year. Thigpen was snatched up by the Kansas City Chiefs and Williams was last playing for the Dolphins. Another solid draft.

This year looks like it will be no different. After coughing up a first and two third-round picks for Jared Allen, the Vikes didn’t have a lot to work with this year. But I like what they did do.

Fourth rounder, safety , looks to be great value at that spot and he is likely the heir apparent to Darren Sharper.

They got their developmental quarterback with USC’s . It’s a nice pick in the fifth round because at that slot it’s not quite threating enough to cause TJacks to stay awake at night yet he’s a big enough name to give Tarvaris enough pause to realize this is his make or break year. And if TJacks doesn’t ultimately work out, we’ve got Booty.

With their second fifth round pick, the team added depth to the defensive line and selected an apprentice to Pat Williams in Florida State defensive tackle .

With their first sixth round pick, they drafted Notre Dame center to likely eventually replace Matt Birk. It’s said that Sullivan could also play guard.

With their final pick, and the second of the sixth round, the Vikes got a wide receiver in Jackson State’s . This is the pick we got for the Troy Williamson trade.

Johnson’s a burner–he runs a 4.4 40–but he’s small. Still, he can catch and he can return kicks, two things Williamson couldn’t do. It would be ironic if Johnson became the deep threat Williamson was meant to be or, at the very least, carved out a role for himself as a return man.

So all in all, given the picks that remained after the Allen trade, I think the Vikings had a solid draft. Though I really thought the Vikings would draft an offensive tackle early, given McKinnie‘s possible four game suspension, I wasn’t far off in . They addressed the needs I thought they would, just in a different order.

The team added depth and, with Tyrell and Jaymar Johnson, bolstered their special teams. Keep in mind, too, that we’ve got last year’s fourth round pick, linebacker Rufus Alexander, returning from injury this year, so he will likely be another special teamer.

It looks like the team will wait for the roster cuts to fill out the remaining weak spots on the roster: A quality, spot-starter left tackle, and a backup defensive end. I don’t think anyone’s signed Darrion Scott yet…

Letroy Guion Video Highlights

The took Florida State defensive tackle Letroy Guion with their second fifth round pick, number 152 overall. The 6"4" 303 lbs. Guion is quick off the ball and strong but he’s inconsistent and raw. In other words, he’s the perfect candidate to apprentice to the Williamses.

John David Booty Video Highlights

The traded their first fifth round pick and their seventh round pick to the Green Bay Packers to move up to the Packer’s fifth round pick at 137 overall to select USC quarterback . Booty stands 6’3" and weighs 213 lbs and is considered a solid West Coast quarterback.

Tyrell Johnson Profile

Tyrell Johnson is six feet tall and weighs 198 pounds. at the combine with 27 and in the broad jump with a jump of 10′ 7". Johnson ran a 4.42 40 and had a vertical jump of 32" but he jumped a 39" vertical at his Pro Day.

Tyrell Johnson Video Highlights

The Vikings traded their fourth-round pick to the Eagles for their fifth round pick and swapped second round positions with Philly in order to move up and take Arkansas State free safety :

Here’s another highlight reel. What, by the way, is it with the Mozart-esque opera music for these football clips?!?

2008 Minnesota Vikings Draft Needs

After , the are left with no first-round pick and no third-round pick, leaving them with this year. This dearth of picks has left me with little enthusiasm for doing my typical pre-draft research on possible Vikings’ picks.

That said, these are the area I believe the Vikings will address.

With facing a possible four-game suspension and with a lack of depth at the position regardless, it looks fairly obvious that the Vikes will take an offensive lineman with their second-round pick at number 16 (47th overall), preferably a left tackle.

Fortunately, this draft has a strong , particularly at the tackle position. With the second-round pick, the Vikings should be able to get a player who will at the very least be able to challenge .

With the fourth-round pick, I could see the team taking a wide receiver ro a safety. The Vikings will need to find ‘s eventual replacement, and that could come soon, so wouldn’t surprise me at all here but only if value falls to them. The talent drops off sharply at this position after the top three players.

For that reason, it may be more likely the team picks here. While the addition of helps a lot, the team still doesn’t have that breathtaking athlete that you want at the position.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team in the latter rounds as well. Childress really didn’t want to lose Tyler Thigpen last year, so look for the Vikes to draft a QB to challenge for the third string position and provide another developmental project should Jackson ultimately not work out.

In the sixth and seventh rounds, the Vikes will likely look for depth on the or s and perhaps a or .

Let’s hope that last year’s strong draft was no fluke because this year the Vikes will especially need solid talent evaluation acumen.

Jared Allen Video Highlights

I know I should be very excited about the Vikings prospects for this upcoming season. The trade for , despite the high cost of a first- and two third-round picks, has made the Vikings the favorites to win their division and the team should be considered Super Bowl contenders.

The Vikings pass defense was so bad last season only because of our woeful pass rush. The addition of last year’s NFL sacks leader to the right end position turned the number one weakness on defense into the best defensive line in the league.

Allen has improved steadily since his first season, earning nine sacks as a rookie in 2004, 11 sacks the next year, slipped to 7.5 sacks in 2006, but rebounded in 2007 to lead the league with 15.5 sacks. He achieved these numbers while playing for a Kansas City Chiefs line that included defensive tackles (25 tackles, 1 sack) and (23 tackles, 3 sacks), and second-year defensive end (58.5 tackles, 7.5 sacks). Not a bad line but those tackles are no and .

If Allen continues the progress he’s made in his career thus far–and there’s no reason to think he won’t–the Vikes should have their best front four since of , , , line, and perhaps the best line since the 70s-era Purple People Eaters of , Alan Page, , and .

With a line of /, The Williams Wall, and Allen, teams will no longer have the luxury of focusing their double-teams on one of the Williamses. Edwards and Robison are good pass rushers who now have a bit of experience under their belt and who combined for 9.5 sacks last year. With opponents focused on Pat and Kevin Williams and Jared Allen, look for Edwards and Robison to have a very good year.

The pocket pressure we should be able bring with the front four will free up the linebackers to cover the underneath routes which, in turn, will provide more time for the front four to get to the quarterback. And that will allow the secondary to become ball hawks rather than having to shut down the passing game all on their own.

This defense should, in the immortal words of , "kick ass."

So why do I still have reservations about the Vikings Super Bowl aspiration this season?

. It really depends on Jackson’s ability to keep defenses honest by being able to hit receivers and defeat the eight-in-the-box defenses we saw all last year. If it kicks in for Jackson in his third season, we’ll do fine. If not, while I’m a fan of , the question is whether or not he’s durable enough at his age to start for most of the season.

We’ll see.

Jared Allen Highlight Video

Um, be afraid , be very afraid:

Vikings Press Conference For Jared Allen Trade

Minnesota Wild Win Again – Game 3

The won another wild one last night, taking the game deep into overtime before finishing off the . The Wild overcame horrible officiating and many lost scoring opportunities to come out with a win in another extremely good game. Colorado fans are getting panic-y.

Here are the highlights, courtesy of the NHL. The shorthanded goal by is a thing to behold (about 3:30 in):