The Vikings have made what is sure to be one of the most-discussed draft picks of 2010, trading up with the Houston Texans and selecting running back Toby Gerhart of Stanford.
Gerhart had great college stats, but opinion was divided about where he should be picked. Some had him going as high as the 2nd round, while others projected him into the 4th or lower.
Just prior to the draft, Gerhart become embroiled in something of a controversy when he revealed that at least one team made an issue of his race – he is white, and most NFL running backs are not – during an interview.
But that controversy is not why people will be talking so much about Gerhart. The discussion instead will be sure to center on what Gerhart’s selection means for Adrian Peterson, who despite MVP-level talent, has frustrated many fans with his decreasing production and increasing tendency to fumble, especially in big spots.
If Gerhart, a big, bruising, tough back, develops quickly, at the very least, he should get his share of short-yardage and goal-line reps.
One thing Gerhart almost certainly can’t do is replace Chester Taylor as a third-down back. He is not known as much of a pass receiver and there are questions about his blocking.
Perhaps the thinking here is that the durable Gerhart can take some pressure off AD, who has racked up a lot of carries in his few years in the league.
The pick was a surprise, at any rate. And surprises are good.
With the trade, the Vikings gave up their third round pick, meaning they are done drafting for tonight. Unless they trade back up.