It’s been a crazy news day for Vikings fans and I’m not sure where to start. Fortunately we have better things to talk about than the player/owner posturing that went on today. We’re supposed to be interested in who does or doesn’t report to work today? Really? Thankfully, Coach Leslie Frasier and Director of Player Personnel, Rick Spielman came to the rescue delivering some interesting tidbits in interviews. I have to give each of them credit, they’ve really held things under wraps leading up to the draft, but finally gave us something to talk about today.
Coach Frasier attempted to give Joe Webb a vote of confidence and even indicated that the team may not bring in a veteran placeholder at the QB position, but there is no way I buy either comment. You don’t go in to a draft with the intent to draft a QB of the future if you have confidence that you have a starter on your roster. As far as a veteran is concerned, while I could see a Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton starting from day one under normal circumstances, we don’t have that this year. There’s not going to be a rooking mini camp next week, there may be no mini camps at all, and we may even lose pre-season games. Teams have to have a veteran at the QB position to hold down the fort this year more than ever. This actually brings up an interesting point that I’ve been thinking about. There is one advantage to having the draft before free agency this year, QB needy teams have the luxury of bringing in a veteran with a similar playing style to the one they draft. This is particularly advantageous to the Vikings because OC Bill Musgrave plans to shape his offense around the skills of his players and he could save the trouble of having to plan for two skill sets. Frasier also seemed to indicate that there is a particular QB on their board that they hope will be there at 12. That says Locker to me, unless there’s more to talk of Gabbert slipping than I believe.
Spielman mentioned that he has been contacted by three or four teams interested in trading up for the 12th pick in round one. That the Vikings are interested in trading down comes as no surprise and their interest in adding a third round pick is well documented. What does come as a surprise, to me at least, is that there are multiple teams interested in trading up to that spot. I was beginning to think that the Vikings were stuck at 12 and would have to trade back in to the round if they wanted a shot at a QB in the mid-late first round range. That they may have the option to trade down if one of the players they covet isn’t on the board is a great position to be in.
The most interesting news of the day has to do with trade discussions between the Vikings and Cleveland Browns. The Browns are said to be interested in the Vikings 12 pick, not in a trade up for the 6th pick, but in a trade down to the 37th pick at the top of round two and their 2012 1st round pick. This would leave the Vikings with the 37th and 43rd picks in round two and would be intriguing for a couple of reasons. One, they wouldn’t be trading up for the Browns 6th pick and a shot at Blaine Gabbert as one might expect. This likely has more to do with not wanting to pay the price to move up and less to do with an opinion of Gabbert, but is interesting just the same. Two, this would put the Vikings in the advantageous position of being able to watch how things play out while having the tools to move up if necessary. One theory the last few weeks has been that the Vikings have too high a pick in round 1 and too low a pick in round 2 to get one of the five second tier QBs in this draft (Locker, Mallett, Ponder, Dalton and Kaepernick). The Browns 37 pick would put them ahead of Arizona, Tennessee and Washington, all teams that share QB needs and in a much better position to grab whoever it is they like. On the other hand, if the rumored QB run starts towards the end of round 1, they can look to make a move.
These are exiting times for draft fans and I’m sure tomorrow will bring more interesting news as the rumor mill swings in to high gear. Only two days to go. Stay tuned!