It’s just not a good time to vent about the way the draft has gone so far. We criticized the reach of Christian Ponder at 12 and praised drafting Rudolph The Red Blooded Tight End at 43 when there were clearly other needs. At the end of the day though lets be patient with Rick Spielman. This is the same GM (or Vice President of Player Personnel or whatever the hell his title is) who has drafted 2 of the last 4 rookies of the year in Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin. Not to mention he did trade for a defensive end by the name of Jared Allen. Reaching Rick deserves the benefit of the doubt. He’s not David Kahn… yet.
Still the Minnesota Vikings have 5 picks on Saturday and that’ll be it for football for a while. The NFL is locked out again, so savor the last few rounds. Our staff at TVA has been on record the past couple of months writing about how much this team needs to improve the interior of the offensive line. Steve Hutchinson has had a borderline Hall of Fame career, but his best years are behind him. Hutchinson is also set to make $7 million this year –that’s cut territory unless you’re an elite guard & questions remain if Hutchinson is worth that dollar amount being 33. John Sullivan graded out as one of the worst centers in all of football last year. And then there’s the duo of Anthony Herrera and Chris DeGeare. Herrera tore his ACL last year and at 30 may not make the 2011 roster with a salary of over $2 million next year. DeGeare showed great potential towards the end of last year, but it was only a year ago that he was drafted with no lock on even making the 2010 roster.
That interior is pretty depressing. So bad to think Christian Ponder will have no time to go through his progressions as a rookie and a stud running back named Adrian Peterson who depends on an offensive line to dagger through a defense. And is anyone else dreading facing the Lions duo of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley for the next decade?
With one of the picks that remain the Vikings should give a long hard look at spending a pick or two at improving their interior offensive line. Some names that come to mind who are still available are Clint Boling, James Brewer, Chris Hairston, Lee Ziemba, Tim Barnes, Brandon Fusco & DeMarcus Love.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Marcus Cannon, who while having 1st round talent, unfortunately has treatable form of “non-Hodgkin Lymphoma” and is expected to miss the 2011 season. If Cannon is still on the board in the 6th of 7th round it may make sense to draft him to then stash on the reserve list and hope he comes backs with vengeance down the road. Then again, the Vikings may not have that kind of patience.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig