After getting selected in the second-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, RB Toby Gerhart has been a very dependable caddie for Adrian Peterson.
Gerhart is a workhorse of a running back who offers above average pass-protection. He is also entering a contract year with the Minnesota Vikings and their ability/need to resign him may not be priority with Adrian Peterson’s remarkable comeback leaving very few carries to be had.
As ESPN 1500 Twin Cities’ Tom Pelissero mentions, Gerhart is a potential candidate to be traded this offseason. There are teams currently searching for starting running backs like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and the St. Louis Rams who could value an established player like Gerhart over a prospect.
If traded before the draft the Vikings would be lucky to pull more than a fourth-round pick, in my opinion, but in this draft that fourth-round pick has pretty good value. Even if they don’t trade Gerhart on draft day, they could still use a day three selection on a running back and consider trading Gerhart in training camp as Pelissero states.
In my latest mock draft, I have the Vikings using a seventh round pick on Pittsburgh Panthers’ RB Ray Graham. Graham has the ability to develop into a great NFL third-down running back. The Vikings were high on RB Jordan Todman, who was signed off the Practice Squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Not only do the Vikings have to think about the future in regards to the positions depth but they also need to replace Percy Harvin who operated as a pass-catching threat when lined up out of the backfield. Harvin was also the primary kick return specialist.
The Vikings could look even earlier in the draft, say rounds 3 or 4, at a player like Clemson’s Andre Ellington who is a dual threat as a runner and receiver or Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor who is a solid between the tackle runner with outstanding protection skills. Another option could be Oregon’s Kenjon Barner who is an explosive running back that can be a dynamic return threat in rounds 4 or 5.
Having 11 draft picks in 2013 allows the Vikings to be able to address a position like running back without ignoring other pressing needs on both sides of the ball.