Back in 2010 when Amanda Bynes was just starting her slow descent into Hollywood purgatory and J-Biebs wasn’t peeing on everything in sight, the Vikings made a deal with the Lions, the red-headed step-child of the NFC North. As the Vikings traded down to acquire more picks and better positioning later in the draft, the Lions traded up to acquire their prized possession of the 2010 NFL Draft, Jahvid Best. It’s three years later and nothing said about this deal can be set in stone just yet, but it’s high time for a three-year performance review.
The Trade: “I’ll give you injuries if you give me character flaws”
- Lions receive: No. 30 (RB Jahvid Best), No. 128 (OT Jason Fox)
- Vikings receive: No. 34 (CB Chris Cook), No. 100 (DE Everson Griffen), No. 214 (TE Mickey Shuler)
“Some people watch adult videos on their computer. I go to YouTube and watch Jahvid Best highlight clips. That’s what gets me going.”
– Jim Schwartz, 2010 YouTube champion.
Unfortunately for the Lions and especially coach Schwartz (who really needs to find a new site for his “adult videos”), Best, whose concussion-plagued career has all but ended, never produced the volume of highlight reels anywhere near expectations. Best had some explosive moments in his career, like these (calm down, Mr. Schwartz), but only played in 22 games over three years, compiling 1,719 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns.
Jason Fox, the offensive tackle the Lions picked with the Vikings’ fourth-round pick, has also had his fair share of injury issues, but he is finally healthy and looks to have the “slight edge” to win the starting right tackle job out of camp.
The Vikings side of this trade hasn’t been without its speed bumps, either. Much like Best, Chris Cook is talented, but his career has been mostly wasted thus far. Cook has also only played in 22 games over three years, due to a combination of wrist and knee injuries and two arrests in 2011, the first in March for allegedly brandishing a gun during a fight (he was later acquitted) and the second in October for domestic battery against his girlfriend (later found not guilty). Cook hasn’t exactly exploded on the field, either — he has 11 passes defensed, but no interceptions in his career. Cook looks set to start this season as the Vikings No. 1 corner, but that’s a risky proposition considering his track record thus far.
Everson Griffen, the first-round talent the Vikings finally plucked in the fourth round after an NFL Draft nose-dive due to work ethic and character concerns, has had an up and down career thus far as well. Much like Cook, Griffen found himself in trouble with the law early in his career – Griffen was arrested twice in the span of three days in 2011, the first time for being drunk in public and the second for driving without a valid license, fleeing police by foot and assaulting a police officer. Griffen developed into more of what the player the Vikings were hoping last season when he recorded eight sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown despite only starting one game.
You may not remember Mickey Shuler. That’s because he was your normal seventh-round pick – goes to camp, can’t weed his way through NFL talent and finds a practice squad at best. Schuler has bounced around from Minnesota to Cincinnati to Miami and is now a member of the Buffalo Bills. He has two career receptions.
The jury is still out on three of the players in this trade. Jason Fox could find himself starting at right tackle for the Lions this season and beyond, Chris Cook’s combination of size, speed and ability could soon come together to create a dominant pass defender, and Everson Griffen (the heir apparent to Jared Allen) looks poised for an even bigger year as his playing time will surely increase. Unfortunately for the Lions, it was their prize, Jahvid Best,
Without analyzing career arcs or any true career numbers to base a decision, and assuming the best case scenario for all players still on the team that drafted them, the Lions got one starter (Fox) out of this trade and the Vikings got two (Cook, Griffen).
But don’t crown the Vikings just yet. Let’s check back on this trade in another three years. The Lions can continue to fight that injury bug, but nothing is worse than a 2 a.m. phone call from a jail cell.