It doesn’t take a genius to put all this together. The Vikings parted ways with starting Mike linebacker Jasper Brinkley this offseason. There is no one on the roster who leaps out at you as a real replacement. They seem completely unwilling to dip into the free agent market. So that leaves one course of action open. Drafting a middle linebacker.
The strong suspicion that the Vikes mean to target MLB in the upcoming draft is only reinforced by recent statements from Leslie Frazier and Mike Singletary. Both men talked about it at an autograph convention over the weekend. Here’s what Singletary had to say about the situation:
We know we have to get one [a MLB]. That’s no secret. When we do, we just have to teach him as much as we can, as fast as we can. It’s going to be a lot of work.
Frazier spoke about the depth at the position in this year’s draft field:
I’d like to believe there’s going to be one there for us. There’s some good players at the linebacker spot, and we have a need to improve our depth and find a middle linebacker. Hopefully, we’ll get the right guy.
Singletary singled out several of these draft prospects, including Arthur Brown, Manti Te’o, Kevin Minter and Alec Ogletree. The Pioneer Press reports that both Te’o and Ogletree were at the Vikings’ “Top 30” draft event last week. Which could mean they’re high on Minter or Brown. Cause teams like to shuck and jive on that kind of stuff.
You can read a lot of stuff into this, but here’s what’s clear. The Vikes are going to draft a MLB in the first couple rounds. If they don’t love Te’o or Ogletree, they might be able to get Minter in the second. They will probably have to be aggressive if they want Manti, Ogletree or Arthur Brown. The guy getting the most buzz right now is Brown, despite his lack of size. Te’o might actually be the best overall fit if you’re willing to overlook his outside issues. What is Mike Singletary looking for? Leadership. Singletary described his ideal guy:
Do they have the personality to get in a huddle and say, “OK, here’s what we’re doing” — as a rookie — and, “Here’s why. Let’s go?” Do they have the presence, that sort of thing, that charisma that draws guys to them and have them believe that he’s the guy?
Who is the guy? We’ll know in a couple of weeks.