Drafting for the future of the VikingsPublished 9:25am Monday, April 23, 2012
Column: Aaron Worm, Behind the Mic
Drafting for the future, and if that future is in Minnesota, is what the Vikings and Minnesota legislators are facing. With the draft on Thursday, the focus usually would be completely on who the Vikings are going to take with the No. 3 overall pick, and their nine other picks. Instead there are questions like, “Could this be the last draft for the Minnesota Vikings, will a bill for a new stadium pass before the legislative session ends on May 21, and if there is no stadium deal in place, does that mean for sure the Vikings will be relocating?”
Before we attack these questions, there is one thing for sure: the Minnesota Vikings will be involved in the 2012 draft. The consensus pick for the Vikings by the football experts is offensive left tackle Matt Kalil out of USC. Other possible picks for the Purple could be Justin Blackmon, wide receiver, out of Oklahoma State, and Morris Claiborne, cornerback from LSU. Any one of those guys chosen would not be a bad pick, considering the Vikings’ need list is pretty long. Steve Hutchinson is now gone to Tennessee, and the Vikings could solidify a spot on the offensive line with Kalil. The line needs help to protect quarterback Christian Ponder and create running space for Adrian Peterson coming back from a major knee injury. Blackmon adds a deep threat that the Vikings have been looking for since the injury, then departure of Sidney Rice. The Vikings’ defense was second to last in the NFL in points allowed, so Claiborne would help a secondary that was picked apart many times last season.
If the Vikings pick any of these three, it’s a good pick. But will they? I still see the Vikings moving the pick and picking up an extra pick or two. If the Vikes don’t trade the pick, I go with Kalil. It’s the safest pick, in a draft that is deep with wide receivers. They could go wide out with their second-round pick, 35th overall. How about another South Carolina receiver? (Vikes took Gamecocks wide out Troy Williamson with the seventh overall pick in 2005, and Sidney Rice with the 44th overall pick in 2007.) Alshon Jeffery out of South Carolina is 6 feet 3 inches and 215 pounds. His production went down from 1,517 yards receiving and being an All American his junior year to 762 yards receiving his senior year. He is 15 pounds lighter now than he was during his senior season, and has good hands and is a good jumper.
As for the stadium issue, the decision might come down to the final horn. There’s a rally in support of a new Vikings Stadium being held at the Northbridge Mall in Albert Lea tonight starting at 7. Will a bill pass in time? Your guess is as good as mine. For the Vikings to move, 75 percent of the NFL owners would have to approve the relocation, and there is no guarantee that would happen. I sure would miss them if they left. Probably would have to don the red of the Kansas City Chiefs, but I don’t want to think about that. It’s fourth and goal, and we are waiting to see if the ball gets across the goal line.