Column: Back where it all begins

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 28, 2006

There is no doubt about it; it was a long winter for Minnesota sports fans. As we all know, the Vikings missed the playoffs, the Wolves got off to a rocky start and ended up missing the playoffs, and the Wild decided to take a month off thereby ending their hopes at the postseason.

The Purple sent Daunte packing, the Wolves sent Wally packing, and the Wild sent Rollie The Goalie (Dwayne Roloson) packing (he is actually having an awesome postseason with Edmonton, no doubt he’s stoked about the move). Which leads us back to where it all begins, the draft.

The NFL Draft is tomorrow, have you heard? (I haven’t seen a marketing blitz like this since New Coke) I tried this year to not get sucked into the hype that is the NFL Draft. Up until last week I had not paid too much attention to the pre-draft shows, or read too much about the prospects. But something always happens that week leading up to the big day.

A ray of hope hits me. Maybe, if we draft right this will be the year. Maybe if I know everything there is to know about whom the Vikes might draft it will make a difference. (Quick side note &045;&160;I have not been excited about a Vikes draft pick since Randy Moss. Although Denny Green sure convinced me Demitrius Underwood was a sure thing.)

Whether it’s the Wolves, Vikings, Twins or Wild, the draft doesn’t immediately make that team a contender. I drank the Wolves kool-aid this year, Rashad McCants, a slasher to take over for Spree, back to the playoffs! Oh, did you mean by averaging under eight points, two rebounds and less than one assist a game while playing 17 minutes a game.

Not only that but let’s look at the last few drafts by the Vikings. Troy Williamson, Erasmus James, Onterrio Smith and Kenichi Udeze.

In order now 1) stuck in Tice’s doghouse 2) held out then picked up more late hit penalties alone than the entire D combined 3) Original Wizzinator and still waiting to get reinstated 4) injured.

The draft is a way to build for the future, true some teams are going to get an immediate impact from their rookies like the Texans with Reggie Bush, but most teams won’t know the impact for at least two years.

All Vikings fans know the team needs a linebacker and a quarterback. But would you really be surprised if they drafted yet another running back? Does this go back to Denny Green’s draft the best player on the board philosophy? I heard new coach Brad Childress say the other day he hopes to use the draft for what the team wants, not necessarily what they need.

Does that make anyone else nervous?

Oh by the way, in case you missed it, Brett Favre once again attempted to take attention away from all things football and put the spotlight back on him by announcing he was returning to the Packers. Whatever will we talk about in the eight months leading up to the regular season now?