Monday Morning Mailbag - Draft Edition

Posted Apr 26, 2010

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday during the offseason we’ll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Monday Morning Mailbag feature. Although we can’t post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

To submit a comment or question to the mailbag, send an email to Mike Wobschall at Remember to include your name and town on the email.

Hey Mike, when the Vikings used their 1st pick in the draft on Chris Cook, I was pretty confused. They needed a S more than a CB, so why not go for Taylor Mays instead?
-- Rich, Blog comment

I think your claim that the Vikings needed a S more than a CB is a debatable one. Remember, the Vikings have both starting CBs – Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield – coming back from injuries. Cook gives the Vikings another player in the secondary who has the potential to play early in the season if either Griffin or Winfield aren’t ready to go in Week 1.

On top of that, though, remember that teams generally don’t draft for need. So even if the Vikings decided they needed a S more than a CB, they still would’ve drafted Cook over Mays because they had Cook higher than Mays on their draft board. I’m guessing most other teams didn’t have Mays as high on their boards as fans thought because Mays – regarded by many fans as a 1st round pick – wasn’t drafted until the 49th overall pick. So teams in 48 other spots didn’t deem him worthy at their selection – the Vikings weren’t the only team who passed on him and I’m sure there was a reason for it. From what I heard on TV this weekend, Mays has stiff hips and many scouts think he’ll struggle in pass coverage.

We’ll find out on Mays as he career develops – I hope he develops into a good player. But I can see why the Vikings decided on Cook over Mays and I’m glad they did so.

Hey Mike, I was just wondering why the Vikings didn’t draft a potential future QB in the draft. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels to be the future of the team at QB and I feel like the team passed up on some great young QB talent in Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy. I am by no means upset with the teams draft picks, especially with that great Toby Gerhart pick, but not picking up a QB confused me. Skol!
-- Chris, Blog comment

By far this is the most-talked about issue among Vikings fans following the draft. And I’d also say that generally it’s a source of frustration for Vikings fans. All of that is understandable to a point, but at the same time we have to realize that not everyone agrees on the evaluation/value of a certain player. While some think Clausen or McCoy or Pike or Tebow are franchise-type of players, others might find serious flaws in their game. Does Clausen have an attitude problem? Is McCoy’s arm strong enough? Is Pike’s broken arm sufficiently healed? Will Tebow’s loop in his throwing motion be a problem? All of these questions are important and concerns about any of those issues could cause a team to look a different direction.

If you’re the Vikings and you don’t have the type of grade assigned to those players that indicates they could be franchise-type QBs, why draft them? You may think Clausen is the next Montana, but that doesn’t mean he will be. Just like the Vikings think Gerhart is the answer to the RB2 spot – he might not be, but the Vikings think he will be and that’s why they drafted him.

Not taking Clausen or McCoy or Pike this past weekend doesn’t mean the Vikings think Jackson/Rosenfels is the long-term answer. It just means they didn’t think anyone in the draft was the long-term answer, either.

Why wouldn't the Vikings take Tony Pike with one of their late picks instead of the guy they took from UAB?
-- Dave, Sublette, IL

Once QBs Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy were off the board, one of the biggest complaints/comments I’ve received from fans and readers was about QB Tony Pike. And I was beside myself at the number of people who couldn’t believe we weren’t taking him. He was the 204th player drafted and the team that did end up drafting him (Carolina Panthers) is the same team that drafted Clausen, so it doesn’t appear the Panthers think of him as a franchise-type of QB.

Look, I’ve got nothing against Pike. I hope he turns out to be a good pro QB. But there are a lot of reasons for a team to shy away from expecting him to be a franchise-type of QB. He was only a starter in college for 2 seasons and he only played in 27 college games. He’s dealt with injury (broken left arm) and when he did come back from injury during 2009 he did not perform well (19 passes deflected and 3 INTs in his final 3 contests). Also, he’s 6-6, many teams view as too tall – although Joe Flacco is 6-6 and he’s doing fine.

Anyway, there’s was some outrage by Vikings fans that Pike wasn’t taken in the later rounds. But I found it a bit perplexing, especially given his injury history and lack of experience. And the QB the Vikings took from UAB – Joe Webb – isn’t going to play QB for the Vikings. He’ll be a WR in Minnesota and will have a chance to develop a role that could include Wildcat-type of duties, given his experience taking snaps and handling the ball.

The way I feel, you can never have too many offensive lineman. And this draft was loaded with offensive lineman. Is there any specific reason why we didn’t draft more offensive lineman?
-- Miko Palmdale, CA

Coming into the draft, the Vikings had 10 offensive linemen on the roster and then they added another – former Wake Forest G Chris DeGeare. Of the 11 linemen on the roster right now, 7 are under the age of 23 and Ryan Cook is just 24. Add to that the 6 undrafted rookie free agent OL who will be here next weekend, and you’ve got 17 OL on the roster and you’ve got 14 of them on the roster who are 24 or younger. So there are a lot of developmental prospects on the roster, which could explain why the Vikings chose to go in other directions during the draft.

Not drafting one of the upper-level OL that may have been available when the Vikings were on the clock doesn’t mean the Vikings don’t value the position, it just means they decided to address other areas and perhaps take players who were rated higher on their board at the time.

Also, it looks as if most other teams were in-line with the Vikings in terms of OL in the 2nd round because once the Vikings took Chris Cook with the 34th overall pick, there wasn’t an OL selected until pick #45 and there were only 3 total offensive linemen taken from pick #33 to pick #64.

Mike, I’m very disappointed the Vikings failed to move up for CB Devin McCourty or Kyle Wilson and instead settled for CB Chris Cook. With that being said, I have 3 questions. How much of a talent drop off do you sense between Cook and Wilson/McCourty? Can Cook contribute Day 1 in our defense? Where do you see the CB depth chart as of week 1?
-- Alex L.

Alright, let’s give a paragraph to each of your 3 questions…

On the talent drop off: I don’t know how the Vikings had the 3 CBs you mentioned graded, but if I had to guess it would be McCourty, then Wilson, then Cook. But I would also guess that there was only a marginal difference in those grades. If the Vikings thought there was such a big drop off between McCourty/Wilson and Cook, then I don’t think they would’ve traded back from #30 to #34.So, I don’t see much of a talent drop off between Cook and the other 2 CBs.

On Cook contributing Day 1: My sense is that Cook will have a great chance to contribute right away. He said during his conference call with reporters that he can bring more to the Vikings than just defense. He is a willing special teams contributor and he’ll have that chance. Beyond special teams, though, Cook will probably be in direct competition with Asher Allen and Benny Sapp for time on defense. Cook has 1 trait that both of those players don’t have (as much of), and that’s size. Cook stands at 6-2, 212 pounds, while Allen (5-9, 194 pounds) and Sapp (5-9, 190 pounds) are much smaller.

On the CB depth chart: The Vikings don’t have a depth chart at this point in the season, so it’s kind of elementary to guess what it would be at this point. But let’s give it a shot…Griffin/Winfield (starters), Sheppard (3rd CB), Allen/Cook/Sapp (4th CB) and then DeAndre Wright also battling for a spot.

Great pick with DE Everson Griffen. I was wondering, what is the chance of having Griffen rotate in as a LB to help out the defensive line so it would allow us to have our addition of DL Mike Montgomery and also Ray Edwards and Griffen on the field at the same time? Sounds to me like that would be a 1st rank rush defense.
-- Dusting, Blog comment

Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman and Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell both said this past weekend that Griffen has the strength and ability to move to DT in nickel situations, so I see the potential of Jared Allen, Edwards, Griffen and Kevin Williams being on the field at the same time. Ultimately, the addition of Griffen to the DL rotation just ramps up the competition for all of those guys, from DEs such as Edwards and Brian Robison to DTs such as Fred Evans, Letroy Guion and Montgomery (I think Jimmy Kennedy has a spot if healthy).