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If the Indianapolis Colts don't select Andrew Luck, should the Vikings draft him at #3 if he is available? Or should the Vikings trade up to #1 to get Luck? I know we selected Ponder with the 12th pick last year, but it’s not for certain that Ponder will reach the elite level at quarterback. I think Luck has a better chance than Ponder to be an elite quarterback in this League. What are your thoughts?
-- Pamir T.
Coon Rapids, MN
We shouldn’t spend much time thinking about any of these scenarios because they are next to impossible. Even with Robert Griffin III running as fast as he did in the 40-yard dash, Luck actually solidified his standing at the class’ top quarterback at the Combine with his performances in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical leap. That’s not to take anything away from RG3, though, because he had as impressive a Combine experience as anyone. He was unofficially clocked with a two-run average of 4.38 seconds and his official time was a 4.41. On top of that, I’m told he was super-impressive in the team interview environment and he answered questions in his media session with ease. I will be shocked if the Colts don’t take Luck and if RG3 doesn’t go #2 overall.
After watching the Combine, I was very impressed with LT Matt Kalil and also WR Michael Floyd. What do you think about drafting both of these players? And do you think we are in good draft position to take both? What round do you think Floyd will go in? If it’s mid- to late 1st round, I think we need to trade the #3 overall pick to Cleveland and get both of their 1st-round picks, and use those picks to take Kalil and Floyd. Even though CB Morris Claiborne is very enticing, I think that we need a cornerstone blocker (Kalil).
-- Rahmeek P.
I believe the Vikings will have the opportunity to draft Kalil with the #3 pick because Luck and RG3 will go 1-2, which leaves the Vikings at #3 and (in my opinion) the top three players being Kalil, Claiborne and Blackmon (in that order). The Vikings could check the trade market and move back as many as two spots and still get one of those three players, but I’d rather see the Vikings remain at #3 and take Kalil because I think he’s going to be a 10-year starter at the most important position along the offensive line.
As for Floyd, I’m impressed with his body of work at Notre Dame and I’m particularly impressed with his physicality. I think he’s a bit stiff in his movement, particularly in his lateral movement, so that causes me some pause in my excitement about drafting him. Now, he did register a good 40-yard dash time at the Combine, so I think that will cause his stock to rise a bit and ultimately I think he’ll be selected in the later stages of the 1st round. At this point off the knowledge I have of him, I wouldn’t want the Vikings to trade up from the 2nd round into the late stages of the 1st round to grab Floyd. But that opinion could change over the next six weeks. I’d rather have the Vikings stay at #35 overall (third pick of the 2nd round) and take the best player available at that time.
I've got two questions this week. First off, I was looking at Rick Spielman’s interviews and saw that he referenced
I have a feeling Zach and I are going to have to agree to disagree here. To me, giving up on Ponder at this point is foolish. Even in the extremely improbable scenario that Luck or RG3 fall to the Vikings and the Vikings select either in the draft, there would still be an open competition between that player and Ponder. Look, there’s no question that at times over the past two seasons Webb has come in and played well, giving the team a spark when needed and when Ponder was forced out of the game because of injury. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Webb’s and I believe he not only has a spot on this roster, but a spot on the field as a playmaker. I just think those who want Webb to start at quarterback over Ponder tend to remember all the great things he does, but also selectively forget the times when he doesn’t play well or makes mistakes at the quarterback position.
Ponder has not convinced me that he will be a great NFL quarterback. But he also hasn’t convinced me that he can’t be. We simply don’t have a large enough sample size of his work to make a final judgment on him. He was constantly running for his life last year and he was throwing to a depleted wide receiver corps. I believe Ponder can be the answer at quarterback, but in order for him to be able to prove that the Vikings have to put him in a better position to succeed. I think they’ll do that in 2012, and then after the 2012 season we’ll have a much better idea of whether Ponder is the answer or not.
As for the wide receiver position, I do expect the Vikings to add several new names to the mix. They simply cannot go into the season with what they have now at wide receiver. There has to be talent added, and I’m of the belief that the talent will be added in the draft. I don’t expect the Vikings to be major players in the wide receiver free agent market, largely because I think most of the top-end wide receivers will be retained by their original teams via the franchise tag. The only exception to this is Vincent Jackson, who I believe could be a target of the Vikings if he becomes available (several other teams will target him as well, so this is not a news flash).
-- Jeff L.
I’m not sure that Shiancoe’s ability and skills are declining. Remember, he didn’t endure much wear and tear over the first few seasons of his career because he was a backup in New York behind Jeremy Shockey. In a perfect world, the Vikings would be able to retain most of the free agents, including Shiancoe, but as Jeff indicated in his question, the Vikings have to consider the salary cap while they try to improve the roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few teams expressed interest in Shiancoe – maybe Arizona or the NY Giants – and if they do I think that will price the Vikings out of his market.
If Shiancoe leaves the team, I do expect the Vikings will address the tight end position in the draft and/or undrafted free agency.
-- Doug H.
I do believe the Vikings linebackers had a tougher job in recent seasons because of the decline in production from the defensive tackle spot opposite
The Vikings may consider bringing Henderson back, but as is the case with Shiancoe, they could be priced out of the Henderson market if other teams are interested. Even beyond that, Henderson falls into the category of players that the Vikings might have to consider moving on from in order to give younger players a chance to make their mark. These are tough decisions for a team to make because Henderson has been such a vital part of the franchise and such a great leader on defense.
I was intrigued by the Vikings signing of former CFL LB Solomon Elimimian a few weeks ago. I was watching some highlights, and he looks like one pretty good player. Do you think there is any chance he could see some legitimate playing time with the Vikings, and help solve some of their linebacker problem? My second question involves Terrell Owens’ performance on Saturday night in the Arena Football League (I think), with three touchdown catches. Since the Vikings are in need of a receiver this offseason, any possibility they could make a low-risk deal to bring T.O. in?
-- Nat J.
Cape Elizabeth, ME
I don’t know a lot about Elimimian and he has a chance to make an impact because he’s on the roster, but he’s not a guy I’m going to count on at this point. If he comes to the team and starts making an impact, that’s great and I’ll be completely willing to consider him as a long-term possibility. At this point, though, I think he has a lot to prove because playing well in the CFL is a lot different than playing well in the NFL.
As for Owens, I think his presence in the Indoor Football League (IFL) is more of a joke than a legitimate comeback attempt. I appreciate and respect Owens competitive desires and passion for the game, but at this point in his career and with his recent knee injury, I don’t believe he has the ability and health to be a contributor at the NFL level. If he joins a team and is productive, I will admit I was wrong. But right now my gut tells me his productive NFL playing days are behind him. Even if he could contribute, the Vikings are trying to get younger and build a team that can compete for years to come. Adding Owens is a move that a team looking for short-term improvement will consider.