With the impending NFL Draft taking place tomorrow evening, four of the Daily Journal staff sat down to talk about what the Minnesota Vikings should do at the number eight pick and why it would be a good idea.
By Zach Stich
The key to the kingdom: Quarterback
My opinion is you always want to build your offensive line before you put the other pieces in place.
After 2012’s draft of Matt Kalil, the Vikings now need to get the key to porsche and draft a quarterback with the eighth pick.
Watching draft editions (which seem like everyday) of NFL live and looking at multiple mock drafts, I believe most people have been caught up in the smokescreen of this quarterback is too small or he isn’t mature enough. If you bought into this, you might be a Minnesotan.
If Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles is still around at number eight, I believe that the Vikings should not be afraid to pull the trigger and draft one of them. Bortles is supposively the favorite of Vikings’ offensive coordinator Norv Turner and Manziel has proved he can beat top-caliber defenses in the SEC (Just check where some of those defensive players are going).
The quarterback taken will also have a two years of tutelage before he needs to take an NFL snap. This worked out well for our neighbors to the east and would allow either quarterback to grow in our offensive system.
By Rian Bosse
WR not a bad option
I’ve heard a lot Vikings fans over the last couple weeks voice negative sentiment against Minnesota using their first round pick to grab a receiver in this year’s draft. Many believe we are already set with the group we have, mainly Jennings, Simpson and Patterson, and that we should put our focus on the quarterback position.
If you’ve been following mock drafts and projections from the experts, you’ve probably noticed one thing: the Vikings have been projected to take each of the big three quarterbacks (Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles) at some point since speculation began. What does that mean? A quarterback might not be the best payoff in the first round this year.
Why not make sure that our future quarterback has the weapons he needs around him, especially as the league continues to develop its high scoring offensive game? If the Vikings have another bad year, it could set the team up for another high draft pick in the coming years when the top of the quarterback class might be stronger. The Vikings might even be able to get a future steal at the quarterback position in the second round this year.
Any team who picks Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is going to have a weapon ready to work in the NFL. He probably won’t be there for the Vikings to grab, but a big receiver and proven route runner like Texas A&M’s Mike Evans would compliment the speedy Patterson.
Receivers can be a tricky first round pick and many of the better ones have come in late rounds, but the Vikings need to start building some offensive muscle. AP won’t be around forever.
By Aaron Stanley
Unimpressed? Trade down
With the top QB prospects failing to impress and the top 10 slots still as wide open as ever just days before the draft, the Vikings will look to trade out of the number eight slot down to the mid-teens to take either one of the top corners, Pittsburgh defensive lineman Aaron Donald or Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Such a move will allow GM Rick Spielman to grab the most talented player on the board while building up more picks later in the draft. Because the Vikings were able to plug most of their roster holes via free agency, and this first round is one of the deepest in years, this move down the board will be a luxury the team can afford.
But Spielman must be able to find a buyer, which could be tough should other teams look to employ the same strategy. He therefore needs to play hardball and hype up a guy like Mike Evans or Anthony Barr – as he did shrewdly in 2012 with Trent Richardson – to force a team a team that wants either of those guys to overpay.
By Chris Reinoos
Vikings should go defense
As a Packer fan, I admittedly look at the Vikings a bit differently. From this outside perspective, the team seemed to have more problems than a first-round quarterback would solve.
The team’s defense was horrendous last year and, while Linval Joseph is certainly a welcome addition, they are returning many of the same players while losing their best pass rusher in Jared Allen.
If Khalil Mack somehow slips to the eighth pick, the Vikings would be wise to take him. But that seems extremely unlikely at this point.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley will likely still be on the board, and the University of Alabama product would be a nice choice. Mosley brings versatility and toughness and many expect him to emerge as an every-down inside linebacker. Those do not just grow on trees.
Cornerback help is also available in the form of Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert and Aaron Donald would look nice next to Joseph on the defensive line for years to come.
But from this view, Mosley would provide instant value. Worry about the quarterback in the second or third round and get some defensive help.