Saturday, April 28, 2007

Vikings Opt for Offense

With LaRon Landry off the board at number seven, the Minnesota Vikings opted for offense in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft, selecting Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. The selection suggests that the Vikings are confident both that Peterson's health issues are discrete and on the mend and that head coach Brad Childress can modify his two-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense to accommodate the skilled back.

By selecting Peterson, the Vikings passed on two other players who the team either did or should have considered, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and quarterback Brady Quinn. Okoye appears to be the victim of his youth, with many teams apparently concerned about his limited playing experience and tender age, despite his performance on the field. Quinn, meanwhile, continues what could be a dramatic free-fall, despite his and his agent's best efforts to position him as a can't miss prospect.

While the selection of Peterson adds significant skill to the Vikings' backfield, the team still enters 2007 without a proven quarterback and with the promise of starting a quarterback that looked unready for the NFL, at best, starting at the end of 2006. Even with the quarterback issue unresolved, however, the selection of Peterson over Quinn looks like the right decision.

Up Next: More on the Vikings' Day One Picks. Plus, curious picks.


Anonymous said...

This was easily the best pick without Gaines Adams or Landry on the table. Brady Quinn is not going to help next year any more than Tavaris will, even if we take it as a given that Tavaris will be rocky. Secondly, Okoye? Sure, he's a good prospect, but do we need more defensive tackles at this point in the draft? We have two pro-bowlers up front and our rotation at tackle is definitely very good. I just think Okoye is definitely a reach for the Vikings at 7. Peterson and Taylor give the vikings a potent and dynamic backfield.

Anonymous said...

Taking peterson can help the vikes run game and be a solid backup to taylor, but they still need a playmaker at wideout, bobby wade is not the answer but if dwane jarret is still left in the second round the vikes should get him or we could just have no name bobby wade at wideout and a bunch of rooks who don't know what they're doing

Anonymous said...

The vikings should have taken okoye because of his freakish body. Sure we already have kevin and pat williams but pat is sure to retire in the next 2 years and you never know if kevin will get hurt again for most of the season like last year. Plus okoye at only 19 could play for the vikes for a good 14 years before thinking of retirement and he could play devensive end and backup erasmas or udeze who both did poor and didn't play and he and kevin would reak havic in the trenches

shimrod said...

The vikes are tanking the season just as I predicted. Supposedly peterson's collarbone needs to be rebroken and a plate inserted, which may keep him off the field for all of 07. Zygi is setting the stage for a move out of town. Rice is just an inexperienced marcus robinson. Like most rookie wideouts, he'll become functional in his third season, if ever.

Vikes Geek said...

I've made no bones about my lack of enthusiasm for Quinn. I saw too many games in which Quinn looked average or worse and too few where Quinn made the difference in a positive way to be sold on taking Quinn so high. Moreover, as much as I believe that Jackson remains a project, Jackson has a stronger arm and better speed than Quinn. If, in the end, I'm left to pick between two quarterbacks that make bad decisions, I'll take the one that has a chance to compensate for the poor decision-making with other attributes. I'd still rather have a different starting quarterback in 2007, but Quinn wasn't the answer. And he certainly wasn't the answer over others.

I think Okoye will turn out to be very good draft pick. I've discussed in the past the problem with arguing that a player is a reach at a certain pick. Suffice it to say, if you want a player and know you can only get him by taking him when your number is called to draft, it's not a reach. Just because Mel Kiper has a guy going 14th doesn't mean you're reaching taking him at seven. It just means you weren't able to trade down and still assure yourself that you'd get the guy you wanted. If you get the guy you want and you couldn't maneuver to get him later, it's not a reach to take him when you did.

Consider that Okoye first appeared on most mock draft boards near the end of the first round, if not out of round one all together, and his rise tells you one of two things--either he was the cliched "workout warrior" or he was undervalued because he played for Louisville. I tend to think it was a case of the latter. Had Okoye played at Ohio State, nobody would have blinked if he'd gone in the top three of the draft. He certainly has the ability to warrant that. Unfortunatley for Okoye, and some of the teams that passed on him, not everyone was convinced that what they saw him do in college was something that he will be able to replicate in the NFL.

Despite John Clayton's take that "in-the-box players have a tough time in the NFL"--a comment that means virtually nothing, particularly when applied to LaRon Landry--Landry was a solid early, first-round pick and the Vikings would have done well to select him. Had Washington not taken Landry, the Vikings probably would have taken him over Peterson.

No matter my inclinations towards taking Okoye or Landry, however, I think Peterson, too, is a very good early, first-round selection. I'm just not convinced that the Vikings will make proper use of him. It's hard to mess up a defensive player. It's very easy to take a very gifted offensive player, however, and make him more ordinary. I fear that is what Childress has in mind for Peterson.

The other issue with Peterson is simply a logistical one. If the Vikings truly are three years away from even competing, why invest a high pick in a player with a shelf life of 5-6 years over a player with a shelf life of 12-13 years? The answer, of course, is that the Vikings need someone to put on their media guide in 2007.

If it turns out that Peterson needs a plate inserted to hold his collarbone in place, and that that will cause him to miss significant playing time in 2007, the Peterson selection is mind-boggling to the nth degree. If, however, Peterson starts and stars in 2007, he might provide enough hope for the front office to sell tickets.


Anonymous said...

I like the way this draft is shaking out so far for the Vikes. I've read that Peterson might miss 6 weeks if he needs surgery. I think I can live with that. He has the ability to score anytime he gets the ball. We haven't had anyone like tht since Robert Smith. With a great tandem at running back, it will make our qb's job alot easier whomever that ends up being.