Last year, the Minnesota Vikings gifted the New England Patriots a third-round pick for mercurial wide-receiver Randy Moss, a player that the Patriots no longer valued and a player that the Vikings rarely used before cutting him outright. The move was yet another example of the Vikings' front office speaking highly of second-day draft picks and acting conversely--see similar disregard for such picks involving trading up to take Toby Gerhart and trading up to take Tarvaris Jackson, neither of whom was targeted by any other team anywhere near where the Vikings took them.
In the second round of this year's NFL college entry draft, the Patriots added insult to their theft of the Vikings' third-round pick in this year's draft, selecting with that pick University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet. Mallet, arguably the most physically gifted quarterback in this year's draft, was one of the quarterbacks in whom the Vikings had displayed a clear interest. The Vikings backed off of Mallet, however, due in large part, if not exclusively, to Mallet's tendency toward jackassedness. That the Patriots, a team that rarely misses in its evaluation of players, opted to roll the dice on Mallet in the third round not only suggests that Mallet might be redeemable, but also provides the Patriots with yet another high-caliber talent obtained on the cheap.
Thus, while Minnesota pays first-round money to a player that either will sit for one or two years or learn on the job behind what is now a weak offensive line, the Patriots will have a more physically gifted quarterback learning from one of the best quarterbacks and best coaches in the league and will pay him virtually nothing.
If ever there was a metaphor signaling the difference between where the Vikings' and Patriots' organizations currently stand, it is symbolized by the Patriots' selection of Mallet with the Vikings' pick.
Up Next: Vikings solidify offensive line--kind of.