Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Safety In Numbers?

With Wednesday's signing of former Indianapolis Colt safety Mike Doss, the Minnesota Vikings have created some speculation that the top player most likely to be available to them when they select at number seven in this year's NFL college entry draft, might no longer be a player in whom they have an interest. That assessment, however, appears ill-founded.

Speaking about his decision to sign with the Vikings, Doss threw out the standard cliches, claiming that he signed with Minnesota because "Minnesota's a great organization," "I really like the direction that Minnesota' headed," and "Minnesota wants to win." Notwithstanding the fact that Doss is moving from a team that won the Super Bowl to a team that failed to make the playoffs, his justifications for signing with Minnesota are somewhat comical.

The real reason Doss signed with Minnesota, and the reason that his signing probably has little bearing on what the Vikings will do in the draft, is that nobody else wanted Doss. Coming off a season in which he lost all but six games to a serious injury, there are legitimate concerns about whether Doss will even be able to play in 2007, let alone whether he will be able to beat out a starter for a starting position.

With Doss' status on the Vikings' roster in 2007 tenuous, and his starting status anything but a certainty, the Vikings will thus enter the draft assuming that Doss is not yet a given. That means that the Vikings probably will remain interested in LaRon Landry, if the LSU safety is still on the board when the Vikings draft.

While Doss' signing probably will not effect the Vikings' draft plans, his signing could be the first indication that at least one of the Vikings' current safeties is inching closer to free agent status by virtue of being released. Though Dwight Smith was often missing in action last season, Darren Sharper too often was at the center of big plays going the wrong direction. With Tank Williams returning from a season lost to injury, Greg Blue already with some playing time already under his belt as Sharper's backup, and new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier promising to use more blitz packages, the writing could be on the wall for Sharper--even if Doss is not able to start in 2007. And if Doss is able to start, that could spell the end for both Sharper and Smith in Vikings' purple.

Doss' signing is a low-risk, high-reward gamble by the Vikings. But given the uncertainty about his recovery from a serious injury, there is little reason to believe that Doss' signing has changed the Vikings' draft-day plans.

Up Next: More Draft Talk. Plus, assessment of talent--bucking the talk?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wondering what you think about the possibility of Asante Samuel possibly coming to Minnesota in a draft day trade?