Just a few days ago, Commissioner Rodger Goodell introduced the first of five new Vikings that were acquired via the 2009 NFL Draft. The name that came out of his mouth prompted a huge shock by plenty of people. Chris Berman, an NFL analyst for ESPN, seemed shocked. Plenty of knowledgeable Vikings fans also thought this was an interesting pick to say the least, even all three of the writers for Viking Vigil initially thought the Vikings had just picked the wrong guy, but maybe they knew exactly what they were doing.
As it turns out, the guy almost everyone wanted, Offensive Tackle Michael Oher, was picked with the very next pick. Baltimore even traded up to get him, however, the Vikings were able to land a more than capable tackle with their next pick with Phil “The Load” Loadholt, who measures an astonishing 6’8”, and at least 330 pounds! The guy would be a dominant power forward in the NBA even.
With Loadholt joining the Vikings, the first pick, Percy Harvin no longer seemed so outrageous, in fact it seemed kind of great to me. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has repeatedly called Percy Harvin, “the most explosive player in this year’s draft”, and he is not the only one either.
Percy is no doubt rich in talent and ability, but the reason he fell to pick 22, was the fact that he had just tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine, when he knew he was going to be tested. Harvin has also been deemed, ‘tough to coach’ and there have been reports that Florida is ‘glad he [Harvin] is done’ with his stay at Florida, although they also said he was a very talented player. With all these negatives, Percy Harvin may just be the biggest boom, or bust in the 2009 NFL Draft. The possibility of having Harvin and Peterson on the same field is incredible. It is almost like having AD, and a slightly less powerful version of AD in the slot.
To say the least, the Vikings have taken a look at improving an average offense. Harvin can do it all, he figures to be an explosive special teams man, he could force Childress to implement the wildcat with his skills at running back, and he is great in the open field. If Harvin pans out, and if he can get rid of his off the field issues, the Vikings will have gotten a very big steal. Harvin could even contribute to many fantasy football teams this year as a rookie. But what happens if Harvin does get in trouble?
Brad made a good call by bringing in Jared Allen last year, even though he had some issues, and he once again took the risk this year by drafting Harvin. Harvin could very well turn into one of the league’s biggest threats, but he could go down a bad path, and end up off this team in only a few years. Would it really be that bad if it was the later though? Of course it would make the Vikings fans angry, and it would probably guarantee that the Vikings would not pick a wide receiver in round one for a long time, but it would not kill us.
With the team Minnesota has on the field this year, they are very likely to contend for the playoffs, especially since the team will likely play better with another year of chemistry between last year’s free agent and draft pickups, and the 2007 team. Jackson also looked pretty good last year prior to the game against Philly, as he won his first ever NFC player of the week honors for his outstanding effort against Arizona in week 15. If Harvin were a bust, he would likely hurt our record this year, or at least not contribute, and maybe be out of Minnesota within a few years. I think that would not be horrible though.
This year’s draft was one of the very few drafts in recent years that the Vikings really did not need to desperately fill any holes. Some people would say the right tackle was a huge need, but it really was not that bad. The thing I hated about Cook the most was his addiction to penalties. Peterson still got some good runs behind the right side, and if Cook was terrible, Artis Hicks is a pretty solid backup on the verge of starting anyway. Plus, the Vikings got Phil Loadholt in round two, so the position was definitely addressed anyway.
Since we had no glaring needs, there was a little room for Childress to take a risk on someone who could put this team atop the NFC, and that is exactly what he did. I am not the biggest fan of Childress and his seemingly frequent ‘play it safe’ attitude, and I was a little frustrated with this pick initially, but I applaud the man for going out and shocking Viking nation by grabbing a questionable, yet super talented guy with our first round pick. In the worst case scenario Harvin is out of here by the end of this year, but losing Harvin would definitely not sink the ship. Rice is a good player when healthy, and Bobby Wade is consistently getting open, and we made the playoffs last year without Loadholt or Rice, and an injured EJ Henderson.
The bottom line is the Vikings are a solid team without Harvin, but they put themselves into a great position to possibly get to the Superbowl with a Harvin that kicks his bad habits.
There is no question Harvin would have been gone in round two, as three receivers were already taken in the next fifteen picks, and the Jets said that they were trying to trade back into round one to get Harvin as well. The best receiver left when the Vikings got back on the clock was Derrick Williams, and he only went four picks before the Vikings third round pick. Therefore, I think with the way the draft played out at right tackle, and wide receiver, I think Brad Childress made the perfect pick by taking a risky Harvin in round one.
I applaud Childress, especially with all the questions surrounding his job if the Vikings don’t play so good this year, he went on a limb and maybe even put his job in the hands of Percy Harvin.
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