At some point in the last month, nearly every mock "expert" including Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, have predicted the Vikings to draft a defensive end in the first round.
My thinking is, "Why?" In what world would it make sense to draft a defensive end in the first round?
It's true that Ray Edwards is likely on his way out of Minnesota. His play has been great, but is that coming from playing on a defensive line with Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, and Jared Allen?
There's no doubt in my mind that Edwards simply fed off the other three lineman. His play was consistent all season long, but how would he do if he where "the man" on the defensive line? I have a feeling things would end bad real fast.
The Vikings gave Brian Robison a 3-year deal worth over $14 million to stay in Minnesota. Why would the Vikings give a backup starter-money if he were to remain a backup? This doesn't make sense to me. I hope Kiper and McShay know something I don't on the situation, because drafting a defensive end in the first round makes absolutely no sense with so many holes on other parts of the team.
J.J. Watt is the main player that has been linked to the Vikings, but from what I understand, the Vikings didn't even attend his Pro Day! After all, Wisconsin is a long ways away from Minnesota (key sarcasm).
What should the Vikings pick in the first round?
The way I see it, if the Vikings draft a defensive end in the first round, they are giving up on the next three seasons of Vikings football.
Any player that steps in at the left defensive end position will play great. When he has been given the chance, Robison has played very well for the Vikings.
For those that say Robison is too small for the defensive line, open your eyes. The guy is 6'3" and 260 pounds. For a reference, Robert Mathis is only 6'2" and 245 pounds, John Abraham is 6'4" and 265 pounds, Trent Cole is 6'3" and 270 pounds, Dwight Freeney is 6'1" and 270 pounds, and Osi Umenyiora is 6'3" and 260 pounds. Do you get the picture yet? If not, those guys have a combined 387.5 sacks in their careers.
If Robison gets the start, he could perform well enough to keep the Vikings' minds off a first round pick that would probably do no better anyway.
The fact is, the Vikings don't need a defensive end. Despite his recent legal troubles, Everson Griffin is still a very good backup and could push to start next season if he is given the chance.
There are bigger needs than defensive end at this point.
The Vikings clearly need a quarterback and with the way the offensive line has played the last two seasons, the whole line may need to be upgraded.
The Vikings clearly need to say goodbye to center John Sullivan. When Matt Birk left, the offensive line completely fell apart. The center is the captain of the offensive line and frankly, the Vikings need a new one.
It's almost a certainty that the Vikings will not have a chance at Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton in the upcoming draft, but Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, and Colin Kaepernick are likely possibilities.
If the Vikings want Locker, they will have to reach for him in the first round because there's no way he will fall passed both Miami and Seattle in the first round.
I say either draft an offensive lineman or quarterback in the first round. This is still a very good team and with a decent quarterback, they could easily reach the playoffs again.