Minnesota Vikings Draft Prospects: The Workout Warrior, the Project and Freak

Rob SirplessContributor IApril 12, 2011

Jake Locker, Washington
Jake Locker, Washington

Out of the many mock drafts pervading the Internet, certain names have been attached to the Vikings more often than others.

While Da’Quan Bowers and Tyron Smith are two of them, we’ll leave them alone for the time being.

Smith is no longer being projected, as he now figures to go in the top 10. Bowers has recently been talked about quite often, so we don’t need to go there again. 

Instead, we will discuss three particular players projected to land in Minnesota at No. 12.

Let’s jump right in! Who reads these intros anyway?

The Workout Warrior-Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal

Jordan shares this distinction with JaMarcus Russle, Darius Heyward-Bey, Vernon Gholston and Trent Williams. Not very reassuring, is it?

Jordan had 17 sacks…over four seasons. In addition, he had one forced fumble and one interception during his career at Cal. I don’t know about you, but this guy appear to be very dominant. He averages about 35 tackles per season, and while he may be solid against the run, he isn’t much of a threat in the pass game.

This guy did dominate at the senior bowl game and could not be blocked.

Let’s use an analogy to dissect that:

LeBron James was beaten by a street baller in a one-on-one game a couple of years ago. However, which one makes millions of dollars, and which one works at McDonalds?

My point here, is this: designed drills against one guy with a quarterback who doesn’t move isn’t exactly professional sport, you only have to focus on one thing. Jordan can dominate when he is told what to do. But so did Gholston…

Final grade, C- Stay away, Vikings.

The Project-Jake Locker, QB, Washington

This is a guy who just won’t stay away. We love him, and then news surfaces about his throwing and he disappears. The next thing we know? He comes back, and we love him again.

There has been plenty of talk comparing him to Steve Young and Brett Favre. However, former NFL head coach Brian Billick—and every woman alive—will tell you that you can’t change a man.

Locker struggles with accuracy, and any team who thinks they can coach him out of that will learn what Billick learned with Kyle Boller in Baltimore—coaching only goes so far.

Of course, Favre and Young got over their problems with time. It will take something clicking in his body and mind to change him—do you take that chance?

There is no question that Locker is tough and that he can carry a team. He is agreeable, a leader of men and strong. Anyone would give his best effort with him leading them. But if he can’t validate that effort through his play, he will eventually lose the team.

This is a make-or-break kind of pick. It really doesn’t matter if it’s in the first round or the second, Frazier will be saddling his career on this young man.

There is, in my humble opinion, no way this guy won’t be good—if he gets the right teammates and system. If Mark Sanchez can have success with the team he has around him and a system that plays to his strengths, then Locker definitely can.

Final grade, B+ Your funeral, Les.

The Freak-Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri

This one is a bit odd to me. Unless the Vikings are changing to a 3-4 defense, Smith wouldn’t fit very well. Unless they intend to make him a defensive end.

To be honest, his two-year stats don’t inspire confidence—just breaking 100 career tackles and one forced fumble to go with an interception.

His 11 sacks in 2009 are impressive, though. His six sacks in 2010 are decent, when you consider he missed three games.

The upside for this guy is his physical ability. The rumors dictate that someone will take a chance on his average coverage skills in order to start him as a rusher. The Vikings could use him on the line, and he could fare quite well there.

At 6'4" and 236 pounds, he is a bit undersized for a lineman. Of course, plenty of guys have had NFL success while being “undersized.”

All in all, this guy makes the least amount of sense to me, considering the Vikings play a Tampa Two defense with four linemen. Smith would have to learn a new position, and there is no certainty in that.

Final grade, D+. All or nothing.

As you can see, there are little signs about each player to help us determine if he is all hype or the real deal. If the prediction is founded, or just someone throwing a name at you.

The most mysterious and unpredictable one is definitely Locker. No one will question that a good Locker would make the team a contender, but a bad Locker is bye-bye to Frazier.

Jordan is the most likely bust—he reminds me of Derrick Harvey.

Lastly, Smith is just a talented freak who doesn’t seem to fit in—unless Frazier feels he can play every down with his hand on the ground.

What do you think? These three are the likely suspects to the “experts.” If the team was only allowed to choose from one of them, who would you be cheering for?