The Minnesota Vikings haven't been all that active in free agency signings this offseason, opting instead to look to the 2010 NFL Draft to add some depth their roster. Naturally, the organization does a tremendous amount of research on the available talent entering the NFL every year, but each incoming player comes with a fair amount of risk. Here are a few that, while being tempting prospects, might also offer more risk than reward. Buyer beware.
- Tim Tebow, QB, Florida - Tebow has generated more media attention among NFL writers this offseason than—well, Brett Favre. And while I sincerely believe Favre will play in 2010, he obviously isn't the long-term answer for the Vikings. Enter Tim Tebow? One of the most heralded signal callers in the history of college football, T2 has somehow drawn more criticism than he has compliments since graduation—at least as far as his football skills are concerned. But if you're looking at the potential and promise in his game, it's hard not to take a chance on this guy. I mean, who wouldn't want Tim Tebow as the face of their franchise? He's the ultimate, clean-cut, All-American boy. But with those impressive personal accolades comes questions on his throwing motion, accuracy and football smarts. Nevermind his guts and passion for the game—Tebow is nothing more than a project at this point. The Vikings will need to decide if he's worth the time to develop.
- Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State - With Antoine Winfield ailing and aging, Cedric Griffin rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in the NFC Championship game, and Karl Paymah en route to San Francisco via free agency, the Vikings are in the market for a couple cornerbacks. FSU's Patrick Robinson will be a intriguing player to consider. He has a lot of the traits that would make him a successful cornerback in the National Football League—like good size, strength, and athleticism. But his inconsistency is a red flag and he only started 24 of a possible 44 games at FSU, mainly due to injuries. Plus, he was suspended four games for his role in the Florida State academic scandal. Robinson has a lot of upside, but he might be too risky to take in the first round.
- Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland - Campbell was described by a Dallas Cowboys scout as having "the best body of anyone I've ever seen." And an NFL team doctor said Campbell was the "best physical specimen" he had ever witnessed. OK, so at 6'6" and 314 pounds with barely any body fat, Campbell looks the part. Plus his measurables are off the charts. He ran a 4.85/40 time and benched 225 pounds 34 times at the NFL Scouting Combine. Freak. So what's the problem? The Vikings are arguably in the market for a new left tackle to protect Brett Favre's blind side. Bryant McKinnie has more question marks than answers after a less-than-stellar, somehow All-Pro 2009—an honor in which he snubbed by not showing up for Pro Bowl practices until he was booted from the NFC team. It's possible Campbell could fall to the Vikings with the 30th overall pick. And if he did, they would have to consider the negatives under the impressive wrapper. He is surprisingly injury prone. And his lack of experience and consistency could be a problem. Campbell's considered more of a project and he might take more time to develop than the Vikes can afford in order to win right now.
- Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech - By not landing LaDainian Tomlinson in free agency, the Vikings are left with Adrian Peterson and Albert Young as the only two running backs on the roster. I believe Young will be just fine spelling AD. In fact, I think he's going to surprise a lot of people with his production in 2010. Nevertheless, I think the Vikes ought to take a chance on Brian Westbrook if they can get him at a reasonable price. Still, he's damaged goods and unless Ian Johnson suddenly gets promoted from the practice squad, the team is going to need some quality insurance at this position. Georgia Tech's Jonathan "Diesel" Dwyer is a highly rated RB because of his destructive running style and impressive production in college, but I wonder if he'd be any good as a third down back in the NFL? He played in GT's triple option offense and didn't spend much time catching passes or pass blocking. Dwyer had a disappointing Combine but bounced back with a good Pro Day. His stock has supposedly dropped, but he gives the Vikings something consider if he's still available in the second or even third rounds.
- Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama - The Vikings resigned veteran defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy and as long as StarCaps doesn't get Kevin and Pat Williams benched, the team should be OK on the interior of the defensive line. But the "Williams Wall" is getting up there in years (especially Pat), and the thinking might be to jump at the chance to land a promising DT if he's available. The Vikes still have Fred Evans and Letroy Guion to develop, but Alabama's Terrence Cody is undoubtedly of interest. His struggle with weight, however, isn't helping his chances of making money in the NFL. In fact, he's all over the place on Draft boards—from the first to the seventh rounds. Cody has the strength and ability to be a dominant player. He's the immovable object so many teams dream of, occupying two offensive linemen and stuffing the opposing team's running game. But Cody needs to get himself into better shape if he's going to make any impact on a regular basis. If he struggled with his weight in college, my guess is he'll have the same problems at the next level. He was 370 pounds at the Senior Bowl, 354 at the Combine and 348 at his Pro Day. So, he's obviously headed in the right direction with his football career at stake, but can he be counted on to continue this discipline?