Part 1: If I Were the Vikings' Rick Spielman (One Month Prior to the Draft)

Michael VichaelContributor IMarch 25, 2010

Rick Spielman does not officially hold the General Manager title for the Minnesota Vikings franchise.  But as the VP of Player Personnel, Spielman runs the draft, making final calls on draft day according to ESPN's Kevin Seifert.

Many of us fans would love to be Rick right now!

Count me in as a firm believer in the general philosophy of taking the BPA (Best Player Available).  But my interpretation goes a little deeper and perhaps is a little more practical.

I believe the more accurate concept is that of BPANA, Best Player Available in a Need Area.  And "need area" includes not just current needs, but looking a little down the road as well.

In that light, the team's areas of greatest need are:

Center/Guard —John Sullivan did a decent first year job, for a former sixth rounder.  Anthony Herrera similarly exceeded expectations considering no team saw fit to spend even a seventh rounder on him when he came out.  But the team is in dire need of at least one upgrade here.
Too often were QB Brett Favre and RB "All Day" Peterson up close and personal with defenders shooting the strong side A and B gaps.  And in '09 we finally saw that future HOFer Steve Hutchinson does NOT have a big "S" on his chest...he's mortal and gets dinged up like everyone else.
Hutch will be 33 this season and Herrera 30.  I'd like to see Herrera pick up the ball again and experiment with snapping like he did a couple of training camps ago.
If he can compete with Sully for playing time at center, that would give the team more options to upgrade the interior line.
In addition, Herrera has more junk in his junk than Sully, something that would come in handy when manning up against the likes of Ryan Pickett (340 lbs), BJ Raji (337), Grady Jackson (345), and Sammie Lee Hill (329).  That's just in the division!

Defensive Back —Both CBs are coming off major injuries, Antoine Winfield will also be 33 this year, and both starting safeties had some terrible moments in '09.

Benny Sapp, Asher Allen, and Jarmarca Sanford are good role players, but unproven as long-term starters.  In addition, all three backups might be more effective against the run than the pass, especially in the red zone where Sanford is the tallest of the trio at 5-10.

The team has invested heavily at DB the past three years (three hefty contracts to Madieu Williams and both corners, plus a second rounder and two third rounders including Marcus McCauley who was cut last year).  Yet the team gave up 52 plays of 20+ yards last year, eighth worst in the NFL.

Allen and Sanford have certainly given us some reasons to hope.  But crossing one's fingers won't win games or cut down on the big plays.

Running Back —Chester Taylor got a contract that Bears ownership and fans probably won't appreciate in a year or two, or earlier if he gets dinged up.  But his departure marks the end of the most productive one-two punch backfield in franchise history.

AD needs a strong stablemate to replace CT, who could catch the ball well and was knowledgeable in picking up the blitz.

Quality youth is also needed at QB, DL, and OLB.  Tarvaris Jackson is simply not as good as his stats coming off the bench indicate and has not earned being anointed as Farve's successor yet, the front four and Jimmy Kennedy are creeping up in age and wear-and-tear, and Ben Leber is in a contract year (besides being the fifth highest paid Vike).

See who I'd pick here:



The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.