Josh Freeman

Vikings Could Mess This Up For Everyone

March 20, 2012 at 09:32am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

How many days of practice do you need to be better than Trueblood?
Most mock drafts have it as a given that the Bucs will select Morris Claiborne (LSU) with their first pick and then sit back and puff cigars and feel all happy with themselves that they got some good quality at cornerback that won’t punch anyone at the rookie symposium. This is because those mocks have the Vikings taking Matt Kalil (Southern Cal) at #3 and the Browns selecting a handful of magic beans at #4. But according to this article, Vikings GM Rick Spielman is leaning more toward Claiborne than Kalil.

After listening to the Spielman spiel, this much appears certain: If he keeps the third pick and passes on Kalil, Spielman will draft LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne. He raved more about Claiborne than Kalil.

With each passing day, the argument builds that Spielman prefers Claiborne over Kalil. For one thing, the Vikings haven’t pursued a cornerback in free agency. For another, they have expressed interest in offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who is nothing special and missed all of last season after hip surgery. Presumably, he fits the type of lineman Spielman thinks you can win with in the NFL.

Before you start all that Florio bullshit about how you can’t believe anyone at draft time, keep in mind that since the Colts and Redskins already know who they’re picking, the Vikings hold the first negotiable pick in the draft. They have no reason to lie or be coy in any way since no one can jump ahead of them to select the player they truly want. I guess by the same logic they also have no reason to just go and blurt out who they want either, but I don’t see any reason to play spy games here.

If the Vikings hold the pick and select Claiborne, I’m going to go ahead and say the Browns take either Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M), which is ridiculous at this slot, or Trent Richardson (Alabama), a much wiser pick. The Bucs could draft Kalil and put him in at right tackle in place of Jeremy Trueblood, who got flagged for a false start pulling out of his driveway. Assuming Kalil lives up to expectations, that’s a hell of an offensive line.

If they don’t do that, do they select Justin Blackmon (OK State) even though they just signed Vincent Jackson? Probably not. You don’t pick a wide receiver #5 to make him a #2 option, and Jackson isn’t going anywhere for at least a couple years. Ideally, you’d love to have all that talent available to Josh Freeman, but after half a season of someone not getting the ball enough, one of them is going to have a hissy fit at practice or in front of the media or something. That’s just the way most wide receivers are wired and I don’t think Jackson or Blackmon are exceptions.

If the Browns actually do select Richardson and leave Tannehill on the board, the Bucs will be in a good spot to move down a few slots and let one of the remaining teams desperate for a quarterback make an offer. Even moving down to #7 so some team can jump ahead of the Dolphins and select Tannehill, that is a better place to take someone like DT Fletcher Cox (MS State), who in my opinion is the best DT in the draft this year. It would take some real balls to take yet another defensive lineman this high in the draft, but Gerald McCoy and Brian Price haven’t become the dominating force inside that everyone thought they would, mostly because of injuries. And I honestly like Cox better at this point in his career than I did McCoy a couple years ago. Of course it’s too soon to call it quits on McCoy and Price, but you can never have enough good pass rushers, especially in the NFC South. This would be a tough pick for fans to swallow because of all the high picks spent on the defensive line over the past couple years. But pocketing an extra pick — say, a third or fourth-rounder to make up for the lost fourth-rounder they gave up to get Luke Stocker — would make it go down easier for them.

In the end, it makes too much sense for the Vikings to take Kalil. I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen. But here are a few five-team mocks to consider:

1) Luck-RGIII-Kalil-Tannehill: Best possible scenario for Bucs. Claiborne or Richardson.
2) Luck-RGIII-Kalil-Richardson: Claiborne slam dunk.
3) Luck-RGIII-Claiborne-Tannehill: Richardson, Kalil or Blackmon, in that order of possibility.
4) Luck-RGIII-Claiborne-Richardson: Worse possible scenario for Bucs. Kalil, Blackmon or trade down.

Your thoughts in the comments.

8 Comments to “Vikings Could Mess This Up For Everyone”


GeorgeCostanza (March 20, 2012 at 09:47am:

Maybe the Vikes are trying to entice Bucs to swap spots with them? That’s all I can figure.


Ryvers (March 20, 2012 at 10:29am:

Getting a shot at the best player in the draft – Kalil- would be Christmas and Easter wrapped into one. Taking him would solidify LT for 12-15 years, and make Donald Penn expendable in a year or 2 – for either a trade (to the Vikings?) or a move to RT.

There are no bad options where we sit. Kalil, Claiborne or Richardson would all be good picks.


DailyRich (March 20, 2012 at 10:36am:

I think Costanza’s right. The Vikings are trying to make the Bucs nervous and panic them into a bad deal to move up.


jampersands (March 20, 2012 at 01:01pm:

You guys could be right, but I also agree with scott that, barring that sort of baiting, the Vikings have no real reason to disguise their intentions.

I think it’s pretty obvious that most people like Claiborne, Richardson, and then Kalil, in that order.

I also think that taking Kalil at 5 would be fine. However, I think you’d find a number of teams willing to trade up with us to take Kalil, should that situation arise.

In the Luck-RGIII-Claiborne-Richardson (“Worse possible scenario”) I’d like to see us trade the pick to someone around 10th overall with a need at tackle (ie: the Bills) and then draft Luke Kuechly.


Darren47 (March 20, 2012 at 01:30pm:

Uh, I wholeheartedly disagree…The Vikings are in an excellent position where they can tip their hand in an attempt to procure an attractive trade. The Bucs just signed Claiborne’s secondary coach from LSU, so I imagine the Vikings are under the assumption the Bucs probably want to reunite Coach and Corner; if an attractive trade arises, Minnesota makes out nicely, if nothing comes up, they take Kalil and no harm done to them.

Second, with all due respect to jampersands, it’s painfully clear that consensus views Kalil as the best prospect available after Luck and RGIII (a few even think he’s the best player overall). If we don’t trade down, we will get Richardson or Claiborne…Kalil will not, barring freak accidents, be available after the third pick.


jampersands (March 21, 2012 at 12:06am:

To clarify: I didn’t mean that Claiborne was better than Kalil, period. I think that’s debatable, but a pretty useless debate given how different their positions are.

I meant that I think most Bucs fans would prefer that we draft Claiborne over Kalil, simply because our greater need is in the secondary.


RustyRhino (March 21, 2012 at 08:10am:

” got flagged for a false start pulling out of his driveway” wow now that shit is funny!!
Maybe we can get Claiborne or Kalil , I am for trading down if we can. Not real impressed with a 6’7″ under 300 pounds Offensive Tackle@#5 That seams a bit light to me we have a QB who is 6’6″ 240ish and a RT 6’8″ 320 in Trueblood. Maybe I am missing something but Trueblood can not bend low enough to get good pass protection set up being 6’8″ he gets pushed back or blown by. Who’s to say Kalil can’t either, Yeah I know he went to USC blah blah blah. That still don’t help you bend down, unless it is to kiss the USC coaches shoes.

worker b

worker b (March 23, 2012 at 04:15pm:

I’d think the Bucs would take Kalil over anyone, if Kalil’s as good as they say he is. Penn has had a couple good years but he tends to balloon. Having two shutdown tackles on the line would also do wonders for Freeman anyway.

I think there’s a good chance the Browns will take Claiborn, which isn’t one of the scenarios above. He and Joe Haden would be quite a pair.

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