The Vikings will not have to take a signal caller with their first-round pick in order to come away with their quarterback of the future, writes Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Tomasson hopes to remind the hometown team that Drew Brees (second round), Russell Wilson (third round), and Tom Brady (sixth round) all achieved their Super Bowl rings and elite status without being drafted in the first round.
That could be a comforting feeling, considering the ghost of Christian Ponder still haunts the Minnesota football fans, writes Tomasson in a separate piece. It may not be Ponder’s ghost so much as his physical presence on the roster that would make fans and front office executives nervous. Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Ponder came off the board during a run of quarterbacks in the 2011 draft, and all three players look to have been bad picks.
All three of those franchise are picking in the top eleven picks only three drafts later. Because of this, the Vikings could be smart to wait until the second round or later if they are not perfectly certain with the eighth overall pick.
The Vikings’ second-round pick will come at 40th overall. They also have two third-round picks, in addition to a selection in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.
“Among those who could be available to the Vikings between the second and fourth rounds are Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and San Jose State’s David Fales,” writes Tomasson.
The team did sign Matt Cassel to the largest contract of any free agent quarterback this offseason, so the urgency to take a player at the position is not at an dangerous level, although the team is expected to bring a quarterback in somewhere in the draft. Tomasson writes that even if they wanted to wait until very late, viable options will still be available, including Wyoming’s Brett Smith, Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, Miami’s Stephen Morris, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Cornell’s Jeff Mathews, Ball State’s Keith Wenning and North Carolina’s Bryn Renner.
In the meantime, the Vikings could use their higher draft picks to strengthen other areas of the roster. While Ponder and Cassel will not provide any quick fixes, competency and consistency will be a huge improvement. With a strong running game in place, and usable pieces at receiver and on defense, a focus on trying to improve the roster across the board and good efforts from players already on the team such as Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, and Harrison Smith could bring about another playoff run like the one the team experienced in 2012.