We’re reached the point of the lead up to the NFL Draft where we have had our fill of every Mock Draft possible, from the hyper-local/local/regional/national/global sports brands. However, when you reach the point where you’re getting the scoop on the Vikings’ next draft move courtesy of sites like American-Footballs.USSR/ФѢЖ, you know that it’s time to start looking at your mocks either a bit less or a bit differently. That brings today’s subject, something that occurred to me as I was preparing for the Super Draft edition of our weekly KDLM Sports radio show on, you guessed it, The Sputnik News Network!
Actually, as you all surmised before fake laughing at my joke, our radio show in on 1340AM and 93.1FM via KDLM radio in Detroit Lakes and Fargo, and today I was joined by UFFda! heavyweights Dustin Baker (our Senior NFL Insider and editor of FranchiseTagged.com) and Senior Writer for purplePTSD.com/VikingsTerritory.com and co-Editor of TheDraftTeam.com Josh Frey.
At one point the three of us agreed that the Vikings should and most likely could end up trading down from the 14th spot in the first round to draft an interior offensive lineman later in the first round while also getting a second-round pick in the process to make up for the one they lost from the Yannick Ngakoue trade last season.
What if, though, the Vikings were faced with the following possible?
We discussed that on the show today, as well, and I basically came to the conclusion that I doubt that Zimmer or Spielman, both of whom are thought to be another missed playoffs away from getting the axe, would use their first round pick on the QB of the future if that future didn’t also involve them.
That means that we should keep an eye on the draft from that perspective during and after the first round pick next weekend as it pertains to players that’ll have an immediate and (on paper) outsized impact vs. longer term projects. Most drafts obviously have a mix of both, but if Zimmer and Spielman really do feel like they’ve got one season left to prove themselves in Minnesota we very well may see them pass up on a player that could be an All-Pro for years to come if they feel that those years don’t include 2021.
That’s where the above referenced Justin Fields/Trey Lance conundrum comes into play. As ALSO said on the radio show today, the Vikings seemingly are never in the right place at the right time when it comes to drafting once in a generation quarterback talent. Because the Vikings have a top 5 regular season record of any NFL Team, and also the sort of luck typically revised for thumbless men at blackjack tables, theVikings haven’t been able to draft and develop a quarterback since….Eh, I guess Culpepper. But he mostly was a product of Randy Moss.
While I’m a fan of Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields would be too big of a pick for any team at 14 to pass up on, especially a team that hasn’t had had a quarterback play full back-to-back seasons since 1978. Kirk Cousins is great, but he is due $45 million dollars next season and Fields (or Lance) could be one of the next super stars in the league). Sure, signing them in the first round of the draft doesn’t help shore up the line (in the first round), but for a team that has really REALLY tried to draft and develop a franchise quarterback for most of it’s Millennial and under fanbases? It may be blasphemous to not even try at 14 with two huge options simply because Zimmer is more worried about self-preservation than the future of the franchise he’s been paid millions to run.
That having been said, I do strongly believe that if the Vikings are able to plaster together some semblance of mediocrity from a pass blocking perspective yet this off-or-pre-season, they could have one of the more dangerous/elite offenses in the NFL. There still will be many veteran O-Lineman cut and/or traded during camp, and the Vikings should be very active in that regard.
That’s something worth looking forward to, but the reality is that we’ll know pretty early on in next Thursday’s Draft where the Vikings are in terms of their Draft philosophy… Or rather, where they are in terms of their confidence in their general manager and head coach beyond 2021 (or, if we’re being honest, where the general manager and head coach feel the team’s confidence is in them).
Now, I’ve been pushing for the Vikings to fix the damn offensive line longer than anymore and so you’d think I’d be happiest if they were to do everything within their power to finally shore up that line. Don’t get me wrong, I would be, but I just have a feeling that Zimmer’s idea of what would help save his job more than anything else would be drafting another first-round cornerback since that has been his answer to nearly every question posed to him since 2014.
Your first draft as a NFL head coach? Where do you want to start?
When someone is bad at playing Hide ‘N go Sneak, where do they Hide?
What is another name for mortician?
Okay, that last one was a stretch.
But, if they aren’t going to do that it wouldn’t be the worst move in the world to bring in Fields, who would give the next coaching regime one of the more exciting passers, pass catchers, core defenders and THEN offensive lines in the NFL. These are the Vikings, though, so I’m sure Zimmer will end up using 14 on a corner, making it to the second-round of the playoffs and the losing spectacularly while also wrangling a ten year extension in the process.