The Free Press, Mankato, MN


May 8, 2014

Don't expect 1st-round quarterback for Vikings

NFL Draft Day is here. Draftnicks can gather their charts, scouting reports, mock draft printouts and sit back to see how things unfold.

The Minnesota Vikings, as most of us who don’t bleed purple know, are a mediocre to bad football team right now. That makes things a little easier on draft day because they have needs in a lot of areas.

Last week, partner-in-crime Chad Courrier indicated the Minnesota franchise’s strategy should be to take the best defensive player available with the No. 8 pick. Early this week, cohort Shane Frederick suggested the best way to go was to draft a franchise quarterback essentially because that’s what it takes to be a serious Super Bowl contender.

While Shane makes an excellent point, I’m more inclined to side with Chad. Getting a marquee QB would be great, but which one, if any, is an elite quarterback. Each of the Big Three — Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortels and Teddy Bridgewater — has flaws and their NFL success is far from guaranteed.

If there were an Andrew Luck available when Minnesota picks tonight, it would be foolish not to pull the trigger. But there are no Andrew Lucks in this draft.

It should also be remembered that general manager Rick Spielman is running the show. Spielman is the one who reached on Christian Ponder in the 2011 draft and, up to this point at least, got scorched by it.

Though he says otherrwise, he may be reluctant to take the same path.

If you add that new coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive-minded guy, it makes sense to assume the Vikings’ first pick will be a defensive player.

The question is, which defensive player? Let’s begin by saying that if Kahlil Mack, the defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, is somehow available at No. 8, he’s the guy.

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