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Tuesday (The Vikings and Cam Newton) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional football, Vikings Updated: January 11, 2011 - 10:08 AM

After helping Auburn to a wacky BCS championship last night, Cam Newton declared himself to be "God's instrument." Gene Chizik also made plenty of references to the almighty, making it CLEAR that the offense and coaching staff were helped by a higher power. Defense and special teams could not be reached for comment.

HOWEVER:

We are not here to dissect post-game interviews or awkward trophy smooches. Instead, we want to break down a couple of aspects of Newton as they relate to his pro potential -- which certainly could include the QB-hungry Vikings with the No. 12 overall pick.

Cam Newton's pluses

*The guy is huge. In the NFL, being able to convert on third down is one of the most important things a team can do. With Cam Newton behind center and Adrian Peterson in the backfield, third and short would become VERY comfortable.

*He is also a pretty accurate passer. Yeah, he missed a deep ball and had terrible touch on what should have been a TD on 4th-and-goal. Overall, though, he looks like he can fit the ball in where it needs to go. In terms of size, accuracy and running ability, he actually reminds us a lot of a QB who had some pretty nice years in Minnesota in the early-to-mid-2000s and who represented the last bona fide plan the Vikings had at QB. And before you say that we're only comparing Newton to Daunte Culpepper because they share the same skin color, think about it. They really do have some similarities.

*He looks and acts like a leader. This is more of a body language read than anything, but we liked what we saw from Newton even when he made mistakes last night.

Cam Newton's minuses

*A cloud of suspicion will follow him into the NFL. While it won't make a bit of difference in terms of his skills, and we don't really see it as a major character issue, he does bring a circus-like element with him wherever he goes. After 2010, a little quiet might be a better fit for the Vikings.

*Can he adjust to the speed of the NFL? Some of his reads looked ponderous last night, whether they were runs or passes. The vast majority of rookie QBs struggle with that uptick in pace; will Newton struggle more than most?

Newton is the Tim Tebow if this year's draft. He could be available when the Vikings pick. He could be long gone. He could be a reach. He could be a steal. But if he is there at No. 12, after watching him on the biggest stage last night, do you want Cam Newton in purple?

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