Rand: No sure thing for Vikings in draft

  • Updated: May 1, 2014 - 1:58 AM

Then-coach Leslie Frazier introduced quarterback Christian Ponder as the Vikings’ first-round draft pick on draft day in 2011. The question is, will they be introducing another quarterback when they announce their first pick this year?

Photo: JEFF WHEELER • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com,

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The NFL draft is one week away. In previous years, it would have been over already, sparing us more updated mock drafts. Instead, in a year with big questions facing so many teams at the top of a very scrambled draft board, we’re left going back and forth on this thing … over and over again.

As such, we have constructed the perfect circular argument when it comes to the Vikings’ pick at No. 8, endlessly answering and unanswering the question of whether they should draft a quarterback or find a player at another position, only to arrive right back where we started.

Step 1: The Vikings have many positions of need, up to and including quarterback, linebacker, defensive back and offensive line. So they really can’t go wrong as long as they get good value. It’s just impossible to know for sure who offers the best value without the benefit of hindsight.

Step 2: Still, not all positions are created equal. If quarterback is a position of need (which it is) and there is a chance to get good value with a quarterback (which there very well could be), then the Vikings should draft a quarterback.

Step 3: Ah, but it’s not that easy. Even when you think you’re getting good value with a first-round quarterback — which the Vikings surely thought they were getting in 2011 when they took Christian Ponder No. 12 overall — there are few guarantees. In fact, there are fewer guarantees at that position than perhaps any other. Looking back at that 2011 draft, 11 of the first 12 non-QBs chosen have made at least one Pro Bowl. Three of the four QBs (Ponder, Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert) have not.

Step 4: So the Vikings should draft a position player and get someone closer to a sure thing. Here are the Vikings’ past eight first-round picks who were not quarterbacks: Chad Greenway (2006), Adrian Peterson (2007), Percy Harvin (2009), Matt Kalil (2012), Harrison Smith (2012), Sharrif Floyd (2013), Xavier Rhodes (2103) and Cordarrelle Patterson (2013). Minus Harvin, that’s a big part of the nucleus of the current roster.

Step 5: Whoa, but it’s not that simple. As good as those position players have been, this is still a quarterback league. If you decide to go the safe route and end up passing on someone who proves to be a franchise quarterback, that can be just as damaging as swinging and missing on a failed QB.

Step 6: So the Vikings just need to make sure they get maximum value, weighing the pros and cons of a QB vs. a player at another position. It’s just that being sure of that is impossible.

Step 7: Repeat, wait and hope.

Michael Rand

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