Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


A Browns-Rams trade could leave Vikings with pick of best non-QB

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC Updated: February 16, 2012 - 10:29 AM

If you're a Vikings fan, there was some good and bad in what NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had to say about QB-starved teams that, in his opinion, should definitely trade up to pick Heisman Trophy-winning QB Robert Griffin III.

The bad news is Mayock doesn't think teams will -- or should -- wait to deal with the Vikings at No. 3. He thinks that's a risk that's too risky in a QB-driven league.

Asked if the perpetually QB-starved Browns should move up to the Rams' spot at No. 2 and take RG III, Mayock said:

"If it's me, I'm looking at that real hard. I'm looking to go up to No. 2. If I wait for No. 3, what happens if the Redskins move up to No. 2? You can't take that chance if you're talking about your future at the quarterback position."

Having made their QB investment last year with Christian Ponder, the Vikings aren't a candidate to take a quarterback. Teams that need one would get a better deal by trading with the Vikings than the Rams. However, as Mayock points out, that's a risk because a notoriously aggressive team like Washington, which has the No. 6 pick, could jump ahead.

The Vikings would love to trade down and acquire more picks to fill their many holes. However, if the Rams trade down and another team takes RG III, the good news is the Vikings will have their pick of the best player at all of the positions they're looking to fill. If they want the best receiver (Justin Blackmon), they can take him. If they want the best left tackle (Matt Kalil), they can take him. The best corner? Well, you get the idea.

With the combine being held next week, the RG III hype hasn't even shifted into second gear. Mayock, for one, is sold.

"The more tape I put on him, the more I'm impresed," Mayock said.

Mayock said he's impressed by Griffin's downfield vision, mobility, speed, arm strength and toughness.

"What he has to learn is to anticipate and get the ball out of his hands more quickly," Mayock said. "He doesn't anticipate, which is why he often throws late. That's something a lot of young guys have.

"But the bottom line for me is he's a playmaker. That's what this league is all about. Especially at that postion."

Asked if the Browns' two first-rounders (Nos. 4 and 22) would be enough for the Rams to trade the No. 2 pick, Mayock said, "If I'm the Rams, I'm happy with that." 

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