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Vikings’ Bad Season A Blessing In Disguise?

With our beloved Minnesota Vikings team sitting at 2-8, and absolutely no hope at a playoff spot, it would seem there is very little reason for optimism. The 2009 Vikings team is a thing in the past, and we are clearly in the re-building process. It may be a rough road to travel these next few years.

But just hear me out here.

I think this season, and even last season, are blessings in disguise. Each team hits slumps like this, it happens around the league each year. We have just been fortunate enough not to have witnessed this with our own team in a while. The million dollar question is, how can a struggling team like us turn things around in the near future and become a contender again? The answer is no secret; The NFL Draft and free agency. It may seem obvious, but it is the truth. Just ask the Detroit Lions.

The Lions historically haven’t been a franchise that wins a lot of games, or even makes the playoffs (aside from the Barry Sanders era and way back before you and I were probably born), but just look at the team they are turning into. All of a sudden, the Lions are looking like a legitimate playoff contender. It was a long process, but they have scored on free agent aquisitions like Nate Burleson, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Chris Houston, and even a couple of their linebackers. But more importantly, they’ve had success through high draft picks in recent years, as this list below will show you:

2007: WR Calvin Johnson (2nd pick overall)
2009: QB Matthew Stafford (1st pick overall)
2009: TE Brandon Pettigrew (20th pick overall)
2009: FS Louis Delmas (33rd pick overall)
2010: DT Ndamukong Suh (2nd pick overall)
2010: RB Jahvid Best (30th pick overall)
2011: DT Nick Fairley (13 pick overall)

Notice a pattern? Most of these successful picks were high draft picks, and over time, it helped them build the team they are today. This is by no means the first time this sort of thing has happened, and it won’t be the last time. I think the Vikings have a great shot to take advantage of the situation they are in and score big in this year’s draft. We have already drafted our QB of the future in Christian Ponder, and yes, he has made some mistakes, but every rookie quarterback is going to make mistakes. He has also shown a lot of promise with his athletisism, his playmaking ability with both his arm and his feet, and his fight-to-the-finish attitude we have seen from him since he took over for Donovan McNabb. We need weapons to surround him, and better protection from the offensive line, and this draft is a great place to look for that talent.

In all likelyhood, the Vikings will end up with a top 5-10 pick. In this year’s draft, that is the perfect place to grab either an OL or WR, which is our two biggest areas of need on offense. USC OL Matt Kahlil and Stanford OL Johnathan Martin are both projected to be top 10 picks, and Wide Receivers such as Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Notre Dame’s Malcom Floyd, and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery are also projected to go in the first round. There is WR value in the 2nd-3rd rounds as well, especially in Iowa WR Marvin McNutt. We all know our secondary is in need of desperate help, so maybe even taking Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

This year’s free agent market is impressive as well, especially for Wide receivers. Some of the top guys like Vincent Jackson and Stevie Johnson may be of interest to the Vikings.

I know I have been rambling, but hey, I’m a blogger. All I’m trying to say is we are in a very good position when the offseason rolls around, even though it seems like right now there may be no hope. I’m a big draft guy as well, and I’m very excited for the 2012 NFL draft, especially when we’re almost certain to have a top 10 pick. Hey, do you really think we would have been in any position to draft Adrian Peterson in 2007 if our record in 2006 hadn’t been 6-10? Like I said; Blessing in disguise.


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20 Responses to “Vikings’ Bad Season A Blessing In Disguise?”

  1. Kathy says:

    Speaking of wide receives, sounds like DeSean Jackson of the Eagles may be available, too!

  2. Kathy says:

    BTW — High draft pick? Can anyone say/remember Troy Williamson or how about the Underwood guy? We’ve had some pretty spectatular failures in the past! But hope springs etermal in this Vikings’ fan!

    Speaking of the Lions, don’t forget the Packers’ success with draft picks. Don’t they have like the highest number of players who’ve never played for another team? And are about the youngest team in the league as well? As much as I hate to admit it, they’ve done things the harder, slower way but, oh my, have they been effective. Remember that the Vikings had their opportunity to draft both Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings! Oh, what might have been! 🙂

  3. Adam says:

    Good article, branden. It’d be nice if we could get some solid contributors out of this coming Draft. It looks like Ponder and Rudolph might be guys we look back on and say “solid picks” down the road.

  4. Skol12 says:

    I agree, I said before the season that we were rebuilding. Assuming we finish 3-13 and Indy 1-15 leaving us picking second. I can’t picture any scenario where Andrew Luck doesn’t go first so that leaves us picking Matt Kalil. I like Kalil, and I see him having a Jake Long like career, very good, but not quite Joe Thomas.

    With LT taken care of our needs are still 1. OL 2. DB 3. WR 4. TE (assuming Shank leaves) 5. Mike LB. Wisconsin has a great OL that will be attacked in the second, if we could grab one of them, move Charlie Johnson to RG, that would leave us Kalil, Hutch, Sullivan (Konz?), Johnson, Loadholt. That would be a decent OL.

    There are a LOT of day 2 WR’s leaving us multiple options in round 3. Juron Criner, Marvin McNutt, or Nick Toon could easily fall to us in round 3 which would be a dream come true. Toon, Jenkens, Harvin in the slot would be an average WR corps which is a LOT more than we could say this year(get a star in 2013 and were golden).

    DB is another huge need, which we will likely ignore the first few rounds this year. Leonard Johnson should be there when we pick in the 4th, giving us a replacement for Asher Allen(Thank god). Tyrell Johnson has to go as well, Grab Blake Gideon in the 5th to be a Safety, I would begin to respect our DB’s.

    TE and LB with our last picks would be smart, Grab Rhett Ellison or Kyle Efaw to replace TE and backup Rudolph. Chris Galippo coming out of USC is one of my favorite late round picks, and he could be a solid Mike LB and take over for EJ in a year or 2.

    I just think the Vikings need to look at their needs more than BPA like they have in the past, Last year I liked except Ponder(too early, and could have waited until this year for a better QB), Burton who hasn’t shown much this year, and not picking Herzlich(Idiot Frazier)!

  5. Gary says:

    Yes it is a blessing, I have more time now to perfect my swing. 10 over par sunday is nothing to brag about but not bad. I now have the time!

  6. Gary says:

    LOL….FOUR!…….Hows that snow shoveling going up there?

  7. Brendan says:

    Justin Blackmon would be a blessing in disguise.

    • Skol12 says:

      You think a wr is more important than a LT? Would he help us more than Matt Kalil? I don’t see him on the elite level, hes a step below the elite level(see Sidney Rice, Jermey Maclin, Jordy Nelson, Dwayne Bowe…). If you think he is up there, let me know why, I just don’t see him having the size to dominate or speed to burn NFL DB’s(except maybe ours).

      If we pick in the 5-9 range I would like Blackmon or Clayborne, but if we have a shot at Matt Kalil we take it, if we are 10+ I say get Reiff.

      • Brendan says:

        I personally do think he will be elite. He has great body control and the ability to go up and get the ball like few others. He also knows how to find the endzone.. In the past 2 season, he’s been held out of the endzone during a ONE game (in a warmup game against a division II team) and has 35 TDs over that span. He may not have the measurables of an elite WR, but if you don’t think he can beat NFL CBs, watch him dominate Dre Kirkpatrick or Prince Amukamara.

        That being said, I think Matt Kalil would be a great pick, I just don’t see us picking above the Rams (who guaranteed will not pass him up).

  8. Damian Byers says:

    Right on! Ponder was my first pick from last years QB class, and with a promising T class in this years draft, I hope they choose to shore up the OL early in round one. After that I’d like to see the secondary and WR position addressed. We could also use some more speed and depth at the LB position. I believe we are one draft and free agency round away from being back in contention, and another after that to place us back on top.

  9. Lost Viking says:

    Collapse for Kalil Contest: Week 12

    RAM: Odds 5 to 1

    This weekend’s Card game may be last before Ram fold up tent for another season. OTs Saffold & Jason Smith out indefinitely. Third most QB pressures in 2011.

    VIKING: Odds 5 to 1

    Vike showing creativity in losses to beatable competition. Three remaining home games look tougher for this team. Ponder needs more time to find secondary receivers.

    PANTHER: Odds 6 to 1

    Inconsistent D just gives losing feel to this team. Panther upcoming game against Colt before home -and-away series against Buc. Favorite at Indy this weekend.

    REDSKIN: Odds 10 to 1

    Redskin six straight losses have put team near top of this contest. Home game against Viking Xmas eve could decide it.

    CARDINAL: Odds 12 to 1

    Back-to-back wins thanks to Patrick Peterson and John Skelton. One weird weekend away from becoming odds on favorite. Cleveland this weekend and you know what’s usually found around a ‘dawg pound.

    JAGUAR: Odds 15 to 1

    Jag offense needs playmakers. Gabbert can’t hit open receivers. Will last home game against Colt could be nailbiter – or final nail?

    COLT: Odds 30 to 1

    Running away in ‘Suck for Luck’ derby. Chance to stop Newton and Panther at home this weekend.

    DOLPHIN: Odds 30 to 1

    After starting 0 and 7 Dolphin are talking about running the table. A playoff contender at 9 and 7. Was that you laughing? Defense has come back to life. Completely out of Suck for Luck but the way Matt Moore is playing do they care?

    TAMPA BAY: Odds 35 to 1

    Would have to lose both ends of home and home series against Panther. Is that even possible?

    BROWN: Odds 35 to 1

    Rough schedule ahead. Another also ran with solid O-line featuring All-Pro Joe Thomas

    CHIEF: Odds 35 to 1

    Team loaded with talent and going nowhere

    CHARGER: Odds 40 to 1

    Losing five straight set this slow starter up for an awful finish.

    SEATTLE: Odds 60 to 1

    Most sacks given up this year. But hot QB has taken them out of this competition

  10. Anonymous says:

    The fatal flaw is that the Vikings lack cap space and scouting/personnel intelligence.

  11. Gary says:

    Jared Allen stated the other day, “Another Wasted Season, I want to win a SuperBowl”…With that being said, Vikings better do something real fast and smart if we want to see #69 on the field in Minnesota ever again in a couple years…..

  12. Rory says:

    Kalil is a must pick if he’s still there. In the 2nd round I would take a CB like Xavier Rhodes or Stephon Gilmore. For the other rounds we could do with a LB and a RB to back up AD (Vontaze Burfict, LaMichael James maybe). In free agency we should go for Dwayne Bowe or Vincent Jackson to be our No 1. receiver and get some safety help which is a must.

    • Skol12 says:

      Don’t forget another OLman, need to shore that up quick, a LT is a must, a C/RG/RT would be a necessity as well(move Charlie Johnson to RG, replace loadholt or sullivan maybe?)

      • Lost Viking says:

        Panther may be desperate to team Matt with Ryan Kalil. Would Viking or Ram trade out of 2nd pick to Panther in xchange for a 2nd or 3rd round pick?

  13. Hi Branden,
    I like your optimistic view about Vikings’ future. They are in some serious trouble now but hey, every failure has a seed of success in it. Christian Ponder sounds like a good promise. But, a single guy won’t do all the job…some reinforcements are a must.

    Thanks!

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