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After A First Day Absence, Vikes Disappoint Fans On Day Two

Prior to this draft I know I was laughed at for thinking Jimmy Clausen would go first overall.

If I had told you all that the Vikings would use their first three picks to obtain two players, Chris Cook and Toby Gerhart, I know I would have been laughed at even more.  When the latter scenario became a reality, Vikings fans were instantly feeling disappointed it seems.

The feeling is understandable.  However, it doesn’t really seem to be a reflection on the players themselves but rather the moves the Vikings made and the timing in which they selected them.

On the first day of the draft, the Vikings opted to trade with division rivals the Detroit Lions to obtain the second pick of the second round (in addition to moving up 28 spots in the fourth round and a seventh round pick).  The Lions drafted running back Jahvid Best.

That left the Vikings fan base in anticipation for what day two would ring, especially considering Notre Dame quarterback was still on the board.

The Vikings did not select Clausen, but instead opted to pick the big cornerback Chris Cook.

Cook is 6’ 2” and 210 pounds and immediately adds size to the secondary.  Cook was the ran the second fastest forty yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine (4.46) among cornerbacks and had the top broad jump (11’ 0”).

Cook had a troubled college career.  He missed a good chunk of his freshman season after breaking his leg, in 2007 he missed some time with a knee injury, and in 2008 he was suspended for the entire season for academic reasons.

In 2009, Cook came back in a big way and his ability to play safety, despite having great cornerback speed, gives him valuable versatility at the NFL level.  While he won’t be able to “play on an island” he fits the cover-2 pretty well because of his solid ability to jam receivers and support the run.  Muck like Cedric Griffin, we probably will not want to see him lined up against the NFL’s elite wide outs, but he should grow into a solid player under Leslie Frazier’s guidance.

It is obvious that the addition of Cook (and Lito Sheppard) makes the Vikings loss of Cedric Griffin (to ACL injury) and Karl Paymah (because they didn’t want him) much easier to swallow.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Vikings take a safety tomorrow, but otherwise the secondary appears set.

So, at that point, the Vikings had their original second and third picks remaining for an exciting remainder of day two.  The excitement was short lived.

When pick #52 rolled around and the Houston Texans were on the clock, the Vikings were worried that they would take a guy that they apparently valued greatly.  The Vikings swung a hefty trade to move to #52 by giving the Texans their second rounder (#62) and third rounder (#93).  They promptly selected Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.

Gerhart has been somewhat of a controversial prospect because of his skin color.  He is white, and white running backs are stereotypically not thought of as prototypical NFL running backs.

Gerhart is thought to be a rare exception, however, and that opinion has been highly publicized and much discussed in the months leading up to the draft.  Gerhart once went on record as saying he was tired of being compared to Mike Alstott because he believes that assessment is based off of skin color, not football attributes.

Gerhart impressed at the NFL Combine by posting stellar numbers in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and the 20 yard shuffle.  He even shocked people by running a 4.53 forty yard dash.

Gerhart is a mean, nasty, tackle breaking runner with decent blocking a pass catching abilities.  The Vikings now possess two of the most physical running backs in the game with Gerhart and superstar Adrian Peterson.

I have no doubt that Gerhart will be a more than adequate backup to Peterson, but the big question is if he can carry the full time load should Peterson go down with an injury.  Considering that Gerhart ran for 1,871 yards (5.5 average) and 28 touchdowns, I think I know what that answer is.

The only question here is if Darius Reynaud will get his old number back or not.

I was surprised that the Vikings did not appear to take the “Best Player Available” approach to this draft, but they did make two picks that went a long ways towards filling two needs.

The Vikings lost Chester Taylor in free agency and have now replaced him with Gerhart.  The Viking let Karl Paymah leave in free agency and Cedric Griffin suffered an ACL injury in the final kickoff of the NFC Championship, so the additions of Cook and Lito Sheppard effectively fill that gap.

The only other apparent “pressing need” is to replace Artis Hicks who left in free agency for the Redskins.  Hicks was the primary backup to four positions along the offensive line, and many doubt whether Ryan Cook can do the job as well as Hicks did.

So, at the end of the day, if I had to grade the Vikings first two days of the draft I would give it a “C.”  They have two players that will be very fun to watch and cheer for, but they seemed to reach a bit and pay a heavy price to get these guys.  They also failed to draft a potential quarterback of the future in Jimmy Clausen.

I’m excited about these two players, but am disappointed in how the front office went about getting them.

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2 Responses to “After A First Day Absence, Vikes Disappoint Fans On Day Two”

  1. G.P. says:

    Not to knock the Cookie but I just don’t think he is a ready made monster. Point one Asher played on an island for much of his freshman and sophomore campaign at Georgia which is an SEC school and some would say the toughest conference. Point two I’ve watched quite a bit of Chris Cook footage and I think he lacks the eat or be eaten mentality every good corner back should have. He doesn’t seem to attack the ball or pace people out. He also seems a bit stiff like he’s uncertain what to do with his body. As the saying goes size isn’t everything especially if you don’t know what to do with it. Point Three he really does seem to lack the ability to play good zone coverage and read the field. Point four Luckily all this can be improved upon and we have the staff and the team to teach him. Point five we also have other DB’s that can handle the job thank goodness for variety.

  2. […] Gab sums up the understandable disappointment at this, but I’d like to add my two cents to it because I’m of the opinion that we […]

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