After reading this article by Vikes Geek regarding the Vikings use (or perhaps mis-use) of their high round draft picks, well, I got to thinking… which is scary.
In the article, Vikes Geek theorizes that the Vikings would have been better off giving up their first and third round picks on Patriots restricted free agent Logan Mankins. His opinion is based off of the simplified view that the Vikings really only got Chris Cook and Toby Gerhart in exchange for their top three picks. Under his plan, they would have landed a Pro Bowl caliber guard in his prime and still had a second round pick to use as they pleased.
I will disagree that all the Vikings got were Gerhart and Cook, as part of the trade with Detroit also resulted in the Vikings moving up far enough in the fourth round to land defensive end Everson Griffen, who was widely regarded as a big steal at that point. Plus, they used the additional seventh rounder on tight end Mickey Shuler.
Furthermore, the money given Mankins would almost undoubtedly far exceed the financial commitment given to our three new rookies combined.
Putting aside the nuances of which trades resulted in what and how financial details would affect our cap space when/if a cap is ever reinstituted; Vikes Geek makes a whole lot of sense.
Here is a combination of restricted free agents that I came up with if we used our first three picks to land proven players entering their prime:
– Left Tackle Jared Gaither, Age 24, First Round Level
– Cornerback Richard Marshall, Age 25, Second Round Level
– Guard Evan Mathis, Age 28, Third Round Level
This would still leave the Vikings with five late round picks to find a running back and reserve special teamers.
I’m not saying I 100% agree with this approach, and time will reveal whether or not the Vikings drafted well, but adding the three guys listed above instead of adding Gerhart and Cook sure would be tempting to a team that was only a coin flip away from the Super Bowl.
What say you all? Do you think this would have been a better approach? Do you have a better combination of restricted free agents? Let me know in the comments section.