Now that the FA hysteria is largely over, it's time to look at where true team-building happens: the draft. Anyone care to throw some names out there? Here's some of my favorites:
Jamon Meredith, OT/OG, South Carolina. He's widely considered a versatily guy who can step in and contribute immediately (almost a necessity for this team). He's played all over the line, and is very long and athletic. He's also more of a tackle-first hybrid (as opposed to someone like Mack or Unger, who are considered more interior linemen). I don't think he's considered to have franchise-calibur LT potential (which is why you don't see him in the top first round on mocks), but he seems to have very little downside. He had a good combine is considered a late 1st/early 2nd type (FWIW, that stuff always changes). Like a lot of classic Viking offensive linemen, he has a mauling style/mentality, but still possesses rare athletic gifts. It's not uncommon to see him hitting linebackers after finishing the dirty work in the trenches. He also comes out of the defense-intense SEC; I always like offensive standouts who come out of defensive conferences (and vice versa). He has top-notch character and smarts to boot (3.7 GPA). I think he'd be a pretty safe pick, and an instant upgrade at RT.
Nate Davis, QB, Ball State. The Vikings fell in love with Jackson's physical gifts--arm, build--and figured they could make a QB out of him. Nevermind that Jackson had poor accuracy numbers even at Alabama State. I'm not sure if the coach felt he was truly a quarterback guru or if his system was so fool proof it didn't matter who he had in there, but it now, three years later and still going, seems arrogant or stubborn. Davis has all the tools Jackson does and more: he's mobile and uses it well (i.e., moving in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield, and he's an effective runner when he has to), he can make all the throws and loves to go downfield (unlike a lot of college QBs these days), he has good accuracy numbers (also, you can catch his impressive accuracy performance on YouTube, where he nailed almost every target, FWIW), he's started a bunch. Physically, the only things scouts can pick on is he's "only" 6'2", but he's fluid in the pocket and can throw on the move, so I wouldn't be too concerned about it. I'd consider biting in round 2 (not saying I would, depending on how things are shaping out). If he's still around in Round 3 , I definately take him. Eventually this team needs to add a QB with a shot at legit, long-term starting potential. I'm more excited about Davis' potential than Josh Freeman's.
I'm not sure if there's a WR I like where the Vikings are picking early. A lot of people like Harvin, and I do too, but Harvin's a RB/WR hybrid who you need to creatively get into open space. If he were on the Vikings, I'd envision most of his action would be on 3rd and long situations, and his one play would probably be a swing pass out of the backfield (which of course the defense would be expecting). In other words, unless Chilly breaks out a new playbook featuring wildcat formations, lots of motion, and receivers running routes at multiple levels, Harvin might be a better fit in a more dynamic offensive scheme. Outside of that, while they could use an upgrade at the reciever spot, I don't know if there will be great value there. And the receiver spot for Vikings, while by no means a strength, has more depth than, say, the O-line or CB. Barring a slide, I could see them waiting to see if someone like Penn State's Derrick Williams is there in the 3rd. Or even waiting later and grabbing a pure slot-type guy on the second day (I'll throw another Nittany Lion out there: Deon Butler.)
Cornerbacks are difficult to evaluate for lay people like us, I think. Given the Vikings scheme, they don't necessarily need a guy who can run a 4.3 and stay on a receiver's hip all around the field. OTOH, I don't want to see another potential safety on the outside. A guy like Vontae Davis is intriguing and, with Tyrell Johnson also around, the Vikes would boast two of the more impressive, physical specimens in their secondary. OTOH, Davis seems like the type who will never quite reach his potential (although he'll probably be a player, at least). I don't know. There seem to be a lot of shorter CBs in this draft.
What say you all? Who do you like?