FanPost

How important is it to have a GM?

Most would say that Zygi Wilf has been a good owner if not the best owner of the Vikings.

But he is not without some blemishes.

Most importantly was the unfortunate decisions to hire Fran Foley and to give final say on personnel to Childress (if what was reported is true).

Looking back at the 2005 roster and then the first free agency and draft, we can see where some different decisions could have been made and what the resultant roster could look like.

Here was the roster in 2005 ...

Pos -- First String -- Second String -- Third String -- Fourth String -- Fifth String
QB -- Brad Johnson -- Daunte Culpepper -- Shaun Hill -- J.T. O'Sullivan
RB -- Michael Bennett -- Mewelde Moore -- Moe Williams -- Ciatrick Fason -- Adimchinobe Echemandu
TE -- Jim Kleinsasser -- Jermaine Wiggins -- Jeff Dugan -- Richard Owens -- Richard Angulo
WR -- Nate Burleson -- Travis Taylor -- Troy Williamson -- Christopher Jones
WR -- Marcus Robinson -- Koren Robinson -- Keenan Howry   
LT -- Bryant McKinnie           
LG -- Chris Liwienski -- Anthony Herrera   
C -- Melvin Fowler -- Cory Withrow -- * Matt Birk       
RG -- Adam Goldberg -- Toniu Fonoti       
RT -- Mike Rosenthal -- Marcus Johnson       
DE -- Erasmus James -- Lance Johnstone        
DE -- Darrion Scott -- Kenechi Udeze       
DT -- Kevin Williams -- Spencer Johnson        
DT -- Pat Williams -- C.J. Mosley -- Eric Taylor    
LB -- Sam Cowart -- Napoleon Harris   
LB -- E.J. Henderson -- Dontarrious Thomas -- Rod Davis   
LB -- Keith Newman -- Raonall Smith -- Heath Farwell    
DB -- Brian Williams -- Fred Smoot -- Ralph Brown    
DB -- Antoine Winfield -- Ken Irvin -- Dovonte Edwards   
DB -- Corey Chavous -- Willie Offord -- Ukee Dozier    
DB -- Darren Sharper -- Will Hunter -- Laroni Gallishaw   
K -- Paul Edinger           
P -- Chris Kluwe -- Darren Bennett       
LS -- Cullen Loeffler

Here is what happened during free agency

Unrestricted Free Agents: CB Ralph Brown; PK Paul Edinger; QB Shaun Hill; LB Keith Newman; RB Moe Williams; C Cory Withrow.

Exclusive Rights Free Agents: OG Adam Goldberg.

Re-signed: RB Joe Echema (formerly Adimchinobi Echemandu); S Willie Offord; WR Koren Robinson.

Acquired: OG Steve Hutchinson; LB Ben Leber; PK Ryan Longwell; RB Chester Taylor; FB Tony Richardson; QB Mike McMahon; DE DeQuincy Scott; OG Jason Whittle; S Tank Williams; FB Joey Goodspeed

Players Lost: RB Michael Bennett; WR Nate Burleson; S Corey Chavous; LB Sam Cowart; QB Daunte Culpepper; OG Toniu Fonoti; C Melvin Fowler; DE Lance Johnstone; LB Raonall Smith; CB Brian Williams.

I am not going to comment on the free agents lost or signed.

The first draft is where things could have been different.  Here is one sites thoughts about the Vikings needs going into the 2006 draft.

2005 Results: 9-7 (2nd place NFC North)

2005 Season Recap: It was a very tough year for the Vikings considering the sizeable hype that they created in the 2005 offseason. Were expectations too high? Did distractions make it impossible for the Vikings to have a successful season? Was the loss of Daunte Culpepper too much to handle for a team that was now without it's previos stars in Culpepper and Randy Moss?

The answer is probably that it was all of those things. Truthfully the Vikings fought hard down the stretch and looked like more of a team with Brad Johnson at quarterback. They owned their division opponents going 5-1 albeit against fairly weak competition. Finishing above .500 was a small victory, but a fourth quarter collapse and tough loss to the Ravens in the second last week of the season left the Vikings on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

Team Needs:

Linebacker - There are some good players in the Vikings linebacking corps but are they playing that well? Chad Greenway or DeMeco Ryans could be a good fit.

Cornerback - It was a tough season for Fred Smoot and Antoine Winfield when they were expected to shine. They also lost nickel back Brian Williams in free agency (Jax).

Quarterback - When you replace Daunte Culpepper with Brad Johnson, and have Mike McMahon and J.T O'Sullivan in the stable, it would be prudent to see how the top three quarterback situation shakes out. It's not a glaring need but if one of the top three fell that far in the draft, it'd be prudent for the Vikes to look to the future despite the probable lack of impact on 2006.

Running Back - The Vikings have run by committee for a while but they lost Michael Bennett and would love for DeAngelo Williams to still be on the board when they make their first round selection. It might be the best chance for new head coach Brad Childress to add a player that can help right away. Chester Taylor was added so there is no need to reach at the position.

Wide Receiver - Nate Burleson is out, and a very young corps of receivers may see another addition in search of playmakers. Not a top need but should the best player on the Vikings board be a WR at any pick in the first three rounds, they may bite. And with four picks in the first three rounds, it is a possibility.

2006 Draft Picks: 1st Round #17, 2nd Round #16 (48), 2nd Round #19 (51), 3rd Round #19 (83), 3rd Round #31 (95), 4th Round #18 (115), 5th Round #16 (149), 6th Round #16 (185)

I am not sure how the Vikings got pick #95 but they used it and pick #83 to trade back into the 2nd round with Pittsburgh (#64) to choose Tavaris Jackson.


Here is what the Vikings did do ...

1 - Chad Greenway LB
2 - Cedric Griffin  CB
2 - Ryan Cook  OT/OC
2 - Tarvaris Jackson  QB
4 - Ray Edwards   DE
5 - Greg Blue  S


So looking at some rankings prior to the draft you can see that Ryan Cook was listed nowhere near the 2nd round especially as a right tackle.  He was listed as the 3rd best center in the first link below but the Vikings already had Matt Birk who had missed the entire 2005 season with a back injury.  Maybe this was the beginning of the purported animosity between Birk & Childress?  Cook was listed as the 8th best guard in the second link.


http://www.draftcountdown.com/archive/2006/2006-Rankings.php
http://www.footballsfuture.com/2006/prospects/


According to this site Tavaris Jackson was a round 6 or 7 prospect.

http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=55979&draftyear=2006&genpos=QB

Also during this draft the Vikings traded their #115 & #185 to the Eagles for their #127 and Artis Hicks

How could they have done differently in this draft?

1 - Chad Greenway LB
2 - Marcus McNeil OT
2 - Maurice Jones-Drew RB
3 - Jahri Evans G or Max Jean-Gilles
3 - Brandon Marshall WR or Miles Austin WR
4 - Ray Edwards DE
5 - Antonie Bethea S
6 - Cortland Finnegan CB

Now some may think that this is cherry picking in hind sight but looking at the draft rankings prior to 2006 it was clear that Marcus Mcneil was a much better prospect for the right tackle position than Ryan Cook.

http://www.footballsfuture.com/2006/prospects/marcus_mcneill.html

There isn't a better right tackle prospect in this draft. His ability to dominate at the point makes him a perfect fit on the ride side of any line. But, he also has the natural athleticism to play on the left side. If he can stay low off the snap, he has the ability to dominate as a pass blocker as well. With all his natural talent, McNeill has a chance to go very high come draft day. Even with all the tackle talent, McNeill could still land in the Top 20.

Also, the Finnegan and Bethea picks would have been steals according to this site ...

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/TSX/2006_CB
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/TSX/2006_FS

The Jahri Evans pick would have been about right if they were planning on moving him to guard but the Jean-Gilles pick would have been in the right round and considering they had Herrera and Whittle there would not have been a need to acquire Hicks

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/TSX/2006_OT
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/TSX/2006_OG

The Marshall pick would have been a reach but they could have selected Miles Austin which would not have been

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/TSX/2006_WR

I will say that these two picks are definitely hindsight but they could have used a 3rd round pick on Tavaris if he was still there and they still wanted him.

Here is what oneblooger wrote right after the draft which is way smarter (and timelier) than me ...

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/maasx003/Vikings/045074.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now suppose the Vikings did draft better in 2006.  What would 2007 look like?

Here is what they did do ...

1 - Adrian Peterson  RB
2 - Sidney Rice  WR
3 - Marcus McCauley  CB
4 - Brian Robison  DE
5 - Aundrae Allison  WR
6 - Rufus Alexander  LB
7 - Tyler Thigpen  QB
7 - Chandler Williams  WR

Here is what they could have done assuming they finished in the same spot ...

1 - Patrick Willis LB
2 - Sidney Rice WR
3 - Jay Alford DT
4 - Tanard Jackson S
5 - Kevin Boss TE
6 - Jacob Ford DE
7 - Jason Snelling FB
7 - Ahmad Bradshaw RB

Now if you want to assume they would have won at least a couple more games to finish 8 -8 then they would have been picking between 13 and 20.

I will do another draft picking 16

1 - Jon Beason LB
2 - Ryan Kalil C
3 - Jay Alford DT
4 - Tanard Jackson S
5 - Kevin Boss TE
6 - Jacob Ford DE
7 - Jason Snelling FB
7 - Ahmad Bradshaw RB

Then you could look at 2008 and wonder if they did not trade away their picks to get Allen and were to stay where they were at and have had a chance at Joe Flacco.  Suppose they valued getting a QB in the draft more than getting a high priced DE? 

This is what they did in the draft ...


2008 - 2 - Tyrell Johnson  - Arkansas State
2008 - 5 - John Booty  - USC
2008 - 5 - Letroy Guion  - Florida State
2008 - 6 - John Sullivan  - Notre Dame
2008 - 6 - Jaymar Johnson  - Jackson State

Here is what they could have done assuming they finished in the same spot ...

1 - Joe Flacco QB
2 - DeSean Jackson WR
3 - Jermichael Finley TE
3 - Thmaos DeCoud S
4 - Brandon Carr CB
5 - Carl Nicks G
5 - Geno Hayes LB
6 - Pierre Garcon WR
7 - Lionel Dotson DE

I will leave it at that because it gets murky since there would have been no guarantee of where they would finish had they made the alternate moves.  But the players listed are not reaches and would have been taken in the round that many site expected them to.

The main point is that the while there are many who believe that the Vikings have drafted well, I have always contended that they have not.  They did well in the early rounds for the most part but most of us could have made those picks.

The incessant trading away of late round picks is where they really lost out IMO.  They also did not choose the late round picks wisely.  They kind of took too many flyers.  Taking Jason Snelling instead of Chandler Williams would have been a better pick even though they had Tahi on the practice squad.  Nothing wrong with competition.

The 2006 draft set the Vikings back in some ways.  They definitely whiffed on Marcus McNeil.

Imagine McNeil, Evans or Jean-Gilles, Birk (who they should still have if Chilly did not piss him  off), Hutchinson, & McKinnie.

That would be a hell of a line right now.

I am hoping that even with the hiring of Frazier that these guys get some kind of GM even if it is Spielman.

They also need to STOP moving up to draft unnecessary players or players that are not rated to go in that particular round.

I am only using the stinking internet and a site like cbssports.com to check the rankings and see how the Vikings could have drafted much better.

I think that if they did not trade for Allen then they would have had a damn good chance of drafting Flacco.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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