The 2006 and 2007 Draft Review. Also Known As 'Why The Vikings Are Where They Are'

Before I get to my story, I just want to say that my football life in 2012 has started off SO much better than 2011. This time last year, Ohio State was getting ready to drive off a cliff, but we didn't know it yet. The Vikings just went 6-10, and deep down we knew we had broken through the guardrail, we just didn't want to admit it.

Fast forward to Sunday: Ohio State now has Urban Meyer, a great recruiting class, and well, we all know what happened to the Packers. For those of you that missed the game thread, let me relay the absolute joy my Dad and I shared with about 3 or 4 minutes left in the Giants-Packers game:

Phone rings:

Me: Hello?

Dad: CRRRRYYYY BABY RODGERS CRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYY!!!! AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

...dial tone.

Me: Hysterical laughter for about 10 minutes. My dad just went all 24 years old on me.

He didn't even bother to say hello or goodbye. Folks, if I can carry that kind of sports hate into my 80's, I will have lived a complete sports life, as long as the Vikings win a Super Bowl.

Are the Vikings still a dumpster fire? Yeah, probably. But just for a day, football life is good. Mike Tice has more playoff wins at Lambeau than Mike McCarthy, Daunte Culpepper has more playoff wins at Lambeau than Aaron Rodgers, ALL my Packer friends here look like somebody kicked their puppy, and the Vikings problems don't seem as bad as they did on Saturday.

Ah, schadenfreude. How I love it so.

Okay, let's get back to reality. With Rick Spielman the old/new GM, DC Purple did one hell of a missive on the Vikings draft history with Spielman in the mix, but I think we need to go back one more year, to 2006, and marry it to 2007, to see why the Vikings are currently in the spot they are.

Let's do this, after the jump.

There's a saying in the NFL that goes something along the lines of 'Green Bay sucks balls'. There's also a saying that goes something like 'if you pick the wrong quarterback in the draft, it will set your franchise back 6 or 7 years'.

Hence, 2006 draft, 6 years ago. It went a little something like this:

Round

Overall

Player/Position

1

17

Chad Greenway/LB

2

48

Cedric Griffin/CB

2

51

Ryan Cook/C

2

64

Tarvaris Jackson/QB

4

127

Ray Edwards/DE

5

149

Greg YOU'RE MY BOY Blue/S

6

185

Tyrone Culver/DB

First round pick Chad Greenway has been a very good player for the Vikings, solid pick. Cedric Griffin was on his way to becoming a very solid CB before his injuries, so to say he was a bust is misleading, at best. But look at those other two second round picks, Cook and Jackson.

Ryan Cook stuck around for a few years, bounced around in positions and as a starter and back up...and now he's no longer on the team. A guy like that, taken that high, should be a starter entering the prime of his career. He's just another in a long line of offensive linemen picked that were complete and total busts.

Let's look at Tarvaris Jackson. Look, I don't want to either. But it helps us get to the root of today's issues. Jackson was drafted out of Alabama State, and was immediately annointed the Quarterback of the Future. At the time, the Vikings needed one, since Daunte Culpepper was traded and Brad Johnson was a stopgap, at best. Jackson fizzled, and never really got a fair shake from either the fans or the coaching staff. By the end of 2006, Johnson had proved ineffective, and Jackson was put in before he was ready. He started the last two games of his rookie season, didn't really impress, yet was named the defacto starter heading in to 2007. After a 4 interception, OT loss to Detroit in week 2, Jackson was benched in favor of Kelly Holcomb for two games, he got hurt, and the Vikings went back to TJ...who went a combined 15-42, 208 yards passing against the Bears and Cowboys. It then became the Brooks Bollinger and Kelly Holcomb show for 3 games, and then back to Jackson for the remainder of the season. The Vikes won 5 straight to get to 8-6 and were in control of their own post season destiny, but Jackson had two bad games, the Vikes finished 8-8, and I think any opportunity for Jackson to become a trusted starter had vanished.

Yet once again, 2008 saw Jackson inserted as the starter heading into training camp, without any real competition. After an 0-2 start that saw Jackson demonstrate the same flaws in his game he had since 2006--indecisiveness, inaccuracy, and an inability to lead, he was benched in favor of Gus Frerotte, who got the Vikings on the verge of the playoffs, until he got injured. Back comes Jackson, who has his best game as a pro against Arizona...and then arguably one of his worst in a home playoff loss to Philadelphia.

Entering 2009, the VIkings were a good quarterback away from making a serious Super Bowl run, and landed Brett Favre...yet did nothing to address the quarterback situation long term in the draft...because Jackson was still on the roster.

Now, we have a couple of good, young QB's on the roster, but the talent we had around them between 2007-2009 has gotten old and gone away, primarily on the offensive line. Why, speaking of them, let's look at the 2007 draft, shall we?

Round

Overall

Player/Position

1

7

Adrian Peterson/RB

2

44

Sidney Rice/WR

3

72

Marcus McCauley/CB

4

102

Brian Robison/DE

5

146

Aundrae Allison/WR

6

176

Rufus Alexander/LB

7

217

Tyler Thigen/QB

7

233

Chandler Williams/WR

Notice anything? Yeah, no offensive linemen were taken, and the defensive back they took was a bust. Looking at the line, the left side was money--Bryant McKinnie was good, and Steve Hutchinson and Matt Birk were perennial All-Pros. But the right side of the Vikings line was still bad, and it really needed to be addressed. And it wasn't.

In all seriousness, the right side of the Vikings line hasn't been any good since David Dixon and Korey Stringer (RIP, Big Man) were there over a decade ago. Why it has been neglected so long is a mystery to me, and why it wasn't addressed in 2008...or 2009...or 2010...has been mystifying.

But what isn't mystifying is how 2006 and 2007 have affected the state of the Vikings as the calendar now shows 2012. We all know how good AP has been, how promising Sidney Rice could be if he stays healthy (and I guess we could say the same for AP now, sob), and Brian Robison is a solid player.

Greenway, Griffin, Peterson, Robison. That's it. That's all that's left.

So from 2006 and 2007, the Vikings currently have 4 of those players on the roster, and Cedric Griffin might not be back next year. At a time when guys from those drafts should be entering or be in the prime of their years, Minnesota finds themselves with a glaring lack of talent on the roster, and guys from these two drafts should be more well represented.

I'm not saying that the Vikings should have forseen injuries to players; that's ridiculous. And it's just as ridiculous to criticize the Vikings by doing one of those obtuse 'redrafts'--looking down in rounds and see who was available when the Vikings took player 'X', while player 'Y' was still on the board is just as silly. And even sillier is criticizing them for guys picked in the late rounds--those guys sticking around and becoming starters, much less stars, is such a crap shoot that anyone you find that far back who sticks around is a bonus.

HOWEVAH...

--In the 2006 and 2007 drafts, they had 2 first round picks and FOUR second round picks. Three of those four second round picks are no longer with the team, or no longer in the NFL. They should all be starting.

--They invested in a quarterback long after it became apparent that said quarterback was not going to be their long term option. That forced them to go after Favre in 2009, and had he not caught lightning in a bottle that year, this would have essentially been a lost decade.

That's pathetic.

Quite simply put, the only way the Vikings are going to get back towards the top of the NFL is by drafting better. If 2012 turns out to be more like 2006 or 2007, the franchise will be set back ANOTHER half decade or so.

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