This is something that I've seen other sites doing in the lead-up to the games during the week, so I thought I'd give it a go starting with this week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers.
When looking at the Panthers' roster, there's one guy that, in my mind, is an obvious choice for the Vikings. And no. . .it isn't quarterback Cam Newton.
No, if I could take one player off of the Carolina Panthers' roster and transplant him to Minnesota, it would be middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. Kuechly is the prototypical, three-down middle linebacker. . .quite frankly, he might be the best 4-3 middle linebacker in the NFL already. He's a guy that doesn't have to come off the field in obvious passing situations, because he has the coverage skills to play either zone or in man coverage against tight ends. He's one of those guys that can always be found where the ball is on the field, and he's generally the one getting up from the bottom of the pile.
Kuechly was the Panthers' first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, taken ninth overall out of Boston College, and started out the season as an outside linebacker. Then, when Jon Beason went down with an injury, Kuechly was moved to the middle and really took off. He wound up being named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2012 after collecting 164 combined tackles, eight pass defenses, and two interceptions.
Given the fact that the Vikings appear to be sticking with the 4-3 scheme for the long haul, a guy like Kuechly in the middle would cure a lot of the ills that the Vikings' linebacker corps currently has. He would immediately displace Erin Henderson from the middle linebacker spot, and that in turn would put less pressure on Chad Greenway and (presumably) Desmond Bishop on the outside. Kuechly's ability to get back into coverage would mean that, hey, maybe every tight end in the NFL wouldn't destroy the Vikings week in and week out, and he's already displaying the sort of leadership ability that a team needs from its middle linebacker at the young age of 22.
That's why, if I could take one player off of the Panthers' roster and bring him to Minnesota, linebacker Luke Kuechly would definitely be my pick.
Do you agree, or would you take someone else from Carolina if the Vikings were given the opportunity?