The title describes a scenario I would not have envisioned advocating for a few weeks ago, but now I could imagine it making a lot of sense on draft day and am curious as to what other Vikes fans think.
I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling quite a bit better about our team after a few days of free agency. Griffen is back in the fold which to me was job one, we made what I think was a great defensive tackle signing in Linval Joseph, and while I still will want to draft a cornerback, Major Munnerlyn (I just promoted him--congrats sir!) makes me feel quite a bit better about the secondary. I think these are common sentiments among fans, though of course who knows how it will all work out in the end.
Also, we re-signed Matt Cassel, which I think was a wise move. Cassel is never going to the Hall of Fame, to put it mildly, but he rises to the level of "basic competence" as a QB, and his presence means we don't need to reach for one at pick number 8 (the irony of a "Christian Ponder only" QB roster forcing us to reach again in the first round might have been too much for me to bear).
All of that changes how I'm thinking about that first round pick. In terms of maybe still picking a QB, if Teddy Bridgewater was there at #8, I would definitely take him--but I really don't think he will be. After that we have Bortles, Carr, and Manziel as possible candidates. I basically trust the Vikings' management to evaluate those guys well (Spielman will be cautious, Norv Turner is smart), and if they're really in love with one of them (particularly Bortles, who seems to have the most potential) I'd be fine with taking one in the first round (even Carr, who seems to be moving up in the minds of many). But odds are at least two of them (especially Bortles) are off the board, and I really don't think Spielman wants to reach for a QB in the first round--waiting until the second or even third seems much more likely.
Leaving aside offensive tackles, which we do not need, there seem to be three names being kicked around as enormous talents/early first rounders that could make sense on the Vikings: Jadaveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, and Sammy Watkins. If either of the first two are there at #8, I would take them in a heartbeat--Clowney is just too good and oh hell yes could we use a linebacker of Mack's abilities. But I really don't think either of them will be there.
Watkins might not either, but I think it's more likely. If that's how things fall, and if there isn't a QB that the Vikes like in the first round still on the board, the obvious thing to do is probably trade down with a team who desperately wants Watkins. And I'd be cool with that--maybe it's the smart move.
But what about just drafting the kid? Wide receiver is hardly a position of need for the Vikings--oh what a difference a year makes!--but Watkins is potentially a borderline generational talent. Our free agent signings perhaps give us the chance to think in terms of "best player available" even more than normal. Two big holes on defense from last year seem to be filled, and we have a serviceable quarterback in Cassel.
When I think of AP in the backfield, Patterson, Jennings, and Watkins out there as receivers, Rudolph at tight end catching passes over the middle, and a hopefully-back-to-2012-form offensive line (maybe with a better guard than Charlie Johnson), it makes me pretty damn happy because that sounds terrifying for other teams, and I think it's the addition of Watkins that brings it into terrifying territory. Cassel is not the long-term answer at QB, but with that set of weapons and Norv Turner calling plays off of something larger than a New York City subway Metro card, I think he does well. And at the same time we will almost certainly have a second or third round developmental QB holding the clipboard and learning the offense. Ponder can be there at third string--you know, for laughs.
What do y'all think? Assuming Sammy Watkins is sitting there at #8 and is the best guy on the Vikings' board, do we draft him, or trade back for picks? I'd be happy with either option, but I'm surprised by much I like the sound of the former one after the last week.