Over the course of the past couple of days, a couple of potential Vikings' roster moves have started to surface. One of them hasn't gotten a lot of mention and may or may not make sense, while the other would, in my opinion, be one of the smartest moves that the Vikings could make this off-season.
We'll start with the first one. . .and, not surprisingly, it involves Brad Childress' former employer, the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the rumors that has been mentioned on some sports talk stations has been that of the beloved Purple sending a late-round pick in the 2008 draft to the Eagles in exchange for veteran QB Kelly Holcomb, formerly of the Colts, Browns, and Bills. He's probably best remembered for the QB "battle" (if it could be referred to as such) that he had with a young "up and coming" Tim Couch in Cleveland in Couch's first few years in the NFL.
(Yes. . .I, like most of you, forgot that there was ever a point where Tim Couch was considered to be an "up and coming" young QB. I had forgotten largely because Tim Couch sucked then, sucks now, and if he came back to the NFL would probably still suck. Moving right along.)
Now, the Eagles do have a bit of a logjam at the QB spot. Donovan McNabb is the obvious starter, they drafted Kevin Kolb out of the University of Houston in Round 2 of this year's draft, and they just signed A.J. Feeley to a decent-sized contract in the off-season. ("Decent-sized" being relative to the usual contract that backup QBs usually receive.) That leaves Holcomb appearing to be the odd man out. Would the Vikings be better off with Holcomb on their QB depth chart than what they have now? My answer to that is a strong, solid. . .I dunno.
Now, I don't think Holcomb is going to join the Vikings and, if Tarvaris Jackson goes down, is going to turn into Randall Cunningham circa 1998 or anything like that. He's not a great QB by any stretch, and might be considered to be average at best. His lifetime numbers show an even 37:37 TD/INT ratio, and he averages about 6.67 yards/attempt while completing a shade under 65% of his passes. That last number makes him somewhat intriguing, as the offense that Brad Childress likes to run places more of a premium on accuracy than it does on throwing it downfield. . .not that Holcomb can't get the ball downfield. He certainly has a stronger arm than Brad Johnson. Then again, I have a shih-tzu that can probably throw a football harder than Brad Johnson. A female shih-tzu, no less.
Holcomb might be a solid move for the Vikings. He turns 33 in a few days, and would give us, at worst, a more solid backup situation than having Brooks Bollinger at #2 and rookie project Tyler Thigpen at #3. Bringing in Holcomb would allow us to stash Thigpen on the practice squad and have slightly less to worry about should injury befall Tarvaris Jackson at some point this season.
A move, on the other hand, that makes almost too much sense for the Vikings NOT to make, has the chance to take place on 10 July. That's the date that the NFL's Supplemental Draft will take place. For those that are unfamiliar with the Supplemental Draft, here's a basic explanation of how it works:
The league uses a weighted three-step, semi-lottery system to determine the order of the supplemental draft as follows:
Teams with six wins or less participate in the first lottery for the top picks. The team that posted the worst record among that group is given a weighted advantage over the following team, with each team's "weight" being decreased on down the line until reaching the team with the best record in the group.
The second group consists of non-playoff teams and follows the same weighted system.
The third group consists of last season's 12 playoff teams and, again, follows the same lottery system.
After the order is determined, each team submits to the league the name of the player(s) they are interested in, as well as the round they would like to choose them in. The team that submits the highest bid is awarded rights to the player. If more than one team bids a pick from the same round, the team with the highest pick in the round wins out.
If a team uses a pick in the Supplemental Draft, they must forfeit their choice in the corresponding round of the next years NFL Draft.
For example. . .waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1987, the Philadelphia Eagles (there's that team again) declared that they wanted to take some WR from THE Ohio State University in the Supplemental Draft by the name of Cris Carter. They put in a bid of a fourth-round selection. As a result, when the 1988 NFL Draft (regular version) came around, the Eagles didn't have a fourth-round selection of their own because they had used it to select Carter.
The guy that should be the object of the Vikings' affection, in my opinion, is Jared Gaither, an offensive lineman from the University of Maryland. Gaither, to put it mildly, is friggin' huge. . .6'9", 350 pounds, and was projected to be selected in the middle of the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
However, the big man has some big problems. He was declared academically ineligible about three weeks ago, after which he made the decision to enter the Supplemental Draft. He also had some injury troubles during his time at Maryland, but managed to play in 23 of the Terps' 24 games in the two years he was at College Park.
There are apparently a lot of teams that are high on Gaither's potential, and I happen to be one of them. There are some different schools of thought on how high a selection will be used for Gaither or any of the other prospects that have declared for the Supplemental Draft. Some mild rumblings of Gaither possibly getting as high as a second-round bid have been heard, but I don't know how legitimate they are. I think a third-round selection will be more likely. . .and thanks to the generosity of the Denver Broncos, it just so happens that we have an extra one of those laying around for 2008.
Gaither would be a great addition to this team and, quite frankly, would be the immediate starter at right tackle, or even at right guard. He'd be a tremendous upgrade at either spot, in my opinion. Maybe we'll get lucky and the Vikings will give us a little gift for the Daily Norseman's first birthday (which just happens to fall on the same day as the Supplemental Draft). We can only hope.