The prevailing wisdom is that the Vikings are going to be selecting a quarterback with one of their first two picks in the 2011 NFL Draft. Recently, in the Star Tribune, Coach Leslie Frazier seemed to backtrack on that a bit.
As for a comment he made at the owners meetings last month in New Orleans about potentially taking a quarterback in the first two rounds, Frazier said:
"The only thing I was saying about that is that would be ideal. That’s the term I used. But you don’t want to get to the point where you’re reaching for a player just because you have what you perceive as a need at quarterback. We want to get the best player that’s available and if the quarterback we like is not there you can’t just say, ‘OK, we’re going to take that guy because he plays quarterback.’ We have other needs other than that position. We’ve got to be smart. … When we sit down and go through all the scenarios we’re going to try to take the best player that’s available for us at whatever spot we take him."
So, basically, the Vikings can take a quarterback in the first two rounds. . .or not take a quarterback in the first two rounds. . .or take a quarterback whenever they darn well please. . .and can claim that they got the guy they wanted.
As I've said on more than one occasion, I'm not an uber draft guru or anything like that, but I can see eight quarterbacks that could be taken in the first two rounds of the draft that really wouldn't be considered reaches.
The two guys that would probably be worth taking at number 12. . .Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton. . .probably won't be there at 12. If they could trade down a bit in the first round, they would probably find themselves in the territory where Washington's Jake Locker, Florida State's Christian Ponder, and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett would be legitimate picks (although I still hope like heck we avoid Locker like the plague). As we get closer to the 43rd pick in the draft, you could start adding names like TCU's Andy Dalton, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, although Kaepernick would definitely be more of a long-term project than either Stanzi or Dalton.
I don't think that eight quarterbacks are going to be taken in the draft's first 42 picks, so there is likely going to be somebody that the Vikings could grab at 43 (at the latest) without it being considered a reach. As we sit 25 days away from the NFL draft, nobody can really be sure what the Vikings are going to do. . .and I, for one, kind of like it that way.