With the NFL draft a little more than one week from now, people are starting to form some pretty strong opinions on a lot of things--who the Vikings should, could, or will draft, and whether or not they'll trade up or down.
And everyone from Rick Spielman to message board GM's all have opinions on players. Some good, some bad, and some to both extremes. And there's probably one player you really, really like and one player you want the Vikings to avoid at all costs.
Whether you are a draft expert or just a regular fan like me, there are players you like, and players you don't like. It doesn't matter what position they play or what school they played for, there's just something about some players that stand out, good or bad.
Here are mine. And just keep in mind, I'm looking at players that the Vikings would have a reasonable chance to draft. I'm going to try hard to avoid players that will more than likely be drafted before the Vikings pick, because DUH who wouldn't want Myles Garrett, you know what I mean?
Anyways, here we go.
One Player I Want: Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State
I can literally hear a lot of you do eyerolls and think 'GEEEEEEZ YOU ARE SUCH A STUPID OHIO STATE FANBOY'...yeah, guilty as charged.
Samuel is an enticing prospect. He's a really good running back, he's a really good wide receiver, and he can return kicks. He has high end, straight line speed which will force defenses to give defending CB's help over the top, he has pretty good hands for a guy that's not a dedicated WR, and has moves that remind me of Percy Harvin. He played Harvin's role in Urban Meyer's offense at OSU as well as Harvin did at Florida, and presents a lot of match up issues for opposing defenses.
You can line Samuel up in the backfield and take hand-offs right out of the I-formation or the shotgun. You can line him up in the backfield, and put him in motion wide. You can line him up wide, and use him as a decoy on a reverse to keep the backside defenders honest, or give him the ball. If he gets the edge, he's gone. Finally, you can use him as a slot receiver, and I think he'll match up really well against a majority of the NFL nickel or dime backs.
Look, you guys know I'm an OSU fan, and I just want to say thanks for tolerating that in my writings on a Minnesota Vikings site. But because I watch all their games, I'd like to think I have a decent idea when a guy is going to be a pretty good fit for the Vikings. Samuel would give the Vikings offense an instant boost, and an added dimension they haven't since, well, Harvin. With Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson gone, name me an explosive playmaker on the Vikings offense. Sure, Adam Thielen has come from nowhere, but I wouldn't call Thielen explosive. Stefon Diggs is has moments of explosiveness, but it's not consistent. Add a guy like Samuel to have to game plan for, and that makes Diggs, Thielen, and the rest of the offense that much more potent.
One Player I Don't Want: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
Yeah...Joe Mixon. Look, I know he's a very good, potentially great running back, and is probably gonna have a long and prosperous NFL career. But Mixon evokes a lot of emotions, and I'll be honest with you, I've had enough of these off the field issues with running backs from Oklahoma.
Peterson's child injury charges early in the 2014 season opened a gash in the fan base of the Vikings that hasn't yet healed yet, and I don't know if it ever will. Peterson evokes a ton of emotions, but even those of us that wanted him released (hi guys) acknowledge the amazing career he had as a Viking. And when the Vikings decided to bring him back, it was easier to cheer for him because he had built up a great reputation beforehand, both on and off the field.
So there was a way to go from point A to point B with Peterson, and although it was complicated, it was a route most everyone could navigate.
But Mixon? He doesn't have seven years of record setting highlights and a Hall of Fame career to help him offset some really bad off the field issues. And Peterson's child injury/abuse/endangerment (call it what you will), although really bad, was unintentional. That doesn't excuse it, but it adds a nuance to his case that isn't there with Mixon.
Because Mixon intentionally hit a young woman in the face and knocked her out, cold. I don't care what his excuse is, other than 'she pulled a knife or gun and my life was in mortal danger'. If that's not the reason, there is no reason. The video is brutal, and it's tough for me to look at that video and say 'hey, I'd really like to cheer for him for the next 7-8 years.'
I get that Mixon's case has gone through the legal process, and he has done everything the courts have said he's had to do. I'm also not one of those people that think other people don't deserve forgiveness and second chances. I've been the recipient of both, more often than I've probably deserved throughout the course of my life. So no, I'm not a person that thinks Joe Mixon needs to be exiled to Antarctica and forced to live a life of ice cube making as opposed to football.
If there's a team that wants to draft Joe Mixon, he deserves the opportunity to play in the National Football League. And the reason some organization will draft him is because they think he'll be a pretty good football player. It's just that my personal opinion that Joe Mixon's career opportunity is given to him by a team by other than the Minnesota Vikings.
So that's my one guy I want, and one guy I don't want. What about you?