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Harvin could add more gun powder to Vikes' offense

It's that time of year where the sun is shining and the dreaded snow is melting. Weather has put many smiles on winter-beaten faces.

But it's also the time for spring's best holiday -- the NFL Draft which is April 25-26 -- and teams are clamoring to restock their lineups with some of colleges' best players.

There have already been some dealings going on and more are sure to come.

The Chicago Bears landed their potential franchise quarterback in a deal with Denver, which gained two first round picks, a third rounder and QB Kyle Orton.

As of now, calling new Bear Jay Cutler a franchise QB is a bit premature. In my definition of a franchise QB, they need to at least have made a trip to the playoffs.

Cutler hasn't, yet. But his potential of being one of the top quarterbacks in the league is high, so a pretty good move for the Bears.

Dissecting the NFC North Division, it all came down to the quarterback position -- or lack thereof.

But with Cutler now in Chicago and Aaron Rodgers proving he can be a legit QB in Green Bay, as well as the sure bet that Detroit will select Georgia's Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick -- the Minnesota Vikings are left out in the cold alone.

A fourth round pick given to Houston for career backup Sage Rosenfels is what the Vikings' answer was to their biggest hole in the lineup.

Brad Childress is bound and determined to keep giving Tarvaris Jackson his chance to become the starting quarterback, as well.

In reality, Rosenfels has an opportunity to be an above-average QB, which would be enough to keep those eighth and ninth defenders out of the box to stop Adrian Peterson.

Jackson hasn't been able to gain the respect from defenses to pull those defenders from playing eight to nine guys in the box.

Consistency has been Jackson's downfall and ever since Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble shredded Daunte Culpepper's knee, the Vikes have lacked in the quarterbacking department.

Neither Rosenfels nor Jackson are the long term answers.

Unfortunately, Cutler wasn't a realistic option either, since Chicago had took much ammo to trade for him.

The Bears had the higher draft picks -- four positions in front of the Vikings -- and they also could offer Orton to Denver, which is the better option than either Rosenfels or Jackson.

Unless a Hershel Walker type of deal would have been made, Cutler was not an option.

The free agent market was a dry well, so that wasn't an option.

Unfortunately, the NFL Draft won't be one either, unless the Vikings can manage to trade up in the top 15 from their No. 22 spot.

This year's QB class is basically three deep in top-heavy potential.

Stafford will go to Detroit at No. 1, while the next two top prospects -- USC's Mark Sanchez and Kansas State's Josh Freeman -- will need to make it through six QB hungry teams.

Those who could select a QB in the first round and are ahead of the Vikings include Seattle (fourth), Jacksonville (eighth), San Francisco (10), Denver (12 and 18), the New York Jets (17) and Tampa Bay (19).

After those top three are gone, there is a huge drop-off in talent at QB.

Houston State's Rhett Bomar is lauded as the fourth-best quarterback in the draft, but he has character issues, including getting dismissed off the Oklahoma Sooners team.

Texas Tech's Graham Harrell put up some big numbers as a Red Raider, but it came in a spread offense on a lot of passes (he had 626 attempts alone in 2008).

The Vikings already have their project quarterback in John David Booty, who they drafted last year out of USC. He has potential, but is still one to two years away from finding out how much.

So there's no reason to draft a quarterback in the latter rounds if the big three are gone.

That means, unless a pie in the sky trade comes about -- i.e. for Donovan McNabb -- the Vikings will have to role with either Rosenfels or Jackson.

What's the best strategy then to bolster the Vikings' offense?

Select a playmaker to help out the quarterback and Peterson.

The best strategy is to draft the best player available and not for need.

There is a need for a right tackle for the Vikes, but the top four tackles in the draft -- Eugene Monroe (Virginia), Jason Smith (Baylor), Andre Smith (Alabama) and Michael Oher (Mississippi) -- will probably be snatched up already.

Oher has a chance to leak through the cracks to No. 22, which would be a solid and safe pick.

But if those four are gone, the Vikes could still fill the RT position in the second round with Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt.

Cornerback is another need position, but this year's crop isn't as talented than years past.

Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins and Illinois' Vontae Davis each would fit in well on the Vikes' cover two defense. Both have good size and both are ball hawks.

But the Vikes could also snag D.J. Moore out of Vanderbilt or Alphonso Smith out of Wake Forest in either the second or third rounds.

This year's wide receiver class is deep and full of talent.

Although drafting a wide receiver is a risky proposition in the first round, the Vikes could go that route.

With Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin sure bets to go in the top 15, the rest could start falling down towards No. 22.

North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks would be a sweet red zone target with his 6-1, 210-pound frame, as would Rutgers' Kenny Britt (6-4, 215).

But the pick should be Florida's Percy Harvin, who would provide that big-play ability on both the offense and special teams.

The speedy and quick Harvin would be a good compliment to Bernard Berrian. The Gator can go the distance from anywhere on the field.

His red flags are alleged character issues, as well as durability problems.

But getting Harvin would be yet another big weapon who can make an offense explosive, to go along with Peterson and Berrian.

He also could become another Devin Hester as a dangerous return man.

Some other WR prospects the Vikes could draft in later rounds include Oklahoma's Juaquin Iglesias -- a great route runner with good hands -- and Ohio State's Brian Robiskie, another big, tall and strong receiver.

With the QB hole probably still prevalent for yet another season, adding tools around the position is the way to approach this year's draft.

Harvin would be that man.