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In the Zone: Bypassing a QB the right move for Vikes

Chad Greenway. Adrian Peterson. Jared Allen. Percy Harvin.

These are the four names in which the Brad Childress regime has drafted -- or traded for in Allen's case -- in the first round of the NFL Draft.

There's been plenty of flash, excitement and production.

And, plenty of Viking fans being spoiled.

All four are major contributors to an NFL team which went 12-4 and all were highly-toted draft picks during the draft.

So what happened this past weekend when there wasn't any flash or sparkle to the Vikings' eight draft picks?

Oh, there was plenty of hand-wringing and a big dose of chicken-little syndrome going around Purple Nation, but in a draft with no sizzle -- there was plenty of substance.

First, the Vikings were picking No. 30, meaning at the bottom of each round and basically at the mercy of the 29 other picks ahead of them.

And it seemed for yet another year, the Vikings were going to get lucky and have one of the best players fall down to them, like it occurred when Peterson dropped to No. 7 and Harvin to No. 22.

This time, though, the New York Jets put a hammer to that notion, when they selected Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson one slot ahead of the Vikings at No. 29.

Wilson was ranked as the draft's second or worst, third, best cornerback.

A criticism is the Vikes should have planned on trying to trade up two or three spots, when Wilson started to take his slide.

They didn't and got burned by it.

With basically their hopes shot down by the Gang Green, the Childress gang traded down with Detroit, garnering the No. 34 pick and the chance to move up in the fourth to the second selection and a late round pick.

Now, here's where the hand-wringing started, with the fact that Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen was available.

It made sense, since the Vikings needed that "future" quarterback to develop after a certain Hall of Fame signal-caller decides to call it quits.

But, in reality, this was one of the weakest QB classes in the last decade.

After Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was selected No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Rams, Florida's Tim Tebow was surprisingly snagged by Denver in the first round, before Clausen, who many had rated as a top 10 pick.

But the Vikings wisely resisted the urge to draft a QB, just to draft a QB because they needed a future one.

Clausen has zero leadership abilities and has more than plenty of flaws in his game -- such as footwork -- and a pedigree coming from a college which consistently produces busts at the position in the NFL.

Childress wisely bypassed Clausen, because hopefully he has learned that committing to a young QB, with red flags such as the Irish QB, is a long-term headache -- i.e. Tarvaris Jackson.

Yes, the Vikes do need a QB of the future, but this was not the class to hook your wagon up to and be committed to him for the next four to five years.

It was one, in which, waiting and biding your time was a better option than picking one and hoping they develop.

Clausen's red flags were his attitude and leadership ability, in which is are couple of the most important virtues an NFL QB will need.

Thirty teams bypassed on Clausen -- two of them twice which need QB help now in Buffalo and Cleveland -- before Carolina finally traded up in the second round and took him.

But even the Panthers are not too sure about Clausen, with their sixth-round selection of Cincinnati's Tony Pike.

So with QB pretty much out of the picture, the Vikes decided to draft for more need than best player available at cornerback in Virginia's Chris Cook, then traded up (giving up a third rounder) for Stanford's Toby Gerhart.

Cook was the best CB left at No. 34 and the drop-off behind him was steep.

The Vikes needed a cornerback, one who was physical and one who would fit in the Cover-2 defensive scheme they run.

Cook was that guy, who is 6-2 and 212 pounds. He has good agility and can press coverage. He adds height to a CB crew which doesn't reach the mark of 6-0.

Gerhart could be the keystone of the Vikes' 2010 draft, though.

Of course, he carries the tag of being a white running back, something in which shallow and ignorant fans will point out.

But Gerhart can be compared to the Giants' Brandon Jacobs with his 6-1, 235-pound frame and 4.5 speed.

No, he is not a fullback, he is a legit running back, who picked up 1,871 yards his senior season, had 50 rushes of 10 yards or more and more importantly, became seasoned in pass blocking in the backfield -- something even veteran NFL RB's are not.

He was the Doak Walker Award winner (given to the best college running back) and the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

Gerhart will be able to take hand-offs between the tackles and spell Peterson on drives. The Cardinal back also has had only six fumbles out of 671 attempts in his career at Stanford.

He will be a good compliment to the dynamic Peterson.

The Vikes still earned a steal in the draft, with USC's defensive end Everson Griffen falling to them in the fourth round.

Griffen certainly has his warts -- attitude and less-than-continuous motor -- but in the fourth round, the risk-reward factor tilts to the latter.

Current Vikes' DE Ray Edwards was also selected in the fourth round after he dropped due to "character issues" and that so far, hasn't turned out too bad.

Nope, no QB of the future was had in this draft -- as it probably won't be for even the teams which selected one -- so the Vikes will be hoping ole' No. 4 returns.

It was a draft with very little flash, but substance -- which although boring to fans -- will still has great potential to produce for the 2010 season.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.