Peterson scenario the best one for Vikes

With the 2007 NFL Draft being as unpredictable in the top 10 picks as any other in recent memory, the paths the Minnesota Vikings can take is starting to look like a roadmap of New York City -- there are many.

With the 2007 NFL Draft being as unpredictable in the top 10 picks as any other in recent memory, the paths the Minnesota Vikings can take is starting to look like a roadmap of New York City -- there are many.

One wouldn't think by holding the No. 7 overall pick in next Saturday and Sunday's draft would provide so many different scenarios for the Vikes, but with how dynamic the top 10 players are in the draft and the unpredictability of the teams there -- one cannot assume anything.

It starts at No. 1 with Oakland. Basically the Raiders will go down one offensive path or the other, that being either strong-armed QB from LSU JaMarcus Russell (6-6, 260) or the best athlete in the entire draft WR phenom Calvin Johnson (6-4, 235) from Georgia Tech.

There will be two different drafts depending on where Oakland starts with. The sentiment from the "experts" is the Raiders will go with Russell, a position they need dearly.

But remember, this is Al Davis we're talking about, so there is no grain.


Ultimately, from the first pick on, that will determine who will fall to the Vikings -- who will need to go best player available no matter the position.

First, let's list the needs the Brad Childress-led Vikings need to focus on in improving.

Wide receiver is the most obvious deficiency on the team. The 2006 version of the WR corp. of the Purple was reminiscent of the days Bronco Nagurski was playing -- they were non-existent.

The best-case scenario and every Vikings' fan taste of Nirvana would be for the team to be able to land Johnson. Thoughts of Randy Moss' rookie year would quickly be dancing in Purple Rubes' heads.

Back to reality.

Johnson is a sure top three pick. Trading up to those spots would cost the Vikings dearly and it is almost guaranteed the holder of the No. 2 spot -- the Detroit Lions -- won't trade with an inner-divisional rival.

So cross Johnson off the list. The Vikes can't afford to reach for the second-best WR at No. 7 -- which would force the ugly reminder of two years ago at No. 7 when the Vikings picked the "next Randy Moss" Troy Williamson.

We all know where that project is going.


Let's start with the scenarios from best to not-so-best case on the journey to pick No. 7.

Best-Case: This is definitely a "best-player" left pick for the Vikings and not necessarily a need.

The second-best skill player in the draft could possibly drop to the Vikings, who, like in 1998, would have to snap him up like they did Moss, despite having a super duo of Cris Carter and Jake Reed already.

Oklahoma Sooner Adrian Peterson stormed onto the college scene for the Sooners with 1,925 yards rushing as a freshman. He has averaged over 5.0 yards per carry in his three years at OU, while accumulating 41 touchdowns.

He is fast (4.4 in the 40) and good size (220 pounds). Peterson is a special talent like Calvin Johnson at the RB position and would be an instant upgrade to a blah-and-bad Viking offense.

Last year, Chester Taylor was a solid RB, gaining over 1,200 yards. But he isn't a franchise back like Peterson would be. The duo could be a great 1-2 punch out of the backfield, helping take pressure off second-year QB Tarvaris Jackson.

The two would split carries, prolonging Taylor and giving Peterson good experience. In two or three years, Peterson would be taking over full-time and the Vikes would have that all-important franchise RB.

Peterson's injury history is a concern, but not enough of one to pass up his talents if he were there at No. 7.


The big hurdle here is Cleveland at No. 3. They are obviously interested in Peterson, because they only have Jamal Lewis signed to a one-year contract.

The hope for the Vikings is the Browns would instead opted to select Notre Dame's Brady Quinn. Cleveland also needs a franchise QB with only Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson on the roster.

Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel has a direct connection with Notre Dame's head coach Charlie Weiss and hopefully the latter will talk Crennel into selecting Quinn instead of Peterson.

The Lions at No. 2 could go Quinn and Oakland Russell, thus making it more than likely the Browns go Peterson. Bad path for the Vikes.

But Detroit needs a solid O-lineman and Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas fits that bill, dropping Quinn to Cleveland.

After that -- if no other team trades up -- no teams (Tampa Bay at four, Arizona at five and Washington at six) have a need for a RB because they have that position filled.

Leaving Peterson as a steal at No. 7.

Not-so-good: Brady Quinn.


If Cleveland spoils hopes of Viking Nation by taking Peterson, Quinn has a good chance of slipping to No. 7.

Jackson should be looked upon to be the future QB of the Vikings, so why waste a high pick on Quinn, who has plenty of questions of surviving the NFL anyway.

If Quinn is there, hopefully the Viking brass will be smart enough to search for a trading partner down -- like Miami at No. 9 -- and pick up some more draft picks.

There, the Vikes could afford to reach a little for their WR, like Tennessee's Robert Meachem or LSU's DeWayne Bowe.

If neither Quinn nor Peterson survives the first six picks, the Vikes could again go for best player available and select LSU safety Laron Landry, who could have as big an impact on a defense like the perennial Pro Bowler Ed Reed has for Baltimore.

Clemson DE Gaines Adams would also offer another solid selection at No. 7 with no Peterson or Landry on the board.

So, in essence, the Vikings' board of choices in order could be Johnson, Peterson, Landry, Adams or Thomas (improve an already decent O-line).

Quinn should be used as trade bait to gain some more picks and trade down to select one of the other WR's.


A dream scenario come April 28, would be landing Peterson and seeing USC WR Dwayne Jarrett dropping to No. 41.

With Jarrett's 40-time of 4.62 dropping his stock, WR's such as Meachem, Bowe, Tedd Ginn Jr. and Sidney Rice possibly jumping in front of him.

Those picks in order of Peterson and Jarrett could form a high-octane triumvirate of Jackson/Peterson/Jarrett for the future.

The Vikes also need to address another WR pick in rounds 3-5. Some solid options would be Ohio State's Anthony Gonzalez, LSU's Craig Davis, USC slot-receiver Steve Smith or Washington State's Jason Hill.

There's a plenty of work to do for the Vikings' offense and the addition of a RB like Peterson would be a big spurt of growth to a stagnant unit.

Now, let's hope the other six NFL teams cooperate.

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