Vikings deal and draft

What weighs 1179 pounds, has been to 6 Pro Bowls, and accumulated 25.5 sacks last season?  The answer is the Vikings defensive line, thanks to the addition of  Jared Allen.

The Vikings gave up one first round pick and two third round picks in last Saturday’s draft to acquire star defensive end Allen from Kansas City.  After the deal the Vikings gave Allen a six-year deal worth an astounding $74 million, making him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded their first round pick, both of their third round picks, and their fourth round pick to move up and take defensive end Derrick Harvey out of Florida.  That is much more than the Vikings traded for a proven Pro Bowl defensive end.

Despite Allen’s outstanding performance last season, some may worry that the cost of losing three high round picks is too high.  Fortunately, I am here to put those worries to rest.  Think about the Vikings and their draft history.  When it comes to drafting defense, Minnesota does not have the auspicious track record you would hope for.

Since 2004, the Vikings have chosen Chad Greenway, Erasmus James, Dustin Fox, Dontarrius Thomas, and Darrion Scott in the first three rounds.  Greenway and James are the only two that remain on the team.  Greenway missed his entire rookie season due to an injury suffered on the first play of the preseason and James has been a complete bust at defensive end.

As Vikings fans watched the first round slip by, something seemed to be lacking.  That something was the Vikings.  Minnesota had only one draft pick in the first three rounds and as the day passed by it seemed that their needs could easily be filled at receiver or offensive tackle, as there was still plenty of talent left at both positions.  But when it came to the Vikings at pick number 43 (they swapped picks with the Eagles) they took Tyrell Johnson, a safety from Arkansas State.

Even if the draft wasn’t one to remember, the Vikings still have have many things to be thankful for: the best young running back in the league, an improved receiving corps through free agency (even if they didn’t draft a receiver––anything is better than last year), and a new and improved bolstered defensive line.

John Moore, Diversions editor