The Vikings will be picking 12th in April's draft. We look at the recent history of that draft pick and the teams in front of the Vikings.
The final draft order for the 20 non-playoff teams has been set and the Vikings will pick 12th in the draft.
The 12th pick has been pretty impressive over the last few years. Current Viking DT Jimmy Kennedy
was the 12th pick in the 2003 draft. Since then, a series of players who have been stars for their teams have been selected with the 12th pick of the draft, which is reason for promise. Consider the following:
2010 – Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego
2009 – Knowshon Moreno
, RB, Denver
2008 – Ryan Clady
, OT, Denver
2007 – Marshawn Lynch
, RB, Buffalo
2006 – Haloti Ngata
, DT, Baltimore
2005 – Shawne Merriman, LB, San Diego
2004 – Jonathan Vilma
, New York Jets
2003 – Jimmy Kennedy, DT, St. Louis
Those are pretty solid numbers, so No. 12 isn't too bad a slot to be picking. However, it could have been better. The Panthers (2-14) had the first pick locked down two weeks ago and are followed by Denver (4-12), Buffalo (4-12) and Cincinnati (4-12) for picks Nos. 2-4. Two teams at 5-11 locked down picks Nos. 5-6 – Arizona and Cincinnati. Then comes the glut at 6-10.
Six teams finished the 2010 season at 6-10 and, of those, the Vikings finished ahead of just one (Detroit) in the draft order. The teams in front of them with picks 7-11 are San Francisco, Tennessee, Dallas, Washington and Houston.
The first thing that stands out is that, barring a trade, the Panthers are all but guaranteed to take Stanford
quarterback Andrew Luck
. If the teams that have the picks retain them, it's likely any quarterback prospects the Vikings might have an eye on will have to get through a gauntlet of teams looking for a young QB, including the Bengals, Cardinals, possibly the Browns, the 49ers and the Redskins. A couple of them are sure to pass on QB, but that still leaves at least two or three teams that have a demonstrated need at quarterback moving forward.
With a lot of unanswered questions concerning the status of a labor agreement, there is the potential that the draft will come before free agency, so teams will be building from the back forward – more likely to draft for need, as opposed to filling needs in free agency and targeting the best athlete available on draft day.
For 20 teams, the 2011 season begins today. Unfortunately for the Vikings, they're one of them.
The Vikings were far from alone in falling from their perch atop their division. The Saints dropped from first to second in the NFC South, if not for a win Sunday in the final minute, Dallas would have finished last in the NFC East and the Cardinals did finish last in the NFC West.
The Cowboys may have done the Vikings a favor by scoring their late touchdown against the resting Eagles. Most NFL observers agree that, top to bottom, the Cowboys have a better team than the Redskins. Thanks to the Dallas win and the Washington loss, Dallas moved out of last place in the NFC East and dropped the Redskins to the cellar. As a result, instead of heading into Dallas next year, the Vikings will head back to Washington D.C. to face the Redskins, who provided one of the Vikings' two road wins this season.
Despite finishing ahead of Washington in the standings, due to the formula used for determining draft positioning, Dallas gets to pick ahead of the Redskins.
Juaquin Iglesias may have potentially left considerable money on the table to leave the Bears to come to the Vikings, according to the Chicago Tribune. In the postseason, everyone is paid the same. For star players, it's a significant pay cut they willingly accept for a shot at glory. Iglesias was in line to make $38,000 for the divisional round game. If they won at home, he would get another $38,000 for the NFC Championship Game. If the Bears go to the Super Bowl, he would have been paid $83,000 if they win and $42,000 if they lose. If the Bears win it all, he could have made $149,000, but felt the chance to play for the Vikings and get a chance to be a major contributor in the future meant more than a potential 2010 payday.
As predicted at the beginning of the season in our 2010 preview, the NFC West produced the first losing playoff team in NFL history, as Seattle won its way into the postseason despite a 7-9 record. The Seahawks will be at home, but will be a prohibitive underdog when they face New Orleans.
Oakland coach Tom Cable could get the axe today, despite going 6-0 against his own division. Cable has been divisive during his short tenure as Oakland's head coach and the buzz out of the Bay area is that he is next in a growing list of head coaches getting their pink slips – more reason for the Vikings to get their unfinished head coaching business done by locking down Frazier.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.