Defensive tackle Ryan Sims may have been the preferred selection of the Minnesota Vikings, but landing offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie is far from being a consolation prize.
While the time leading up to the NFL Draft, also known as the "Smoke and Mirrors Show" was in full gear churning out rumor after rumor, there was one certainty that was established. The Vikings wanted Ryan Sims.
What came as a surprise was the Kansas City Chiefs traded up with the Dallas Cowboys to acquire the standout defensive tackle.
The ball of events actually started rolling with the third selection in the draft when the Detroit Lions nabbed quarterback Joey Harrington. The selection made sense and was the preferred selection of many in league circles, come draft day numerous teams in the top of the draft expected Detroit to select cornerback Quentin Jammer.
In Buffalo, the Bills stayed the course and selected mammouth offensive tackle Mike Williams. So far, so good. The Vikings were in good shape as their guy, Sims was still on the board.
With San Diego on the clock, the unexpected occured. A not-so-shocked Marty Schottenheimer couldn't have received a better gift. Jammer was on the board and was the player that the Chargers wanted. Wasting little time, the Chargers selected Jammer.
Everybody in the league knew that Dallas coveted safety Roy Williams from Oklahoma. Since the departure of Jimmy Johnson from Dallas a few years back, the Cowboys have gained the reputation as being a poor drafting organization.
Out of the blue, the Cowboys appeared to drop the ball. The Chiefs had their sites set on Harrington or Sims, The Insiders has learned. When Harrington went off the board, they knew that San Diego was not going to draft a defensive tackle, so they got into the trading game with Dallas. A deal was made with time running out on the clock and the selection of Sims was announced.
Sitting with the seventh selection, the Vikings were still in the position to draft a highly touted defensive tackle, a very good safety, or the obvious, Bryant McKinnie.
After some brief discussion, the Vikings decided they couldn't pass on the dominant McKinnie. Projected as a fixture at offensive left tackle for years to come, the decision was easy and should have been the preferred selection according to one league player personnel director.
"If you look at the Vikings roster, there was a need at left tackle, much more so than any position," the director said. "Last season their pass protection was marginal, the running game suffered. Drafting McKinnie shores up that entire mess they had on the left side of the line."
"Sims and Williams are very good players and would have helped that team, but McKinnie has as much upside or more than any player in this draft."
Draft Baubles: When comparing the Vikings draft to that of the competition in the NFC North Division, the Vikings have done the most to improve their team, according to one highly respected draft expert.
"Drafting McKinnie was a great move for Minnesota. Backing up that solid selection in choosing linebacker Raonall Smith in the second round and safety Willie Offord in the third round, the Vikings have filled some glaring weaknesses," the draft expert said. "Smith and Offord are players that many teams had rated lower than Minnesota, but these are two players that really fit into the Vikings scheme."
"They bring size, speed and athletic ability to the table, all things that Minnesota has lacked on the defensive side of the ball."