Draft Day Numbers Game

The Vikings sit at No. 7 in the draft order for the rookie draft in April. But, with a pair of quarterbacks expected to go off the board early, the Vikings might be might closer to landing a playmaking wide receiver -- which could alter their free-agent planning process.

The Vikings are almost four months away from draft weekend, but the numbers game is already beginning.

At his post-game press conference Sunday, Brad Childress was asked about the direction of the team in free agency and the draft. Childress said that every position on the team is liable for an upgrade if a talented player is available. He corrected himself and said that quarterback likely wouldn't be a position the Vikings aggressively target – whether in free agency or the early portion of the draft. That creates an interesting numbers game for the Vikings at No. 7.

With six picks in front of them, the Vikings have three picks that are almost sure to be off the board before they select – quarterbacks Brady Quinn of Notre Dame and Brian Brohm of Louisville and offensive tackle Joe Thomas of Wisconsin. The early conventional wisdom thinks that the two quarterbacks could easily go 1-2 to the Raiders and Lions – both in need of a young QB of the future. The Vikings' greatest early need is at wide receiver, where the free agent market is thin, and two "sure-fire" prospects sit at the top of the draft list – Ohio State's Ted Ginn and Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson.

Ginn has blazing speed and good hands, while Johnson has freakish size for a wide receiver and has been the mainstay of the GT offense. But again, the numbers game could come into play when it comes to the Vikings' pick.

Because of the high toll paid to move into the top five selections, it is difficult for teams to move too far up in the draft on draft day, which could drop Ginn or Johnson into the Vikings' lap. If the Raiders and Lions take quarterbacks 1-2, only four teams remain between the Vikings and their pick at No. 7. If Tampa Bay gets its way and Thomas is still on the board, they'll snap him up, leaving the Browns, Cardinals and Redskins in front of the Vikings.

The Browns might have a hard time using their top pick on a wide receiver because of using two recent first-round picks on WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow. The Cardinals likely wouldn't use their pick at WR because of having Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin already under contract. The Redskins might balk too, since they spent millions the last two off-seasons to shore up their own WR position.

While it's still early, barring a trade or a monster Combine workout by Johnson or Ginn, the Vikings could well find their future at wide receiver waiting for them in late April – thanks to a numbers game in their favor.

TUESDAY NOTES
* The Vikings didn't have a single player in the top 50 for sacks in 2006. Darrion Scott led the team with 5.5 sacks, followed by Kevin Williams with five. Kenechi Udeze, who was touted in the preseason as having a goal of double-digit sacks, had none in 16 games.
* National reports say several Vikings are on the verge of being outright released in the coming days and weeks, including Brad Johnson, Fred Smoot, Troy Williamson, Jim Kleinsasser and Jermaine Wiggins.
* Darren Sharper will work as a correspondent for NFL Network and its coverage of the Colts-Chiefs playoff game this weekend.
* VU has been told that the Seahawks are likely to announce as early as today that they have signed Marcus Robinson, who was cut by the Vikings over the phone on Christmas Eve.
* From the "What's In A Name" Department comes this: Don't expect to see Dominick Davis back in the NFL any time soon. Davis, who was the lead back for the Texans before an injury sidelined him in training camp, has changed his name to Dominick Williams. Williams is his mother's maiden name.
* Former Vikings coach Dennis Green is out in Arizona after three seasons and a 16-32 record. While some thought his job would be spared because of the transition made to rookie QB Matt Leinart, many is Arizona are saying his ouster likely was set in stone after his post-game tirade after choking away a Monday night game to the Bears.

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