Wishful Thinking

Looking strictly at need, early mock drafts have wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech falling to the Vikings at No. 7. But, before fans start pre-ordering jerseys, understand that the only way Johnson ends up with the Vikings is if the team trades up in the first round to make sure it gets him.

Let the dreams of Calvin Johnson – barring a trade up – die today. It's not going to happen.

The early mock draft cottage industry is starting to blossom and one name that is being linked to the Vikings is that of Johnson. If it works out that the marriage between the two actually happens, it would be a gift from above. The reality is that, even with a couple of teams with no interest in taking a wide receiver in front of the Vikings, Johnson ending up with the Vikings is not going to happen.

At 6-5, 235 pounds, Johnson is an imposing presence at wide receiver. Some will contend that his 40 time isn't up to snuff as far as lottery draft picks go, but the Vikings have been scorched by going strictly on measurables (translation: Troy Williamson) and not solely on whether a player has the game to make a difference. Johnson has that and, once he's invited to individual workouts, his status will grow to the point that, if he makes it past the first two or three picks, some team will pony up the offer to move up to grab him.

What will be truly ironic will be the decision that the Lions make. With Matt Millen – a Vikings favorite for taking players off the board that the team had no interest in selecting – still calling in markers to retain his job while his underlings are fired ad nauseam, Johnson may be too big a talent for the thrice-bitten Lions to pass up. The same can be said for the Browns and Bucs – who need plenty of help at other spots, but may opt for the "best athlete available" mode on draft day.

The worst part for Vikings fans is that, unless the team is willing to trade down, wide receiver will become a moot point for at least one round, if not the first day of the draft. Dwayne Jarrett of USC is a solid NFL prospect, but not at the seventh overall pick. Ted Ginn Jr. of Ohio State could be a selection made that high by somebody because of his electrifying speed, but not the Vikings. They have a Ginn already under contract. Unfortunately, their version of Ginn takes deep passes off the facemask instead of pulling them in for long touchdowns. You don't double down on a pair of receivers with similar skill sets – especially after being burned once already.

The reality of the situation is this: While a case can be made that none of the six teams picking in front of the Vikings have a screaming need to add Johnson (they all have more pressing needs elsewhere), he will be gone before the seventh selection in the draft. Whether that is from one of the teams currently in front of the Vikings or a team that opts to move up, he will be gone.

Cancel that Johnson jersey order. It isn't going to happen. And, seeing that Jarrett and Ginn will be gone by the time the Vikings pick on the second round, fans may have to pray for the 2007 version of Marques Colston or a free agent signing or two to address the team's most glaring and obvious need.

Viking Update Top Stories