Was Safety the Fans' Choice?

The Vikings liked the safety they chose in the second round so much that they traded up to get him, but many Vikings fans seemed to believe the pick should have been made for a quarterback.

The Vikings gave away their 17th pick in the 2008 draft for defensive end Jared Allen, turning the first day of draft weekend into a one-man show, as the Vikings made safety Tyrell Johnson their only Day One pick.

Johnson, a safety from little-known Arkansas State, was a surprise pick to many Vikings fans – whose hearts raced briefly when the Vikings traded up four picks past division rivals Chicago and Detroit and thoughts of Brian Brohm danced in their heads.

The Vikings war room, however, led by the trio of Brad Childress, Rick Spielman and Scott Studwell, had their sights set on Johnson. In fact, getting him took away the sting of not having the 17th pick in the draft.

"Ironically, as we went through Rick's grading system, he was the 17th player on our board," Childress said. "Zygi (Wilf) pointed that out."

Fans, however, had something of a different take on the situation. On a Sunday morning call-in show on KFAN (the Vikings' flagship radio station), a large percentage of calls concerning the Vikings' draft plan expressed worry or dissatisfaction with Tarvaris Jackson as the quarterback of the future, much less the present.

While the Vikings as an organization are confident that Jackson can lead them to the playoffs, the fans, it would seem, are far more skeptical. The Vikings used their lone pick Saturday on a player they had rated as a mid-first round prospect, but there will be a lot of people who will continue to question not taking Brohm. The fact he ended up with the Packers will only keep that decision in sharper focus in coming years.


  • It wasn't a great day for wide receivers in the early hours of the draft. With a slew of talented wide receivers in the draft, but none that were viewed as can't-miss prospects, they became of victims of their own depth. Before the draft, Viking Update theorized that nine wide receivers would go in the first two rounds. Because of those numbers, it was thought that some teams might put off taking a wide receiver in the first round. As it turned out, everyone did. Nine wideouts did go in the first two rounds, but all nine were second-rounders – and didn't include highly-rated pre-draft receivers like Mario Manningham and Early Doucet.

  • Perhaps one of the reasons wide receivers didn't go early was that six WRs went on the first round last year with mixed success at best – Calvin Johnson (No. 2), Ted Ginn Jr. (No. 9), Dwayne Bowe (No. 23), Robert Meacham (No. 27), Craig Davis (No. 30) and Anthony Gonzalez (No. 32). Those teams out of the mix and others seeing what little bang for the buck many those teams got for premium picks could have combined to make a perfect storm of draft-day free-falling for the Class of 2008 receivers.

  • While Saturday was a rough day for wide receivers, a lot of offensive tackles are in line for big paydays to help with their food bills. Eight offensive tackles went on the first round, with six of the them coming off between picks 12 and 21.

  • Before making the deal to get Allen, the Vikings were linked to defensive end Derrick Harvey. Allen, who has the second-most sacks in the NFL during his four years, cost the Vikings a first-round and two third-round picks. Harvey, who has never played a down in the NFL, was picked by Jacksonville after the Jaguars traded the 28th pick in the first round, two-third round picks and a fourth-round pick to get into the No. 8 spot that Baltimore held to take him. Which end of that choice would you rather have – what the Vikings gave up for a proven commodity or what Jacksonville gave up for a rookie with good upside?

  • The top defensive linemen in the Class of 2008 got picked clean in a hurry Saturday. Five of the first eight picks were defensive linemen – DEs Chris Long, Vernon Gholston and Harvey, and DTs Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis.

  • The Bengals were said to be targeting Ellis, but had no chance of getting him without moving. The Saints landed Ellis at No. 7 with a trade with New England. But with QB Matt Ryan off the board, it was almost certain that the Ravens were going to trade down and, considering that they wouldn't likely make a trade to help an in-division rival get a player they coveted, it seemed as though Cincinnati was destined for failure from the outset at No. 9.

  • After the first six picks were made by the teams assigned to them, there were 12 trades in the first round and, of the final 25 picks in the round, only 11 of them were made by the teams assigned the spot initially. Of the 32 picks in the second round, 21 of them went to the teams designated them by the league at the end of the season.

  • This year was the first time since 1992 that the Vikings haven't had a first-round pick. That year was the last of the season in which the Vikings had to pay Dallas in the Herschel Walker trade.

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