Booty a Glove Fit?

Quarterback John David Booty's familiarity with the Vikings' West Coast offense should make him an ideal developmental quarterback for Minnesota.

John David Booty didn't seem bothered by the fact that he lasted until early in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

Booty, the starting quarterback at Southern Cal the past two seasons, had heard he might go as high as the second round and certainly that would have meant a bigger payday. But it also was important to him that he land with a team where he thought he had a chance to succeed, and Minnesota was near the top of that list.

"I had just really been told (I might go in the) second or third (round) and they had said Chicago or Tampa, teams like that," Booty said. "When they were getting up they were making trades and getting other picks and I just continued to fall. I actually fell right to where I wanted to be."

Booty wasn't trying to pull a quick one on the Minnesota media, or the Vikings. In fact, the week before the draft he mentioned in a television interview that he would like to land with the Vikings.

His desire was based largely on the fact the Vikings run a version of the West Coast offense and Booty already is quite familiar with a system that is high on verbiage and precision.

That familiarity is one reason the Vikings made a trade with NFC North rival Green Bay to move up 13 spots in the fifth round so they could draft Booty. Coach Brad Childress had voiced his desire to get a developmental-type quarterback on his roster and Booty fits that description.

Booty will compete with Brooks Bollinger for the No. 3 spot in training camp and odds are the rookie will win the job.

"Obviously, Brooks has the experience in the system," Childress said. "(But) we wouldn't have taken the guy if we didn't feel like he had skills and ability. We'll watch and see how that plays itself out."

Even if Booty wins that job, he still will have Tarvaris Jackson and veteran Gus Frerotte in front of him. Jackson could be the Vikings' starter for the long term, at least that is what the club is hoping, but Booty seemed no more bothered by that than he was by where he was selected in the draft.

"All of us athletes know that any player in the NFL is a great player and I know Tarvaris is," Booty said. "I just want to come in there and I'm a big team guy. I just want to get in there and talk with him and learn as much as I can from him. He's got a year under his belt now and the other veteran guys as well. Just get in there and be a part of the team and just practice my butt off and compete and try to do the best I can."

  • There are many who feel the Vikings' acquisition of standout defensive end Jared Allen will prove to be a huge benefit for Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper.

    Follow the logic:

    Allen will provide the type of consistent pressure that the Vikings haven't been able to get in recent years — he had an NFL-leading 15.5 sacks last season with Kansas City — thus Sharper, who can sniff out a potential interception from a mile away, should be able to step in front of plenty of errant passes.

    While this might be true, Sharper should enjoy any success he has in purple in 2008. Why? The veteran will turn 33 in November, is entering the final season of his contract and might have seen his replacement selected in the second round of this year's NFL draft.

    Minnesota traded up in that round in order to take Arkansas State safety Tyrell Johnson. Johnson opened eyes at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis — he had a time of 4.44 in the 40-yard dash — and also more than held his own in games against big-time programs such as Tennessee and Texas.

    "When you compare him, we thought he had unique ball skills which is something that's very important, especially at the safety position," said Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel. "He has an excellent closing burst, anticipates well, does a nice job when they do send him on blitzes. He can play either off or up in the box, so he brings you a complete safety where it gives you some flexibility on the back end to roll your safety up."

    The Vikings' long-term plan is to pair Johnson with veteran Madieu Williams, whom the franchise made one of the highest-paid free agents in the NFL in March when it signed him as a free agent. Williams, a member of the Cincinnati Bengals for his first four seasons, will turn 27 in October.

    Johnson, whose father is former NBA All-Star Alvin Robertson, certainly doesn't lack any confidence about his ability to have an immediate impact.

    "I think I can come in and contribute right away," he said. "Kind of like coming out of high school and going to college, I thought I could have played my first year but they redshirted me. I was ready and willing to play. It's the same thing coming into the NFL.

    "I am ready and willing. It all depends on what the coaching staff has for me and I'm just going to respect whatever they have for me and whatever they want me to do. I'm going to be there and I'm going to get it done."


  • Any chance free-agent defensive end Darrion Scott had of returning to the Vikings almost certainly disappeared this week when he was arrested at his Eden Prairie home for "probable cause felony assault." Scott has had visits with New England and Washington but might have trouble finding a job after his latest legal incident. Last December he was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession and ticketed for failure to signal after being pulled over by officers in Charleston, W.Va.

  • The Vikings will hold a rookie camp this weekend at their Winter Park complex. The team's five draft picks, as well as 16 undrafted free agents and several undrafted players who will be given tryouts, are expected to attend.

  • The biggest surprise of the Vikings' draft was they did not take an offensive tackle. That was one of the deepest spots and the Vikings could have used depth in that area. Coach Brad Childress said, "I'm OK with it," when asked about the team's current tackle situation. "We have (second-year reserve) Chase Johnson, who I believe will be a year better," Childress said. "You have (veteran reserve) Artis Hicks who has that swing capability there and (veteran reserve) Marcus Johnson, so none of that has changed. Nobody has left us in that regard there."

    Starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie could be facing disciplinary action from the NFL after being arrested in February following a brawl in Miami, Fla.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think you are ever satisfied. You never have the perfect 53 and you are always looking to upgrade. We'll continue to do that because I think the first time you say, ‘Man, we've arrived,' that's when you make your mistake. Now you keep pushing through and right after this draft a couple of weeks from now we'll be getting started on next year's draft and we'll see what happens during the summer on who gets cut or if there are any potential trades out there that could help us. That's our job is to try to get Coach Childress the best players to help us win and we'll continue to do that." — Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman on assessing the team's roster and the fact it appears considerably stronger than this point last year.

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