There is no question the Vikings took a gamble by selecting Percy Harvin with their first-round pick, but the feeling was that the risk of the move was well worth the potential reward.
Harvin, who has been surrounded by injury and character issues, will give the Vikings the type of explosive wide receiver they have not had since Brad Childress took over as coach in 2006. Paired on the same field with receiver Bernard Berrian and running back Adrian Peterson, Harvin will be all the more dangerous.
And that doesn't even get into the fact Harvin is projected as a top-flight return man, something the Vikings sorely lacked last season.
In taking Harvin, the Vikings passed up a chance to select Mississippi offensive tackle Michael Oher, who had been projected to go much higher. The Vikings were in need of an upgrade at right tackle and Oher would have provided it.
However, the Vikings were extremely pleased when they were able to scoop up Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt with the 54th pick in the second round. Loadholt will be given every chance to win the job at right tackle and the fact he was available capped a successful first day.
"I don't think we could have asked for a better scenario," said Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel.
There were some who believed the Vikings might use a first-day pick on a cornerback but that did not happen until early on the second day. The Vikings selected Georgia's Asher Allen, who figures to compete for a job in the nickel and could at some point be a candidate for a starting role.
The Vikings then traded up in the fifth round with Washington — swapping fifth-rounders with the Redskins and also giving up a seventh-round pick — so they could take middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley out of South Carolina.
While the Vikings, like all teams, have said they always will take the best available player, for a team that was 10-6 last season and has a limited window of opportunity, they also seemed to make some immediate upgrades.
With Brad Childress heading into the fourth year of a five-year contract that probably wasn't a bad idea. If Harvin can live up to expectations, Childress' offense could be one of the NFL's most dangerous.
BEST PICK: It's certainly a risky pick, but Harvin adds a dynamic to a Vikings offense that has enough potential to make it one of the most dangerous in the NFL. That's especially true if either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels can put together a good season at quarterback. In addition to being a very dangerous catch-and-run receiver out of the slot, Harvin also could line up in the "Wildcat" and will be used on returns. His presence means that it isn't going to be as easy for opposing defenses to put eight men in the box in order to try and stop Adrian Peterson.
COULD SURPRISE: Third-round pick Asher Allen figures to compete for a cornerback job in the nickel defense and long-term could be eyed as the replacement for veteran Antoine Winfield. Allen suffered a broken hand last season that limited his effectiveness but he continued to play and, while he's not overly quick, he does figure to fit in well in the Vikings' defensive scheme.
A closer look at the Vikings' picks:
Round 1/22 — Percy Harvin, WR, 5-11, 184, Florida
Despite character and injury issues that surrounded the ultra-talented Harvin, the Vikings were enamored with his talent. The Vikings also did extensive background work on Harvin, who reportedly tested positive for marijuana in February at the NFL Scouting Combine. Coach Brad Childress visited Harvin in Florida last week before signing off on the decision to make the pick.
Round 2/54 — Phil Loadholt, OT, 6-8, 332, Oklahoma
The Vikings had targeted Loadholt but weren't sure he would be around when they selected in the second round. When he was they grabbed him. A left tackle in college, Loadholt will move to the right side and compete for the starting job. There is an excellent chance he will beat out Ryan Cook and Artis Hicks and start as a rookie. Loadholt gave up only two sacks and one quarterback pressure on 438 pass plays in 2008.
Round 3/86 — Asher Allen, CB, 5-9, 194, Georgia
Allen doesn't have great speed (4.48 in the 40-yard dash) and playing with a broken hand for the second half of last season most likely hurt his stock. Allen fits the Vikings mold at corner as a zone-press, Cover-2 player and should be strong on the line of scrimmage. Likely will compete for a spot in the nickel defense.
Round 5/150 — Jasper Brinkley, LB, 6-1, 252, South Carolina
The Vikings thought enough of Brinkley that they swapped fifth-round picks with Washington and also gave the Redskins a seventh-rounder in order to move up. Brinkley projects to serve as the backup to E.J. Henderson at middle linebacker, a position where the Vikings were very thin least season when Henderson was lost early in the year because of a foot injury.
Round 7/231 — Jamarca Sanford, SS, 5-9, 214, Mississippi
Sanford, a hard hitter, will battle for a spot as a backup safety and member of the special teams but the reality is he probably will end up spending at least one season on the Vikings' practice squad.
Vikings draft summary
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