VU Daily Blog: 4/26/10

A look at the 2011 draft already, a trade rumor that proved false, Peter King's comments on the Vikings' picks and more from Toby Gerhart. See all the Vikings news and speculation as it progresses through the VU Daily Blog.

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Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 4:52:00 PM

Back to the quarterback of the future?

There is a contingent of Vikings fans upset that the team didn't come away with a quarterback of the future in the early rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft.

For those into long-term projections, draft analyst Chris Steuber is already releasing his 2011 big board, and three of the top 32 players listed are quarterbacks. Of course, we all know how the rankings and perceptions on players can change from one year to the next – especially in college.

But for those who can't get enough of the draft in general or those who have had enough of the 2010 draft and are ready to move on to next year's prospects, here is Steuber's take.


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Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 2:51:00 PM

Agent shoots down Birk trade rumor

If the rumor that former Vikings center Matt Birk, now with the Baltimore Ravens, has been traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers is true – it seems to be debunked now – it is news to both Birk and his agent.

Asked about the rumor, agent Joe Linta texted Viking Update: "They didn't say anything to him or me."

Clarifying to ask if we can then say the rumor is not true, Linta texted back: "Yes."

At the outset, the rumor that was started by a tweet from an on-air personality from 1500 ESPN didn't seem to make much sense. First, trading established players within the same division isn't commonplace, although not unprecedented. Second, the Steelers also spent a first-round draft pick on University of Florida center Maurkice Pouncey.


Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 12:50:00 PM

King comments on Vikings picks

Sports Illustrated's Peter King had some interesting comments about a couple of Vikings draft picks/non-picks in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.

"Leslie Frazier's going to have his work cut out for him. Minnesota chose USC defensive end Everson Griffen – a supposed top prospect bypassed by his college coach, Pete Carroll, three times – with the second pick of the fourth round," King wrote. "He has some issues with desire, and he's probably not going to be a good edge rusher. Good value at pick number 100."

The Vikings appear to know they have some work ahead of them motivating Griffen, but they believe they have the coaches and teammates to have a shot at getting that done.

"The consistency level has to improve somewhat in his play," said Scott Studwell, Vikings director of college scouting. "There were games where he was a first-round pick and games when he would disappear. He's got great value where we took him and I think he will blossom as a pro. He's got great tutelage with Karl Dunbar (defensive line coach) and our defensive line coaches. Being surrounded by the defensive linemen that we already have on our roster will make him a better player as well."

King had another interesting comment for those following the Vikings' draft. The Star Tribune reported that the Vikings believed they could get Florida State cornerback Patrick Robison with the 34th overall pick after trading out of the first round. Instead, New Orleans picks him with the last selection in the first round, a choice that didn't impress King.

"Cornerback Patrick Robinson seemed like a reach at 32, but the Saints had a big corner need," King wrote.


Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:17:00 AM

All about Toby

It shouldn't come as any surprise that the top offensive skill-position player is generating the most talk in the days after the Vikings' 2010 NFL draft.

Stanford running back Toby Gerhart is a talker for several reasons. First, the Vikings passed on the opportunity to draft Jahvid Best with their first-round pick and traded it to NFC North rival Detroit, which selected Best.

"He's a very good football player. He's a scat back, has very good speed," Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said of Best after the Lions selected him. "We are going to have to play against him and I understand that too. I also know that we have a pretty good football team as well."

The Vikings have been a top-two rushing defense each of the last four years, finishing second last year.

On Monday, Spielman appeared on KFAN radio and reiterated that Gerhart is more of an inside zone runner and fits better what the Vikings were looking for in a running back to replace Chester Taylor. He said Albert Young can be more of the scat back and indicated that Percy Harvin could get some more carries in the backfield in his second NFL season.

Gerhart was also on the radio recently, joining Tony Bruno on Fox Sports Radio Friday after being selected 51st by the Vikings when they traded up to obtains Houston's pick in that slot.

"It's kind of funny because we were sitting there, we knew there was a chance Houston could take me, so we were kind of sitting there waiting for a phone call," Gerhart said, referring to his agent. "And my phone starts ringing and everybody's like Houston's calling, they're calling! And I answered and it's Rick Spielman from the Vikings. And he was like ‘Hello, it's Rick Spielman from the Vikings.' And he was like, ‘Are you tired of waiting to get drafted?' And I was like ‘Yeah.' And he said, ‘Well, we're going to take you, we just traded up with Houston.' And sure enough it comes up across the TV that they traded picks and they took me. It was just an unbelievable moment and a dream come true for me."

Gerhart said the idea that he's a white running back has received too much attention.

"I'm a running back, it's the position I play. The whole race thing is not an issue, and hopefully I just continue to get seen as a running back, and keep playing as a running back and do great things for the Minnesota Vikings," he said.

That task might be easier if Brett Favre is his quarterback, and Gerhart would like nothing more.

"If he calls me, I'll definitely get on him to get out there," Gerhart said. "He was my childhood idol, and never in my wildest dreams would I think I would take a handoff or catch a pass from him. So I hope he comes back, he's a huge part of the team, and he comes back and helps us win a Super Bowl this year."


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Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 8:17:00 PM

Jared Allen's busy week

The Vikings are hoping Jared Allen's impact with the organization's biggest challenge has better results than his assist with another fight.

On Saturday night, Allen was in the corner of his friend and mixed martial arts training partner Alex Karalexis as he took on Anthony Pettis in a World Extreme Cagefighting bout in Sacremento, Calif. Karalexis submitted while in a triangle choke in the second round.

Just two days before that, Allen was in the Twin Cities meeting with legislators and trying to help convince them on the need for a new Vikings stadium. The organization is optimistic that a financing bill will come up for a vote in the coming weeks before the session ends.

Several financing and stadium design options are being considered. On the finance end, user and hospitality fees seem the most likely in conjunction with the Vikings paying about one-third of the price on an open-air stadium. On the design end, a fixed roof is now being considered because of the savings over a retractable roof, but there is some consideration for making the upper walls on one end retractable to show the skyline. That option is purely a function of economics, as retractable walls are less expensive than a retractable roof. The Vikings are would be open to an open-air stadium but understand the state's desire for some form of a cover on the building to make it feasible for year-round use.


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