Lurtsema's Reaction: Draft reaction edition

Bob Lurtsema wanted the Vikings to get a quarterback going into the draft, so what does the former Viking think about their decision to bypass them all? And what about the players they did draft? Lurtsema gives his opinion on a variety of players and factors surrounding the Vikings' 2010 draft.

VU: Before the draft, you talked about your desire to have the Vikings pick a quarterback early. Are you disappointed with them not picking Jimmy Clausen with their first pick?

BL: I came in thinking it and I'm going out thinking it. I truly am disappointed in the quarterback aspect only. I like the players they have. I love the Toby Gerhart pick, but when they made the trade at No. 30 and had Detroit move up and they moved down to the second pick in the second round and they had three teams to pick before them, I thought they were going to get a quarterback. New Orleans didn't need a quarterback, the Colts didn't need a quarterback and Sam Bradford went to St. Louis, so I figured they were going to get a quarterback and good for them. You can put any spin on it you want, but they had the chance to take the second-best quarterback in the NCAA because Bradford and Tim Tebow were the only quarterbacks taken before their pick.

They can say there is a bad crop for quarterbacks – and it could be – but they're looking at Ryan Perrilloux during their rookie tryout. When you have the opportunity to draft a quarterback that high, I think one year under Brett Favre would be unbelievable. I think Brett Favre is coming back – I'm sure of it. He's going to come back, and the only thing that would keep him away is that ankle. If you give a draft pick one year under Brett, it would be great. I'm being boneheaded about it, but I want people to understand that in my first year when I was with the Baltimore Colts and Gino Marchetti, who revolutionized football for pass rushing, worked with me and taught me how to pass rush. Maybe I should have listened more – we could always argue that. But I've lived that scenario and I think when an individual has lived a scenario there is a little more substance to what he says. What I'm saying is that one year under Brett Favre would be an immense, unbelievable education for this person.

When you draft a quarterback, look for the one that's like Brett Favre or Drew Brees with how quickly they comprehend. How quickly can they comprehend a defensive scheme and movement? That's what those two have and it's a God-given talent. When you go out and find someone, look if he had a bad offensive line if his stats were lousy or if he had no backfield and no running game. You can look at all these things to justify why he wasn't rated that high, but if has what Drew Bress, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning have, as far as being able locate every player on the field so quickly, he'll succeed. Whether that's the Wonderlic test that brings it out or not, I don't know.

Yeah, I'm disappointed they didn't take a quarterback. I'm happy with the draft and the job they did. I'm not bad-mouthing anybody. The big thing, they had a chance to pick one of the best quarterbacks in the NCAA … and I'm not talking about any specific option there.

VU: The Broncos sure fell in love with Tim Tebow, that's for sure.

BL: But you watch Denver and you watch Eric Decker, wow. I had season tickets to the Gophers and how he got open when he was healthy was beyond me. Defenses would double- and triple-team him and he would find the open spot. He's going to be a very, very big surprise in the National Football League.

VU: As far as the guys they did pick early, Chris Cook and Toby Gerhart, do you feel like those were picks made for need, or do you believe that they saw good fits for their scheme?

BL: I thought both of those were need fills. With Cook, he could have been one of the best athletes out there at that position at the time, but that's a need factor. You have no idea with Cedric Griffin trying to come back from that type of injury – the sad part is that happened in overtime, which never should have occurred. That makes it worse. They went for need there.

As far as running back Toby Gerhart goes, I like it. But I just hope they work him together with Adrian Peterson and use them together more in the same formations. With his style of running, I like it. I'm an Ian Johnson fan, too. I thought he ran hard every play and gave second effort. I like Johnson on the Vikings, too. I don't think Gerhart is coming in here and can say he's taking over. He's got some competition with Albert Young and Johnson.

VU: Do you favor trying to get Percy Harvin four or five carries out of the backfield each game?

BL: Absolutely get him some carries. If you work with the split backs, even with Percy coming there, that's going to slow down your defensive linemen. If you put him in there and get him outside, that's going to open up the middle. They are going to have some options there with both of those backs – Gerhart and Percy. With those two in the backfield or Adrian and Percy, you're really bringing a lot of things to the table and the defensive coordinator has to make a lot of adjustments.

VU: Have you seen much on Everson Griffen, the defensive end they took in the fourth round?

BL: No, I can't give you much of an opinion there. But I'll tell you one thing: Ray Edwards had a breakout season last year. They're talking like he's a run-stuffer, but he had text-book pass rushes last year and he got better and better every game. Don't be giving up on that kid. Get him signed. He's got his A game coming all the time now.

VU: With Griffen, I think they felt like he was good value since he dropped down to the fourth round.

BL: It's almost like it's a risky draft towards the end. They brought two ball players in there for position switches – Joe Webb is the quarterback that they want to play at receiver. The Vikings have a great staff of assistant coaches. Brad Childress is putting the trust in them. The position switch is the same thing happening with the linebacker that is going to fullback (Ryan D'Imperio). That's putting everything into the coach's hands.

When I switched from Michigan Tech to Western Michigan, I went to Michigan Tech on the defensive line but I always wanted to play tight end. I wouldn't play for Western unless I could play tight end. That adjustment – I made it, but it's not as easy as you think and that's at the college level. At the pro level, which is so much bigger, I've lived that change.


Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins VikingUpdate.com for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

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