Let's get this out of the way: Calvin Johnson and Joe Thomas are not going to be drafted by the Vikings unless the Vikings' trade up. And the Vikings should not trade up--it would cost too many picks they need to fill other holes and because I'm just now getting over the Herschel Walker trade. With those two gone, we're left with six players that could be holding up a purple #1 jersey on Saturday, three on each side of the ball: JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Adrian Peterson, LaRon Landry, Jamaal Anderson and Gaines Adams.
Of course, as we've seen already, what a team does with the #7 pick is largely dependent on what the six teams ahead of them do. Of those six, as many as four players might be drafted before the Vikings go on the clock. And to be honest, there's only one player that I would be mad the Vikings missed out on: Gaines Adams. I wouldn't necessarily be unhappy if the Vikings ended up with one of the other five players, but I'm not going to complain if they aren't available when the Vikings' pick rolls around.
To begin with, I'm not entirely sold on JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn, nor am I sure the Vikings' need them. Russell has bust written all over him, due it's his poor decision making at LSU, he fact he wasn't the the Tigers #1 QB until his senior year or his tendency to throw mindbogglingly bad interceptions (Football Outsiders has a good article on why those three things are important). It doesn't help that the Raiders seem to like him (that's a warning sign).
Quinn seems more likely to be successful, but that doesn't mean I'm excited about the Vikings' getting him. To begin with, he gives off a very "Joey Harrington" vibe, possibly because of the name ending in "y", possibly because they seem to have similar looks on their faces. He has much better statistics in college, however, and spent a lot of time under a great coach in Charlie Weis. And yet, there's just something about him that dampens my enthusiasm.
Adrian Peterson was a player I was excited about the Vikings' getting to draft until the story broke that he had re injured his collar bone in the Fiesta Bowl and was still recovering. That puts him at four injuries in three seasons at Oklahoma. At some point, freak injuries stop being shocking and become commonplace (see Prior, Mark for a non football example). Peterson isn't necessarily at that point yet, but he's awfully close. And it might just be me, but it'd be cool to see the Vikings #1 pick play his rookie year.
Of the two defenders besides Adams, LaRon Landry is the pick I'd be happiest about. The guy is a stud--6'2, 205lbs with a 4.37 forty. And he's both a playmaker and a guy that destroys people. The thing is, he's a safety, a position where the Vikings' have a lot of good players. So if they draft him, they're set at the position for a while. If they don't, well, they're still set at the position for awhile.
Jamaal Anderson, on the other hand, seems to be the defensive end version of JaMarcus Russell. Everything you would want physically, but without a lot of experience or grasp of the subtitles of the position. One good year is not a guarantee of future performance.
Gaines Adams, on the other hand, looks like a player that can step in and solve one of the Viking's problems. He needs to bulk up, but he makes up for his size with speed (4.64 forty) and great technique. His list of moves is long, and he showed them off his junior and senior years. He is the best pass rusher in the draft, something the Vikings desperately need. He is this year's Javon Kearse, which is exactly what the Vikings need. Which is why I fully expect him to be drafted in the first six picks, leaving the Purple to have to settle for a player they don't need or don't want. And if you were wondering, this is why I've been concentrating on possible second round picks.
[Second round preview to come later this afternoon. I promise.]