When I woke up Thursday morning, I knew it was going to be a beautiful Minnesota morning. Dark, raining and hovering around 40 degrees, you could just feel the optimism of spring in the air. Heck, the only thing that could be better was a threat of snow in the forecast. There was nothing that was going to make me feel like it wasn’t going to be a great day.
Of course, the catalyst for this was the NFL Draft. The Minnesota Vikings were ready to make their first-round selection with the 18th overall pick and the general consensus was that they would finally address their offensive line. Seriously, Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook were probably going to die if they didn’t, so it was probably a good place to start in this year’s draft class.
Regardless, there was still that sinking feeling in the air. The same one you get when you think about how much better Michael Thomas is than Laquon Treadwell. As no cornerbacks came off the board prior to the 18th pick, I could just see the scene at TCO Performance Center.
Rick Spielman: Well, it looks like we’re going to take a lineman! Let’s call the pick in!
[DOOR EXPLODES OPEN! Mike Zimmer is dragging a weary Bud Grant on the floor and drops him at Spielman’s feet]
Zimmer: I’m in control here. Not you. Now give me what I want! Take Greedy Williams!!
Spielman: Are you serious? You’re going to beat up a 91-year-old man just to take a corner?
Zimmer: GIVE ME WHAT I WANT!!!!
Spielman: IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT???
Zimmer: GIVE IT TO ME!!!
After what we can assume to be a bitter power struggle in the Vikings war room, common sense won out as they took North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury. On the surface, selecting an offensive lineman isn’t a sexy pick, but it was a god damn necessity after the cluster that went down last season.
Out of most of the prospects in the draft, Bradbury was one of the few that was declared ready to start in Day 1. This is good considering that the Vikings are in complete desperation mode just to get to the Super Bowl (I’d say win, but you know how these things work. Baby steps though.)
It’s also good since it moves Pat Elflein out of the center position and back to guard where he was a two-time All-American at Ohio State. It’s quite the concept. Put offensive linemen in positions they’re good at. Even though it’s easy to get Elflein to a 99 overall in Madden by moving him along the offensive line doesn’t mean it will work. That theory could have also been applied to Mike Remmers the past two seasons.
Although the Vikings still have plenty of work to do prior to calling the 2019 draft a wrap, their first-round pick has to be considered a success. Especially when our neighbors to the east drafted a guy who needs shoulder surgery, scored a 9 on the Wonderlic (which basically means he thinks 2+2 = Thomas Jefferson) and looks like Eddie Lacy (which can be a slight on either player) and then traded up to a guy who draftniks drew out of a hat to be the “hot riser” of the first round.
I’ll hold judgement on how the rest of the Vikings’ draft goes throughout the weekend, but for now, it’s a great step forward.