Sitting pretty with the 34th pick, it appeared the Minnesota Vikings had just pulled off a masterstroke. They traded out of the first round at no. 30 and passed up a chance at Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, but did so knowing that none of the teams at nos. 31 (Colts), 32 (Saints), and 33 (Rams) needed a quarterback. After none of those teams traded their pick, it looked like the Vikings had lucked into a potential quarterback of the future in the 2nd round.
And then they selected... Chris Cook? Maybe Minnesota's adopting the "Win now" philosophy, and that's fine. But it's not like their window's closing anytime soon. The Vikings have pieces on both offense and defense that'll keep them in the league's highest tier for at least the next few years. One piece they don't have? Quarterback.
After Brett Favre retires, who takes over? Tarvaris Jackson, again? Maybe on the fifth try, he won't look quite as disastrous under center. Sage Rosenfels? An aging veteran?
To get a good quarterback, you have to make it a priority. Minnesota's shown over and over again, it's not a priority. Here's what I wrote when they were considering signing Favre last year:
The Minnesota Vikings created this mess by being incredibly sh--ty, and equally lazy, about getting a capable starting quarterback to pair with Adrian Peterson. Drafting Tarvaris Jackson was a nice idea, and having Gus Frerotte as a backup was a solid solution, too. But Jackson’s been in the league for like 4 years now! I think we can definitively conclude that yes, he sucks. And Gus Frerotte, for all his abilities as a warm bodied third stringer, is alternately retarded and meek when you start talking about him as a starter on a winning team. If there’s anyone who can possibly be concussed in a figurative sense, it’s him.
Make no mistake; they lucked out in siging Favre last year. They had no other options, and he was 50-50 about coming back to football. If he'd gone the other way and remained retired, are we sure Minnesota even makes the playoffs without him? Favre was a quick fix, but their approach to team-building is still flawed, and there's still no long-term solution to their vacancy at quarterback. Clausen could have been the solution for them. We went over this earlier.
If the Rams can roll the dice with Sam Bradford's gimpy shoulder at number one, some team should be willing to go after Clausen, a guy with all the talent you'd ever want in a quarterback, no red flags and plenty of room for growth. Put Clausen at Oklahoma and Bradford at Notre Dame the past few years, and there's a good chance this whole conversation's reversed. Instead, Clausen had to run a pro offense with college players, a bad college line and the constant pressure of unrealistic expectations.
Basically, surround Clausen with the right people, and there's no reason he won't succed.
And Minnestoa IS that great situation. Behind a dominant offensive line, with an explosive running game, and having a year to study under Brett Favre... I mean, if Jimmy Clausen's even a little bit talented, he'd be above average there. Instead... Chris Clark. And Jimmy Clausen's inexplicable freefall continues.