Thursday, February 16, 2012
Evaluating Luck and Griffin -- just in case
By Kevin Seifert
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- There aren't many people around the NFL -- coaches, executives or even media analysts -- who think the Minnesota Vikings will select a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick of the April draft. But to cover his bases, if nothing else, general manager Rick Spielman said Thursday that the Vikings will "be doing the full monty" on Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III during next week's scouting combine, along with predraft workouts and pro days.
It's exceedingly rare for NFL teams to use first-round draft picks on a quarterback in consecutive drafts, and the Vikings selected Christian Ponder last season with the No. 12 overall pick. The most recent example in 1989, when the Dallas Cowboys used the No. 1 overall pick on Troy Aikman and then committed another first-round pick to Steve Walsh in the supplemental draft.
Although quarterback is the most important position in the game, the Vikings have greater needs elsewhere. Luck is widely expected to be drafted No. 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts, and presumably, the only way Griffin could work his way into their picture is if Spielman and his scouting staff are blown away by his predraft work.
To that end, Spielman said the Vikings are "very confident in what Christian Ponder brings" but added: "If one of those quarterbacks is too good to pass up, you have to weigh that too. … . You never know what happens on draft day, and I would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared."
It wouldn't be surprising, however, if the Vikings sign a veteran quarterback to back up Ponder when the free-agent market opens.
"We have some veterans that we have our eye on that can come in and play that mentor role but could also come in and play if they had to play as well," Spielman said. One option for that role is Sage Rosenfels, whom Spielman signed late last season and is a pending free agent.