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Saturday, April 23, 2005

NFL Draft 2005

The Vikings arguably have had the best off-season of any team with the additions of LB Sam Cowart, LB Napolean Harris, S Darren Sharper, CB Fred Smoot, WR Travis Taylor, and DT Pat Williams. They still need to better fill the hole left by the Randy Moss trade, as well as create a real pass-rushing threat. Because of this, the conventional wisdom has the Vikes drafting a wide receiver with their #7 pick overall and going for defense with their #18 pick.

There is the outside chance of taking a running back with their first choice, however, because the oft-injured Michael Bennett is in the final year of his contract, as is Moe Williams. Throw in Onterrio Smith's ongoing drug battle, and suddenly the RB-deep Vikings could be down to Mewelde Moore as the feature back a year from now.

The other story line that is getting a lot of play in the Twin Cities is the possibility of trading down their #7 pick with the idea of picking up another second round selection so they can take Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent. The Vikings have not had a competent all-around kicking game since 2001 and no deep field goal threat since Fuad Reveiz left after 1995. If they go this way, look for them to swap picks with San Diego or Houston at #'s 12 and 13, respectively. Other possibilities are Dallas' second first round pick at #20, or Washington's second first round pick at #25.

Update:
The Vikings stuck to the Conventional Wisdom. Their draft page summary for their first two picks follows.

TROY WILLIAMSON, Round 1 - 7th Overall
A gifted receiver who possesses outstanding speed, Troy developed into the Gamecocks' bigplay artist as a junior. A proven deep threat, he also proved capable of carrying the ball out of the backfield in addition to excelling on special teams as a kickoff returner and gunner on the coverage units.

ERASMUS JAMES, Round 1 - 18th Overall
Regarded as one of the premier pass rushers in college football, Erasmus is not a player that took your everyday path to college football notoriety. Born on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts (his father is press secretary to the prime minister), James moved to The Bronx, New York, and grew up there as a child. He then moved to Florida as a high school freshman, where he was a standout basketball player as a prep, but was convinced to try football in his senior year.

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