Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Do the Vikings need to draft a RB?

There's some debate regarding the Vikings' potential need of a running back which they could address through the draft.

Some people say the Vikings need to draft a star-quality running back, and that after years of messing around with Running Back By Committee, the team needs to get a young workhorse.

Others say that RB is actually one of the Vikings' deeper positions, and that there are more prominent team needs than this position.

Let's take a look at the meaningful RBs currently on the roster (I know that other RBs may be on the roster, but these are really the only ones I expect to be capably of a real contribution from in 2006).

Chester Taylor
As a backup in Baltimore, he played well. He had good yards per carry, and showed the ability to be part of a passing game. The Vikes wouldn't have signed him as a FA if they didn't expect good things from him. I figure at worst, he'll be an average running back. I don't know what his ceiling is.

Tony Richardson
On KFAN yesterday, Richardson talked about considering himself a 6th offensive lineman. I don't think we should expect a lot of carries from him.

Mewelde Moore
Moore has shown flashes of brilliance. But there's a reason he's only shown flashes; he has a tendency to get minor injuries, and to allow these minor injuries to sideline him for extended periods of time (either that, or Mike Tice didn't like him). You should be able to count on him to give a solid contribution at the position, but you cannot count on him to give you 20+ touches with any regularity, and I doubt you should expect 16 games.

Onterrio Smith
At this point, I think you have to consider Onterrio a Zero-Plus. You shouldn't count on him for anything, and anything he gives you will be a plus. Having him back means good depth, but I don't know if he'll ever be an every-down back.

Ciatrick Fason
In my humble opinion, Fason sucks.

So, in my estimation, whether you think the Vikes should draft a RB or not depends entirely on your opinion of Chester Taylor. If you think he can be a good to very good running back if given the opportunity to be a feature back, then the Vikes don't need a RB. If you think that he is merely average, and that the Vikings still need a workhorse feature back, then they should draft a RB.

I have no strong feeling right now. Chester Taylor might end up being a very good back, and Moore provides some definite depth and talent to strengthen the position. But I don' know that Taylor can be a star RB, so if the Vikings brass thinks they could do better, I'd support them doing something about it in the draft.


  1. If the Vikings come to their pick and either DeAngelo Williams or LenDale White are there I would love for them to take one of them. I rate Williams higher because of his speed and he has good bulk.

  2. The Vikes don't need another running back because of their other acquisitions. Richardson is a hammer of a fullback and Hutchinson and Birk instantly improve the run game.

    And Fason sucks.

  3. Let me say I might be wrong, but IMHO Chester Taylor is no every down back. That being the case I dont feel the combo of him, Moore, and The Whizz make the Vikings a team that doesn't need a running back.

    DeAngelo Williams is a "franchise" type back and if he could be taken at 17, I would equate it to the Seahawks drafting of Shaun Alexander in 2000 (although I think he was drafted in the 20's somewhere).

  4. The problem with drafting a RB is the same problem with drafting any other position--you just never know. In 1990, Emmitt Smith was the #17 pick...but Blair Thomas was #2, and Darrell Thompson, Rodney Hampton, and Dexter Carter also went in the first round (http://www.drafthistory.com/years/1990.html).

    I don't know that DeAngelo or LenDale can be a feature back any more than I know that Chester Taylor can be. But if the Vikes have already cast their lot with Taylor, should they use a first-rounder on another one, ignoring other team needs?

    I'd be excited about the possibility of a feature back, but I'm also willing to wait and see what Taylor can do. He wouldn't be the first backup on one team to star for another team (Priest Holmes even backed up Jamal Lewis in Baltimore).

    I also think, going into the draft, that all the old rules for the Vikings are thrown out the window. I've followed Viking drafts since '93, and I don't recall them ever trading up in the draft to get a big name player. But this is a new regime, and Childress has groomed an early pick QB before. I won't be surprised to see a major trade into the top 3.

  5. Personally, I love DeAngelo Williams and would love to see him in purple and gold. I think Chester and MeMo are solid backs, but I think DeAngelo can be the everydown back we haven't really had since Robert Smith (albeit the two are very different players)

    That said, my thoughts are that they'll go defense with the pick or trade up, making this discussion moot.

  6. I agree with your feeling on 1st round picks all together. However, do remember that Priest Holmes was the feature back before the Ravens decided to draft Lewis in 2000. That is what made him the backup and Lewis' emergence made Holmes expendable.

    All this being said, my feeling is the Vikings should pick the best player available, except not drafting these positions (DL, CB (just because I feel with all that money we have invested in Winfield and Smoot it would just be a misuse of the pick, or WR).

  7. How can you see the Vikings making a move into the top 3? Even if the Vikings were making a Herschel Walker kind of deal, no team is going to want to move from #1-3 to #17.