It took a lot of picks, and it took a lot of money. And I think it's worth it--the Vikings just gained an All-Star pass rushing defensive end.
I am ecstatic. Defensive end is a terribly difficult position to fill, and the Vikings have failed many, many times to try and get a great one in the draft. Draft picks are great, but they can always suck. We know about Jared Allen. He's 26 years old, and in his four seasons, he's had 9, 11, 7.5, and 15.5 sacks. That's 43 sacks in 61 career games. Dr. Z, who picks his All-Pro team by watching and charting a lot of game film, had Allen on his 2006 and 2007 All-Pro teams.
The Vikings have Pat Williams and Kevin Williams to dominate the interior defensive line. They now have a dominant, consistent, and young pass rusher to pressure the quarterback on the edges (whether or not he records sacks is less important than whether he will hurry the quarterback--sack numbers can fluctuate, but a good pass rush can force a quarterback into a lot of bad throws and incompletions). What NFL team will have a better defensive line than the Minnesota Vikings in 2008? Ryan Longwell could play the opposite defensive end position and this unit would still be dominant.
PAT WILLIAMS. KEVIN WILLIAMS. JARED ALLEN. Just think about that for a little while.
Jared Allen has had legal trouble and a suspension in the past. Though that's a concern, I believe every human being has a chance for redemption; I don't believe past sins mark a person forever, but that a person can change for the better. Daily Norseman found a story that suggests Allen has faced his own errors, and has changed. Jared Allen has been punished for his past actions, and he should now be able to move on and live life better.
If anybody would like to complain about giving up draft picks, I encourage you to look at Grant's Tomb for a list of players the Vikings have drafted since 2000. The draft is hit or miss: you can score big (Kevin Williams, E.J. Henderson, Adrian Peterson), but you can also come away with no meaningful contributors (see 2000, 2001, and 2005). Draft picks in and of themselves are worthless; draft picks are only meaningful because they can be turned into starting players. The Vikings turned those three draft picks into a 26 year old who had 15.5 sacks in 14 games last season. They turned their draft picks into a very good football player, and that's what draft picks are for.
I've got no concerns for the Viking defense next season. That doesn't mean the NFC North is going to be handed to the Purple (there's the little issue of quality quarterback play), but the Vikings could have a smothering, dominant defense.