Early in the build-up to the 2010 NFL Draft, CB and backup RB were 2 positions squarely in focus for the Vikings. Starting CBs Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield are recovering from injuries and the Vikings saw RB Chester Taylor defect to the Chicago Bears.
As the draft drew nearer, backup RB became less of a perceived priority because of the Vikings comfort with Albert Young as a potential replacement for Taylor and also the news of Darius Reynaud switching from WR to RB. Also, the Vikings signed free agent CB Lito Sheppard just 1 day before Thursday’s 1st round, which caused many to shift CB down the priority list as well.
But all of that didn’t stop the Vikings from using their first 2 draft picks on players at those positions. With the 2nd pick in the 2nd round – obtained from the Detroit Lions via trade during the 1st round – the Vikings selected CB Chris Cook out of Virginia. Soon after, the Vikings used their original 2nd round choice and their 3rd round pick to move up into the middle of the 2nd round and tab RB Toby Gerhart as well.
During his post-draft press conference, Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman acknowledged that CB and RB were 2 areas of the roster he wanted to address during the draft
“I knew the corner was the one thing we definitely wanted to address even though we signed Lito Sheppard right before the draft,” Spielman told reporters. “Then Toby Gerhart, again, you have to look at your depth and if something were to ever happen to Adrian Peterson, knock on wood, where is your depth behind Adrian? You just have to make sure you have enough runners behind him in case something, I don’t want to talk about it, but just always make sure you have good depth behind him.”
The selection of Gerhart – a physical runner with a bruising running style – caught some off-guard because the perception is that he doesn’t possess the same traits as Taylor (receiving skills, shiftiness, etc.). But Spielman’s point remains – drafting Gerhart was as much about fortifying the depth behind Peterson as it was about replacing Taylor.
On top of all that, though, Spielman also mentioned that Gerhart, who was the runner-up in 2009 Heisman Trophy balloting, does have the skill set that can be used in important 3rd-down situations.
“Toby is, again, a very physical runner,” Spielman said. “I don’t think people realize the type of receiving skills that he does have out of the backfield and the type of blocking skills that he does show, especially in pass protection.”
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Chris Cook, Rick Spielman, Toby Gerhart
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