As I explained in the previous entry, Thursday was jam-packed with action and information gathering. Here are 4 quick takeaways that summarize what I learned after many interesting conversations – on air and off- with people in and around the NFL at the Combine.
1. The Pioneer Press’ Jeremy Fowler and La Canfora of NFL Network painted a picture of huge roster turnover for the Vikings, which means many of the team’s 16 unrestricted free agents might not be automatics to return.
2. One Viking who is not a UFA but whom some have speculated may not be asked back to the team is G Steve Hutchinson. But I must say that after talking to a couple of people, including one individual who will be a guest on tomorrow’s show, there’s no question that having Hutchinson on board for 2012 will be vital if the team uses an early 1st-round draft choice on LT Matt Kalil.
3. Regardless of how much room the Vikings have under the salary cap, don’t be surprised if there isn’t a big, blue-chip free agent signing at WR. Yes, the WR class appears deep in free agency this year, but La Canfora suggested that teams will use the franchise tag to retain their top free agents. He specifically mentioned Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson and Wes Welker as guys who could be retained via the franchise tag. That takes away a big part of the depth of that WR free agent class. There are still guys there to be had, including Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon, Steve Johnson and Robert Meachem, but the moral of the story is that there might not be as big of a bonanza on free agent WRs as many of us originally thought.
4. Everyone, and I mean everyone, we spoke with on and off the record seemed convinced that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will go 1-2 in the draft. At first that might disappoint Vikings fans because it drastically reduces – I say it actually all but eliminates – the team’s chances of trading back a few spots in the 1st round to acquire additional picks. But after more consideration, I’m hoping it goes Luck-Griffin III in some order, because that sets up the Vikings to grab LT Matt Kalil at #3. Kalil passes the eye test no question, and I love the thought of taking a LT with the design of him being a franchise cornerstone and Christian Ponder protector for the next 10-15 years.
Tags: 2012 Combine, Paul Allen, Steve Hutchinson
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