I adore our #92Noon trips to Indy for the NFL Scouting Combine. Raiders coach Jon Gruden to my right, Rams coach Sean McVay to my left, Wobby in the lobby, luminaries everywhere. All in one spot. These coaches, execs and decision makers for 32 NFL teams will never be more accessible and unguarded than here in Indianapolis. We get to be a part of that and it's awesome.
This adventure was a bit different than any of my previous trips, because almost none of the conversations were on NFL prospects. The Vikings "QB Conundrum" dominated all aspects of this steam-rolling stroll.
-Interested in adding to the OLine in the draft? Me too! Buckeyes G/C stud Billy Price suffers a pec injury during the bench press drill. Sooners beef eater Orlando Brown is making headlines for having one of the worst statistical combine performances in 15 years. Georgia Bulldog Isaiah Wynn is small like a guard but strong like a tackle. Longhorns T Connor Williams is in the mix. Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson is angry, nasty and the cream of the crop. Ultimately, from a name-touting standpoint? I got nothing for you. But I heard about how Philly masterfully constructed a limited playbook of what Nick Foles did well three years ago so that he wouldn't screw up Eagles Super Bowl dreams.
-The pickle at nickel? Terence Newman is a 39 year old free agent and Mackensie Alexander didn't gain much trust/confidence in year 2. Cool. So I'm in love with UCF CB Mike Hughes with his interceptions and playmaking ability, and his 3 return touchdowns in 2017 (Marcus Sherels is 30 and a free agent too)...would he be there in the 2nd round for the Vikings? Doesn't feel like it, but I can't say for sure. Because most of what I was hearing about in Indy is that Kirk Cousins would have a hard time saying "no" to the Broncos if he sat down with QB immortality John Elway.
-I really wanted to learn about Michigan D-tackle Maurice Hurst. There may be better players at that position (sounds like Vikings, and every other team probably, will be attending the Alabama pro-day, where they'll see Tide DT Da'ron Payne), but is Hurst a high-end pass rusher at the 3-tech spot? If he is, he'd be a sweet pickup at #30, as that's exactly what we need next to Linval Hungry. Instead of a deep-dive on Hurst, I heard speculation that a fourth team was in the mix for Kirk Cousins...the Arizona Cardinals. Can they afford him? (And since originally writing this, I've heard that Hurst has a heart condition and is leaving Indy for tests. Sad news for Maurice. Hope he's alright.)
It was all about who will be under center for the Purple in 2018. The Jets will outbid anyone. The ATM has no limit, and they'll guarantee whatever they need to. The Broncos are compelling because John Elway is the man with a plan, the defense is still good, and they do have a few playmakers around a QB. If you're Kirk, though...how would you like to have John freaking Elway MF'ing you after you throw a redzone pick against the Chiefs in a big spot? The Vikings are the most win-ready team of the bunch. And that's not just my biased opinion. We heard that sentiment many times in Indy from those who judge and speculate for a living. The Vikings can't pay what the Jets will pay, but they have some cash and some flash to lure Cousins into the cornfields. Kirk would be an awesome addition to this team and I don't believe the Vikings are going to offer something that cripples their roster. If he's our guy? Let's roll.
BUT.....I have no problem admitting that I am hashtag-faithing the bleep out of Sam Bradford. He was skiing in Jackson Hole last week????!!!!! You potentially have a degenerating knee and your NFL career is on the brink, and you're carving up powder on the slopes? Honestly. I am praying to the football gods that his knee is better than we know. I'm praying that in a dark room somewhere, Eric Sugarman and the Vikings doctors are laughing at the rest of us for not knowing what they know. Not knowing that the surgery earlier this year did indeed fix whatever the mysterious issue was, and that Sammy Sleeves is ready to get back to work. If all things are equal, (don't @ me), I would rather have Bradford than Kirk Cousins. Bradford, into Teddy, into Kyle Sloter. I think he's a better passer than Kirk, he's more accurate, he makes FAR fewer stupid mistakes (specifically in the redzone) than Kirk. I'd love that. BUT!!!! Not all things are equal here. I get that.
All of this gets sorted out in the laundry over the next ten days. A week from Monday, on March 12th, teams can officially start negotiating with players(they unofficially started negotiating at the Combine, if not earlier) on contracts, and then Wednesday the 14th...the Free Agency feed frenzy! My assumption would be that the Vikings will know by then what they can or want to do with Sam/Case/Teddy, and will probably already know what it will take to bring Kirk into the mix.
Once that's out of the way, we get into the "WHAT NOW?" phase. The Vikings have their QB. The team won 13 games in 2017. They get Dalvin Cook back. Time to sink their teeth into the Draft. The NFC Title game was lost in the Offensive/Defensive trenches, so that seems like a nice place to start.
Thanks to Whiting Clinic for presenting our #92Noon Combine Shows in Indy! Fantastic company that helps us see the NFL more clearly every year.