April 29, 2006
"Squealing with Delight" by Mr. Cheer Or Die


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Updated Sunday afternoon to fix Greenway audio link: Scroll to bottom of this entry.

Chad Greenway arrived at Iowa as a quarterback who played nine-man football in tiny Mount Vernon, S.D. He came from a hog farm where hard work is more expected than demanded. And being a Dakota native (North, not South) I know that the work ethic of Greenway is to “do whatever honest work it takes to be successful.?

After being selected by the Vikings in the 17th round of the 2006 NFL draft, Greenway leaves Iowa University as an all-Big Ten linebacker and probable pro football starter as a rookie.

The personification of a success story, wouldn’t you say?

All the NFL pundits expected Greenway to be taken in the middle of the first round. His comrade at linebacker, Abdul Hodge, was pegged as a second-round pick. After selecting Greenway, I actually had hopes to see the Vikes go and draft Hodge as well….the dynamic duo at linebacker in purple for years to come! But that was not to be.

Depending on the forecaster I read prior to the draft, Greenway was either the second-, third- or fourth-best linebacker in the draft. Ohio State’s A.J. Hawk was the consensus pick as the No. 1 player at the position, with Florida State’s Ernie Sims and Greenway generally in the next two spots. Interestingly enough, Hawk went to the Packers and Sims to the Lions….both NFC Central foes.

With Brian Urlacher already entrenched in Chicago as the league’s preeminent linebacker, is there any question that the Black and Blue division will once again be mentioned by the TV guys this coming fall?

The Des Moines Register ran linebacker rankings from veteran sports writer Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. Gosselin had Hawk first, of course, followed by Sims, Ohio State’s Bobby Carpenter (who went to Dallas with the 18th overall pick) and Greenway. He had Hodge at No. 10.

One analyst summed up Greenway this way:

“He is not the biggest, strongest or fastest LB in this draft, but he is the most instinctive.’’

Gil Brandt, who is quoted in every football paper and publication it seems like, wrote on NFL.com that while Greenway needs to get stronger, he’ll “be a very good player for a long time.’’

Greenway’s overall grade from the scouting service used by NFL.com is 6.5, which translates into a “highly productive starter’’ and a first-round pick.

One motivating note for Vikings fans who are non-believers in Greenway entails The Sporting News, which graded Greenway as the second-best outside linebacker in the draft. Greenway remembers that publication for something else. He said his greatest inspiration at Iowa came when The Sporting News, in its 2004 college football preview issue, called him the most overrated player in the Big Ten.

“It’s going to take a lot of coaxing for me to buy another Sporting News,’’ Greenway said.

That is a linebacker, people. Just like earlier this week when I asked my readers how can one find fault with a linebacker who wears a shirt with a list of 10 "Norm-isms" that have been uttered by Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker as seen below:

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I mean at #3 is "Run like a scalded-ass dog." And how will Vikes defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin like it when Greenway shows up with the shirt and Tomlin reads #6 which goes, "The three fastest ways to die are 1) natural gas, 2) electricity, and 3) cover 2".....I'd think Tomlin might just implode! But that is linebacker mentality.....and what the Vikes need.

But back to the draft. With their first selection in the second round the Vikes selected Cedric Griffin.

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At first I went, “who is that…? but then remembered one of my Texas buddies telling me about a Longhorn player that I should watch in the Rose Ball whose name was not Vince Young. I remember reading the day after that Young said he was inspired by the UT defense stoning USC running back LenDale White on fourth-and-2 at its 45 with 2:09 to play and USC leading 38-33.

"Cedric Griffin came off the field and looked into my eyes and said, 'What you gonna do?' " Young said. "That gave me a little more edge to go out there."
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That’s the type of guy I want on this team. A defensive player who does his job and then walking off the field makes it known to the offense to do their job as well. We could have used Benson last year to get into the face of the Poutin’ QB!!!!

Now, Benson should have gone even higher in my view. Why didn’t he? Could be some off-the-field issues that I am sure Zygi and Co. will address with Benson as soon as he steps onto Minnesota soil. Cedric Griffin was involved in an assault and battery case prior to last year’s big bowl game. Charges were dismissed. But the damage was done. Still, I love the pick. And Benson has the best tandem in the league to teach him the tricks of the trade with Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot.

But the Vikes had another pick remaining in the second round. And they addressed another “need area? once again by selecting New Mexico center Ryan Cook. And I’ll be looking for a insider perspective from the VU’s own columnist, and New Mexico resident, Hiking Viking within 24-hours!!!

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I’m not sure I’m elated about the pick. But time will tell. I see Cook early on as a backup center/guard that may eventually develop into a solid starting center under proper tutelage. The big knock on Cook seems to be that he lacks the foot agility and good athletic ability for a lineman.

Two more picks coming in the third round! Stay tuned. And I'd love to hear your early comments so far! So leave a comment at the end of this entry.

Update

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The Vikes addressed their need for a future QB after trading the Poutin’ QB to the Miami Dolphins. They moved up into the second round to select Tarvaris Jackson from relative unknown Alabama St. Jackson is a gifted, underdeveloped draft choice who needs a lot of work. You think Cook was a reach? I strongly think that Jackson is the biggest reach out of all the teams of the first day so far. And that includes the Bills selection of Donte Whitner in the first round. Jackson will sit and learn and has interesting upside, but could have been selected much later. Much, much later. Much, much, much later.

I would have much rather the Vikes had made a run to capture Matt Leinart when it was clear the USC star was falling out of the top seven picks. Leinart could even have been called into duty as soon as this season had Big Bad Brad suffered an injury. Leinart would have been the perfect fit for a West Coast style dink-and-dunk offense. And that’s why I end the first day of the draft pretty steamed about this QB selection.

Jackson is not a West Coast type of guy. Per various reports, his passing is erratic and the offense run at Alabama St. was your basic vanilla college offense. Not the finesse type in which you want a future West Coast offense QB to come from. Me thinks Vikes coach Brad Childress made the call on this, perhaps enamored by Jackson’s ability to move in and out of the pocket. That may have reminded Childress of someone he used to coach at QB while with the Eagles.

And in the same vein, I am very happy the Vikes did not go after Jay Cutler. Did you did a load of the honky-tonk cowboy hat and mirrored sunglasses in those commercials? And Cutler looked all of 14-years old! I could envision Cutler coming to the line, seeing a John Randle type defensive tackle foaming at the mouth, and then Cutler wetting his pants.

But, back to Jackson. I’d like to be happy about this pick. Right now, I’m not. But I’ll sleep on it and reserve the right to change my mind once I see him in mini-camp in a couple of weeks.

So, who is left on the board for the second day that I hope and pray the Vikes Triangle of Authority can muster up the gumption to draft? Here are the names I'd like to see in purple:

Guards

Jean-Gilles, Max
O'Callaghan, Ryan

Defensive Ends

Dumervil, Elvis
Jenkins, Julian

Cornerback

Webb, Demetrice
Zemaitis, Alan

Quarterbacks (Yep! Quarterbacks)

Jacobs, Omar

Pull one or two names from that list and the Vikes maybe grade out at a B. Certainly up from the C they are at now. Again, I think the first two picks were great. I just feel they overreached with the next two.

How about you?




Update: Sunday Morning

Chad Greenway Highlight Reel

Brad Childress talks about Greenway shortly after Round One.

Cedric Griffin had a fantastic interception of a Jay Cutler pass in the end zone in the Senior Bowl (video posted below).


(video courtesy of dougutx from Orangebloods)


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Video Highlight Reel for Jackson (thanks chadpad)

From the Alabama Montgomery Advertiser:

Jackson, who led ASU to a SWAC championship two years ago, got the unexpected call from Minnesota while watching the draft with family and friends.

Jackson's mother, SaSanque, answered the phone, heard a voice she didn't recognize ask for Tarvaris and handed the phone over without giving it much thought.

On the other end was a Minnesota Vikings' official, calling to inform Jackson that the team didn't feel as though he would still be on the board by the time their third-round draft pick rolled around.

So, the Vikings were trading up to get him.

Posted by maasx003 at April 29, 2006 5:13 PM