Tim Tebow a Viking? No way
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
The Minnesota Vikings won't draft Tim Tebow on Thursday night.
That's not a scoop. I don't know it for a fact.
But the Vikings can't draft Tebow. Not with this team. And certainly not with the 30th overall pick.
Tim Tebow the University of Florida star won the Heisman Trophy and two national titles, flawed mechanics and all.
Tim Tebow the person, no matter your politics or religious persuasion, seems like as safe a bet as anyone.
Tim Tebow the NFL quarterback?
Maybe in 2012. A long shot in 2011. He's not helping anyone in 2010, especially not a Vikings team that almost surely has Brett Favre returning and can feel its championship window tightening by the second.
Hello, Winter Park? Who's going to make the call to Hattiesburg, Miss., explaining the wisdom in using your only top-60 pick on a guy who might be inactive throughout the coming Super Bowl push?
Yet draftnik Mel Kiper Jr. is buying in, predicting during a Wednesday morning segment on ESPN Radio that Tebow will be a Viking. So is Peter King of Sports Illustrated, who called it a "hunch. Nothing more."
I've found plenty of people around the NFL who think someone will draft Tebow tonight, but none of them think it's a good idea.
One source said to bet on Tebow going late in the first round, then added, "That just blows my mind."
A personnel director said he'd consider other quarterbacks before he'd give Tebow a look in the first round because "as a quarterback, he's a down-the-line-type player. I don't think Tim Tebow is going to be ready to be a sure NFL quarterback here in Year 1. That's going to be a little bit of a project to get him going."
One college scouting director responded to the question of whether Tebow will be a quarterback in the NFL with a firm and emphatic, "No."
Vikings coach Brad Childress has been effusive in his praise for Tebow, whose leadership ability and will to improve are huge plusses on the resume of any developmental quarterback. And the Vikings do have a roster scouts feel has few glaring, immediate holes.
That doesn't mean they don't need help.
They could use a cornerback, the Lito Sheppard signing notwithstanding. As good as Sheppard was in 2006, he's been in decline for years, and a one-year deal doesn't dispel the notion a player with the upside of Virginia's Chris Cook could be intriguing.
They could stand to get younger and faster at linebacker, so Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon and TCU's Daryl Washington might be in the conversation.
Florida center Maurkice Pouncey could upgrade the Vikings' offensive line if he's still on the board. Southern California safety Taylor Mays would have a shot to win a starting job, too.
Even California running back Jahvid Best, for all the injury concerns surrounding him, could bring some juice to help push the Vikings over the top.
Not in 2012. Not in 2011. Right now.
"To me, if I'm a betting man, I'm saying corner," an NFC scout said of the Vikings' pick, before the Sheppard signing was announced.
"But we do this all the time -- we sit there and we go out and we analyze. We do needs. We do team needs. Everyone in every interview's going to tell you, we don't draft by need, we draft by overall value. Even though I think they may need a corner, they may have a tackle at a higher value point, or maybe Tim Tebow's a higher value than the corner -- you never know."
And that's the thing. You never know what a team might do on draft day, because no two teams' boards are the same. The further you get into the draft, the more widely the boards diverge.
It doesn't matter if a bunch of teams grade Tebow -- or Texas' Colt McCoy for that matter -- as a second- or third-round pick. All it takes is one team to peg a guy as a first-rounder, and he has a chance to go.
Do the Vikings have Tebow in the top 30 on their board? I'd have better luck predicting the tail number on the plane Favre will take to Minneapolis in mid-August.
But the Vikings won't draft Tebow tonight. They won't, because they can't.
Unless they do. Which would just blow my mind, too.Vikings roster analysis: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST