Powers: How did the Vikings do in the draft? Who knows?

ST. PAUL -- Late April and there is road construction everywhere, cottonwood in the air and middle-aged men, their faces painted purple, crammed into football jerseys three sizes too small. Oops, there goes another beer on the floor.

ST. PAUL -- Late April and there is road construction everywhere, cottonwood in the air and middle-aged men, their faces painted purple, crammed into football jerseys three sizes too small. Oops, there goes another beer on the floor.

What this tells us, other than we sometimes get the presidential candidates we deserve, is that it’s NFL draft weekend. The past three days have been about “high ceilings,” “explosiveness” and “playing fast.” Three days of yackety-yack and car and booze commercials.

And in a typical demonstration of NFL self-importance, all of this was preceded by the playing of our national anthem. Which goes to show that it’s just a matter of time before they start playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Nevada brothels, the only other industry so shamelessly dedicated to unadulterated capitalism.

But now it’s time to say goodbye to Mel Kiper, who will be hermetically sealed in a vault until the 2017 draft. Time to vacuum the crumbs off the carpet and to assess the progress, or lack of such, by the home team. As for just how well the Vikings did …

Well, you can’t see me, but I’m shrugging. In other words I don’t know. Nobody ever really knows until the season starts. However, I’ll say this: I’m confident that the Vikings organization made the right moves. Somewhere along the way over the past few years, their front office has become the most respected and trusted in the Twin Cities. Who’d a thunk it?


It’s the combination of Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer that has the citizenry cool and confident. Not to discount all the others that do a lot of heavy lifting behind the scenes, but Spielman and Zimmer are the point men out there facing the public. Together, they appear to form a strong backbone for the organization.

Even the Wilfs look better to me these days. I still feel uneasy and reflexively button my wallet pocket when I see one. Yet I find myself thinking positive thoughts along the lines of: At least he’s not Stan Kroenke.

This feeling of security is very important as the Vikings are about to enter the most important season in franchise history. This is a team on the upswing that has emerged whole from the stadium fires. They are moving into their new facility, one that certainly will be up to NFL standards in terms of garishness and wretched excess, and interest never has been higher.

In other words, this is a major moment in time for the Vikings. And they seem poised to take advantage. Granted, I’m a bit concerned that so much of the offense centers on an aging running back who is past his prime. But if Spielman and Zimmer think Adrian Peterson has another year in him, that’s (almost) good enough for me.

Spielman is a straight arrow, always shiny and bright to the point where he appears to have been plucked straight out of Madame Tussauds wax museum. His responses are measured. His preparedness is beyond reproach. Ask him about the 230th player taken in the draft and he likely will begin his response by saying: “We’ve spent a lot of time with him …”

But three days a year - draft time - he morphs into Tricky Ricky and somehow manages to stockpile picks. You don’t want to answer the phone when Tricky Ricky calls on draft day. Even though he hasn’t hit on all of his selections, he’s gotten a decent number of them right, especially in the later rounds. And the more picks the better the chances.

Fans here have liked Zimmer from the start. He’s an honest guy who’s more kick-butt that Leslie Frazier and less diabolical than Brad Childress - his two predecessors. He also seems to work well with Spielman. That hasn’t always been the case with previous coaches.

So my guess is that a number of these draft picks will work out fine. Laquon Treadwell supposedly has “explosiveness,” “a high ceiling,” and “plays fast.” Perhaps most important, he has shown he can catch the football while opponents claw at him. The team should take another step forward in 2017. And everyone will be dazzled by the glitter of the new stadium. The question, as always, is: How big of a step?


Hmmm. That’s difficult. It’s tempting to say they could go a long, long way. But it’s just that they are still the Vikings and I never know exactly when 12 men in the huddle or a missed 27-yard chip shot will occur.

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