Around the Horns: QBs better at top of draft

Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat.

The Vikings are far enough into a last-place season -- which has been colored by a lack of direction at the quarterback position -- that some of their fans are peeking ahead to next spring's draft and not-so-subtly rooting for the team to lose in order to secure a better draft pick. The thinking goes, though, that in a draft where as many as nine quarterbacks could get first-round consideration, the Vikings wouldn't necessarily have to be picking at the top of the draft to assure themselves of getting a franchise quarterback.

But as Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com points out, the Vikings might not want to take the chance.

Mackey analyzed each draft in the last 15 years -- since the Indianapolis Colts took Peyton Manning with the first pick -- and looked at how many of the first, second and third quarterbacks taken in each one are in Hall of Fame discussion, "serviceable to very good" or no better than a backup, in his estimation. What he found was, it's important to have the pick of the QB litter.

According to Mackey's ratings, 11 of the 15 players to be the first quarterbacks drafted have at least been serviceable to very good, with three (Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Andrew Luck) on a Hall of Fame trajectory. That number drops to seven of 15 with the second QB overall (with just Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in Hall contention) and three of 15 with the third quarterback (only Ben Roethlisberger is a Hall of Fame candidate here). Essentially, Mackey says, the Vikings have a better chance not waiting around for a quarterback.

We've probably spoiled some of the story already, but we'd encourage you to read Mackey's well-written, well-researched piece and consider the point carefully. The Vikings would currently pick fourth in the 2014 draft, though two of the teams in front of them (Jacksonville and Houston) will play each other again. But if they picked fourth next May, it's conceivable they could be picking the second or third quarterback. The Vikings had the fourth overall quarterback when they took Ponder (whom Mackey interestingly puts in his "backup at best" category), and they could end up taking another one next spring because they didn't get the sure thing that's often available higher in the draft.

Here are today's other Vikings stories of note: