I was in Minnesota for less than a minute Friday when a media pal called with the question Vikings fans are asking in abundance: What about Jimmy Clausen?
My response: What about him?
If you are hoping the Vikings will use the No. 34 overall pick Friday evening to draft the Notre Dame quarterback, I can’t help you. Stranger things have happened, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of interest from the Vikings. Josh of Minnesota asks:
Why are the Vikings so hesitant on Clausen? Everything went perfectly and he fell right to [them]. He's got a perfect year to work under Brett Favre. He's not going to start so I don't know why it would anger Favre like all the analysts said. It just seems like a no brainer to me, best available, position of need.
I will agree with Josh on one point: I don’t think Favre would give two flips if the Vikings draft Clausen -- or, for that matter, Texas’ Colt McCoy. Neither would be a threat to his status as the 2010 starter. I could be underestimating Favre’s sensitivity, but I can’t believe he would feel slighted to have a rookie quarterback on the roster as he approaches his 41st birthday.
At the same time, it would be a real stunner if Clausen ends up in that role. I know he spent his career in a version of the West Coast offense at Notre Dame, conceivably making him more prepared for the Vikings’ scheme.
But we’ve already noted that Minnesota all but boycotted his personal throwing session earlier this month. To me, the latest evidence of their ambivalence toward him came Friday evening, when they passed on the opportunity to draft him at No. 30 overall.
If you believe a player can be your quarterback of the future, I think you take him at No. 30 even if his market value dictates that he might be available later. Quarterbacks are a different species when it comes to draft etiquette. There’s no reason to get cute and move down four spots as the Vikings did Thursday night. As it stands now, St. Louis is entertaining offers for the No. 33 pick and could trade it to a team who wants Clausen.
If I had to guess, I would say it’s far more likely the Vikings will trade out of the No. 34 pick -- perhaps to another team hoping to grab Clausen -- than it is that they take him themselves.