Michael Sam and the Vikings

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DanAS
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Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by DanAS » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:24 am

First of all, congratulations to Michael Sam for having the courage to come out publicly as gay. May there be many more people who do the same, and may homophobia go by the way of the Dodo Bird as soon as possible. Honestly, it sickens me on every level that in the 21st century, so many people look down their noses at homosexuality. I put it up their with racism, sexism, and other forms of out-and-out ignorance.

Now that I've got my preaching out of the way, what do you say we talk football, OK? Because I have a serious question about Michael Sam and whether there is a place for this kid on the Vikes defense, which sure could use a boost.

I look at this guy. He wears number 52. He looks like Ray Lewis. He's something like 6 1' 255 pounds. And he is a first team All-American defensive end. I am puzzled to hear "the hair" project him as a fourth round situational pash rusher instead of a projected linebacker who is taken higher in the draft. I don't doubt that he lacks the skills to play linebacker tomorrow, but aren't the great teams the ones that see outside of the box a little bit? The Vikes certainly have a dearth of quality linebackers. Or looking at it differently, they're a team with a lot of "projects" at those positions. Does it make sense, say, to take this kid in the third round and try to mold him into a starting linebacker by 2015? Hasn't he proven himself more than any of our linebackers other than Greenway (who isn't exactly a spring chicken)?

I am not a big SEC fan so I could be totally off base here. Honestly, this whole post (other than the first paragraph) is complete speculation on my part. I'd kind of like to hear from those who have watched a lot of this kid. But to make first team All American as an undersized DE, he has to have some serious abilities. And the Championship NFL teams are the ones who find the apparent square pegs and, with inspiration, figure out ways to fit them smoothly into round holes. Doleman was a "tweener" who we turned into a pretty good d-lineman. I'm thinking that maybe, this guy goes in the other direction. Am I wrong?

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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by PurpleMustReign » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:29 am

First, I absolutely agree with the first part of your post.
Second, why dont u like SEC football? Just curious.
Third, the games i watched with Missouri, he was definitely a leader on the field. If the Vikings drafted him, i would be very happy. He definitely has the tools to be very successful in the NFL.

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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by Mothman » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:36 am

DanAS wrote:First of all, congratulations to Michael Sam for having the courage to come out publicly as gay. May there be many more people who do the same, and may homophobia go by the way of the Dodo Bird as soon as possible. Honestly, it sickens me on every level that in the 21st century, so many people look down their noses at homosexuality. I put it up their with racism, sexism, and other forms of out-and-out ignorance.

Now that I've got my preaching out of the way, what do you say we talk football, OK? Because I have a serious question about Michael Sam and whether there is a place for this kid on the Vikes defense, which sure could use a boost.

I look at this guy. He wears number 52. He looks like Ray Lewis. He's something like 6 1' 255 pounds. And he is a first team All-American defensive end. I am puzzled to hear "the hair" project him as a fourth round situational pash rusher instead of a projected linebacker who is taken higher in the draft. I don't doubt that he lacks the skills to play linebacker tomorrow, but aren't the great teams the ones that see outside of the box a little bit? The Vikes certainly have a dearth of quality linebackers. Or looking at it differently, they're a team with a lot of "projects" at those positions. Does it make sense, say, to take this kid in the third round and try to mold him into a starting linebacker by 2015? Hasn't he proven himself more than any of our linebackers other than Greenway (who isn't exactly a spring chicken)?
No, he hasn't, not as a linebacker. Can he cover at all? From what I've read, he was rarely asked to drop back in Missouri's scheme and he has limited flexibility to change directions. He might not be skilled or fluid enough to convert to LB. After all, converting a DE to LB in a 4-3 defense is no small thing. There are accomplished players in the draft who have already shown they can play LB and as a DE, he's undersized. I assume he's projected to be drafted in R3 or R4 for those reasons.
Doleman was a "tweener" who we turned into a pretty good d-lineman. I'm thinking that maybe, this guy goes in the other direction. Am I wrong?
Didn't he just admit to going in the other direction? ;)

Sorry, I shouldn't crack wise but how am I supposed to resist a set-up line like that?

Seriously, there's no way to know with certainty if he could become the LB equivalent of Doleman at DE but I think it's pretty tough to project him to LB in a 4-3. I'm getting the impression that you're rationalizing a reason for the Vikings to draft him because you respect his willingness to publicly admit to being gay.

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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by chicagopurple » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:36 am

I am fairly wary of picking another "reach" or project player after the farce that was Ponder. So rater then think he can be rebuilt into a LB, why not pick him for what he is? We arent exactly hip deep in talent. AND the move would certainly shut up all the critics who are preoccupied with Kluwe's accusations (which may or may not be true).....he really looks promising in his current role.

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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by PurpleHalo » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:05 am

He is a mid round project player, lets not talk about inserting him into our starting lineup, it's not gonna happen.
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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by NextQuestion » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:21 am

I guess he wasn't so great the senior bowl as a LB but dude is a DE. God knows we need depth everywhere and especially if we cannot get Everson Griffen and/or Jared Allen back.

Most of you guys n gals know I am very pro-gay rights. I just hope the media doesn't overkill his story as I'm hoping it'll lead a trend in players to feel comfortable about who they are. Deion Sanders even said this morning "Not the first gay player in the NFL, but much respect for coming out".
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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by dead_poet » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:23 am

NextQuestion wrote:I just hope the media doesn't overkill his story
Yeah, they wouldn't do that. :( :wink:
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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by NextQuestion » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:25 am

dead_poet wrote: Yeah, they wouldn't do that. :( :wink:
Hah, It's already a huge story but my hope is that it cools off around draft day.
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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by mondry » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:50 am

No reason to pick a guy just because he's gay. But if he slides to the fourth or fifth round because of it then I sure hope our leaders would make the pick if they think he's worth it and not simply avoid it because of what it is. I just want good football players, I don't care if they're black, purple, blue, white, orange, gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, or whatever. There was a time you didn't draft or sign black people because it was "weird", (putting it VERY nicely...) then teams started to realize there was a lot of untapped potential to obtain and all the stupid stuff goes out the window when you want to win! As it should.

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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by Purple bruise » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:59 am

dead_poet wrote: Yeah, they wouldn't do that. :( :wink:
Or like this board will a bazillion (23 pages and counting) comments on Kluwe :wink:
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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by Funkytown » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:51 pm

mondry wrote:No reason to pick a guy just because he's gay. But if he slides to the fourth or fifth round because of it then I sure hope our leaders would make the pick if they think he's worth it and not simply avoid it because of what it is. I just want good football players, I don't care if they're black, purple, blue, white, orange, gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, or whatever. There was a time you didn't draft or sign black people because it was "weird", (putting it VERY nicely...) then teams started to realize there was a lot of untapped potential to obtain and all the stupid stuff goes out the window when you want to win! As it should.
Yeesh. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Yep, what he said! :thumbsup:

This kid is all over the news, and I have to say, I am rooting for him. He has been through a lot in his life, and this was minor. Basically, I heard he is one of many kids. One of his older brothers was kidnapped and never found. Another one was shot and killed. Two other ones have been in and out of jail for years. I think another sibling died in infancy. All of this, and he's okay; first to go to college and all that. This kid is actually making something out of himself, and that is great to see!

Let him fall, we'll scoop him up!

Just, ya know, don't make him play special teams, because, ya know...yeeeeaaah.

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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:26 pm

mondry wrote:No reason to pick a guy just because he's gay. But if he slides to the fourth or fifth round because of it then I sure hope our leaders would make the pick if they think he's worth it and not simply avoid it because of what it is. I just want good football players, I don't care if they're black, purple, blue, white, orange, gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, or whatever. There was a time you didn't draft or sign black people because it was "weird", (putting it VERY nicely...) then teams started to realize there was a lot of untapped potential to obtain and all the stupid stuff goes out the window when you want to win! As it should.
At the risk of sounding homophobic ... there is a reason NOT to pick him because he's gay. And it has nothing to do with whether a team accepts his lifestyle. It has to do with whether they want the media scrutiny that will accompany him.

Here's the scenario:

You have two linebacker prospects. They both grade out equally. Neither is a sure-fire star, but a mid-round project. It would be a tough choice no matter their sexual preference.

Player A will be the first openly gay player in NFL history if he's drafted. Player B is straight, or at least presumed so.

Who do you take?

If you take Player A, then you might as well set up the Big Top because the Media Circus is coming. Not only will they hound Player A about it every day, but also every player on the roster and every person in the front office. "What do you think?" "Do you accept an openly gay player?" "Has anyone given him a hard time?" "Have any players asked for a trade?" On and on it will go, ad nauseum, for as long as Player A is on the roster. It'll be Tim Tebow 2.0, only magnified about 100 times.

Take Player B, and nobody bats an eye. Just another fourth-round project.

Like it or not, "Do we want the distraction?" is a legitimate question. It would be naive to think that GMs and player personnel directors won't ask it. And while they'll never say it, I'm pretty sure that at least one team will pass on Sam for that very reason. Not sure I could blame them.

That being said, I salute Michael Sam for coming out now, rather than doing it after being drafted. That would be unfair to the team that drafts him.
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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by DanAS » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:33 pm

PurpleMustReign wrote:First, I absolutely agree with the first part of your post.
Second, why dont u like SEC football? Just curious.
Third, the games i watched with Missouri, he was definitely a leader on the field. If the Vikings drafted him, i would be very happy. He definitely has the tools to be very successful in the NFL.

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I didn't mean I didn't like SEC football. I'm a friggen football addict, and they have great football. But the conference I follow most closely is the Pac 10 -- and particularly, Stanford football.

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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by HardcoreVikesFan » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:49 pm

First off, I applaud Michael Sam for coming out as gay. His courage can be a testament towards his character.

Secondly, I may be in the minority, but, if Michael added about 12 pounds (which, in the NFL, is easier to do than in college), he would fit as a 4-3 defense end. Sure, he may be a little small height wise, but his weight, speed, and athleticism would suit him as a 4-3 defensive end.

Thirdly, Sam was a very good player this year. He was a player who I thought would make a good draft choice for us. Unfortunately, I can see him being labeled now and it will be too 'taboo' for some GMs to draft. It is unfortunate, but I cannot help but feel that Sam's playing ability ( the ONLY thing that should matter when it comes to his draft stock) will be overlooked because of this. Call me cyclical, but it is just the way our society that makes me feel that way. But, that is whole other topic that I am too weary to get into in general, and this board is not the right place to discuss said topic.
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Re: Michael Sam and the Vikings

Post by DanAS » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:25 pm

Mothman wrote:
Seriously, there's no way to know with certainty if he could become the LB equivalent of Doleman at DE but I think it's pretty tough to project him to LB in a 4-3. I'm getting the impression that you're rationalizing a reason for the Vikings to draft him because you respect his willingness to publicly admit to being gay.
Absolutely not true, my friend. I want the social issues to be 100% out of the picture when it comes to the selection. I could make argument why they would suggest taking him, or not taking him, but those arguments interest and compel me a whole lot less than the football question.

Yes, he didn't play well at the Senior Bowl at linebacker. But that's one game. One. And I'm not convinced that someone with that build couldn't play in a 4-3.

Anyway, I'm just throwing this out. The dude has a body like Ray Lewis and he has demonstrated some mad skills when it comes to tackling guys with footballs in their hands. So I was wondering, why not a linebacker? If he has a shot at being a great LB and has an excellent chance of being dangerous pass rusher as a DE, maybe it's not crazy to spend a high third round pick on him. But I realize there are "ifs" in that sentence.

But please believe me, Jim. I am raising this because I want to improve the Vikes' defense, I respect what he has accomplished ON the field, and this "tweener" stuff has me wondering if he might be an undervalued commodity in the draft. The other stuff is extremely important to me but I would never compromise my team's quality just to make a sociological statement.

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