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Counting Down the Top Ten Vikings: #3 Jesse Porter
Jesse Porter (above, tackling Austin Bray) will secure left tackle and defensive end for the 2009 Vikings. Rob Carlson / Sports Media Northwest
If you gathered a bunch of football coaches in a room and asked them to build a team from scratch, there would be some disagreement as to which position is the most important building block for success.
Some coaches would look for a talented signal caller to build the offense around. Others would say that a bookend left tackle is the most valuable asset, and still others would argue that grabbing a defensive end is key.
Take a quick look at any mock NFL Draft board. Pretty much every one is top heavy with tackles, d-ends and QB's. Mel Kiper's latest features two QB's, three tackles and two defensive ends in the top ten picks.
That said, imagine the value of a player who brought talent and experience to two of those three positions. What would that player be worth?
The 2009 Vikings have that player in LT/DE Jesse Porter.
Some may be surprised at this pick, but I imagine those close to the program will not be. Porter missed the first four games of the season due to personal reasons, but saw action in week five, and started at LT for the rest of the season. By the end of the year, Porter was starting at DE as well, and showing signs of dominance on both side of the ball.
I remember watching practice one day prior to week five. I was talking to Bo Dickinson, who was injured at the time. "Who is that dude?", I asked, pointing to a big guy on the scout team.
"That," Bo said, "Is Jesse Porter - and he is a beast."Porter, listed at 6'3 and 230, is athletic and strong. On offense, he has the quick feet needed for pass protection and the brute force necessary for the running game. On defense, he's a potent run stopper with a developing pass rushing game.
For the season, Porter had 15 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. On offense, he was rarely beaten.
On the down side, the Vikings cannot afford another hiatus from Porter. Last season, he didn't participate in camp and wasn't ready until game five. If Porter enjoyed the success and the starter's role he earned last season, he will need to repay the staff and his teammates by setting an example in the gym and on the practice field. If he does, he has a chance to be special.
It's nearly impossible to put a quantitative value on a lineman, because the stats just don't show the true value of muscle up front. The line of scrimmage is where the game is one or lost, where the bloody fighting occurs. Players like Jesse Porter allow you to control the line of scrimmage.
Let's put it this way - when QB Chameron Lackey looks around the huddle and sees nearly 750 pounds of returning-starter offensive muscle (in Porter, Richardson and Eckstrom), he will be confident. When Coach Tom Tri looks at his depth chart and knows that he can fill left tackle and defensive end at an All Wesco-type level using one player, he is confident.
That's why I am confident that Jesse Porter is solid pick for the third slot. Let me know what you think in the comments section.
Previously: 10. PK Arvid Isaksen; 9. C Kalena Richardson; 8. DE Aaron Britton; 7A. WR/RB/DB Tyler Reside; 7B. WR/RB/DB Brennan Frost; 6. OG/DT Jordan Eckstrom; 5. OLB Chase Crowley; 4. WR/DB Brandon Preslar.