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Ask Vic: Can Booty make splash as rookie?

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Question: Who do you see as the Vikings' quarterbacks when they break training camp? Also, can John David Booty beat out Brooks Bollinger for that third spot? -- Jeremy F., Minn.

My very early take on this is that Tarvaris Jackson will remain the starter, and that he will be backed up by Gus Frerotte and Booty.

Frerotte provides the veteran presence that should be helpful to both Jackson and Booty, the Vikings' fifth-round draft pick from USC. For now it looks as if Bollinger and Kyle Wright, whom the Vikes signed as a free agent from Miami, won't make the cut.

I do think Booty could make a surprisingly big splash for a rookie. His familiarity with Minnesota's offense, which has plenty in common with the scheme he ran in college, gives him a legitimate chance to put some heat on Jackson and Frerotte. So does the fact that he comes from such a large collegiate program, which should make the transition to the NFL less daunting than it might be for other rookies.

Question: Maryland had an outstanding outside linebacker in Erin Henderson. I checked all draft picks and free agents that were signed; his name wasn't on anyone's list. Do you have any insight into whether he decided against entering the draft this year or was there an unforeseen problem with his health? After reading the pre-draft analysis on players, he seemed to have a lot going for him. -- W.D.E.

After going undrafted, Erin signed a free-agent contract with the Vikings. His older brother, E.J., another former Maryland standout, is a middle linebacker for Minnesota.

Some projections had Erin being selected on the second day of the draft. However, his history of knee trouble apparently prevented that from happening.

Erin told reporters covering the Vikings that he was upset for about 10 or 15 minutes when the draft ended without him being picked. However, when he learned he would be joining his "big bro" in Minnesota, he realized he had nothing to be upset about.

Question: Out of the four teams that represent the NFC West, who had the best draft and why? -- Chase.

The Arizona Cardinals, because they filled a key need by making Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie their first-round pick and because they got an excellent second-round value in Miami defensive end Calais Campbell. I also like the insurance they added at receiver in LSU's Early Doucet.

Question: Did safety Jamie Silva, from Boston College, get picked up by anyone after the draft? -- Dr. Joseph D., Columbia, Md.

The Indianapolis Colts signed Silva as a post-draft free agent. Although he is somewhat limited athletically, he does offer plenty in the way of intelligence and instincts. He figures to have a shot at landing a spot as a backup and could make a contribution in kick coverage, where he excelled in college.

Colts president Bill Polian wasn't kidding when he told reporters in Indianapolis recently that all of the players currently on the roster have a shot at making the team.

"It doesn't matter where you've been drafted, what school you went to, how much money your parents have, who your agent is, how many trees were killed writing about you in the pre-draft analysis, what Mel Kiper or any other expert thinks about you," Polian said. "It's all about what you do in this building, in the classroom, on the field, off the field, to measure up to the standards that the Colts have."

Question: There was an amazing run on offensive tackles this year. How does Jared Gaither, the Ravens' fifth-round supplemental draft pick last year, stack up with the choices other teams had in this year's draft? Was he worth giving up this year's fifth-rounder? -- David B.

I think he stacks up reasonably well. He is a candidate to replace Jonathan Ogden, presuming he follows through on his much-anticipated retirement, at left tackle. Those are massive cleats to fill, to be certain, but the fact Gaither is very much in the thick of the competition speaks well of his talent. At 22, he is pretty much as young as most of this year's rookies, so he can be judged in the same light, although he does have the advantage of having spent a full season learning in an NFL environment.

The two tackles the Ravens selected in this year's draft, Oniel Cousins of Texas-El Paso and David Hale, seem better suited to play on the right side.

Question: What are your thoughts on the Cowboys' draft? Do you like the free-agent acquisition of Texas Tech receiver Danny Amendola? -- James L.

I liked the Cowboys' draft. I especially liked the fact they did precisely what they set out to do in grabbing a running back (Felix Jones of Arkansas) and a cornerback (Mike Jenkins of South Florida) with their first two picks. Jones offers tremendous versatility as a runner and a receiver, both of which will be utilized to the fullest in Jason Garrett's offense. Jenkins is ready to make an immediate impact as well.

At 5-foot-10-plus and 182 pounds, Amendola isn't particularly large, which played a large role in his being passed over in the draft. However, he does have very good hands, he runs precise routes, he knows how to find openings in zone coverage, and despite his smallish frame, he is a willing and effective downfield blocker.

He does compare favorably to another former Texas Tech receiver, New England's Wes Welker, and could find a similar role as a third-down slot receiver. But Welker is a far superior athlete.

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