Vikings find solid fit for West Coast offense in Booty

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The latest quarterback drafted from Southern California does not have a Heisman Trophy, but John David Booty certainly comes with plenty of polish.

The Minnesota Vikings moved up to draft Booty in the fifth round on Sunday, adding a player already familiar with their West Coast offense after five years under Trojans coach Pete Carroll.

Tarvaris Jackson need not worry about his job, but Booty - despite lesser credentials and fewer accomplishments than predecessors Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart - brings an accurate arm and a head start on coach Brad Childress' system.

"It's all the same stuff that all of these teams are doing in the NFL, so I think there's no question that it has benefited me for the next level," Booty said on a conference call with reporters.

Though Booty brings more of a pro-ready profile from USC than Jackson developed at Alabama State, the selection of Booty should actually further confirm Minnesota's commitment to Jackson.

The Vikings had the chance to take Louisville's Brian Brohm or Michigan's Chad Henne in the second round on Saturday, but they moved up to draft Arkansas State safety Tyrell Johnson instead.

As a late-rounder with a history of injuries and questions about his ability to throw deep, Booty will find himself challenging Brooks Bollinger for the No. 3 spot behind Jackson and backup Gus Frerotte.

Still, Childress and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman raved about Booty's accuracy and described an aggressive push to get him once the fifth round unfolded.

"A guy can throw it through a wall. He may have a (strong arm), but can he put it where it needs to be put at the time it needs to be put there?" Childress said. "That's what he does bring."

Minnesota swapped spots - No. 150 for No. 137 - with Green Bay and gave up a seventh-round pick in the process. Spielman said he discovered "three or four" other teams were chasing Booty while calling around for trade partners.

After all their trades were made, including the blockbuster that landed them Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen for three draft picks, the Vikings were left with five picks this year - four of them on Sunday. Later in the fifth round, they took Florida State defensive tackle Letroy Guion.

Guion started only 14 games over three seasons with the Seminoles, but family financial concerns prompted him to skip his senior year and declare for the draft. Guion, one of 36 players suspended by Florida State from the Music City Bowl game as a result of an academic cheating scandal, had 12 1/2 tackles for loss during his college career.

The 6-foot-4, 303-pound Guion was so excited to be picked he said he was shaking.

"I don't know what to do. I'm just happy that I made it," Guion said by phone with "the whole family and half of the church" hanging out in the background at his home in Florida.

"I can't hardly talk, I'm so nervous," he interjected at one point on a conference call.

In the sixth round, the Vikings selected center John Sullivan from Notre Dame with the 183rd pick and Jackson State receiver Jaymar Johnson at No. 193.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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