I can't say for sure that they didn't go into the 2011 NFL Draft with a plan to draft Christian Ponder all along. More likely, I suspect, they saw three quarterbacks come off the board in the first 10 picks -- Cam Newton first to Carolina, Jake Locker eighth to Tennessee, Blaine Gabbert 10th to Jacksonville -- and panicked, taking Ponder at No. 12.
Had they waited until their next time on the clock (No. 43), they might very well have been shut out. Ponder could have been gone, along with Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, and Minnesota could have been stuck with Ryan Mallett, Ricky Stanzi and T.J. Yates as their best quarterback options. And they still would have found themselves heading into the 2014 Draft needing a quarterback.
But they would never have learned the valuable lesson against reaching for a quarterback, a hard-earned piece of understanding that they have the chance to apply this year, when they will be tempted again to fill their biggest immediate need -- quarterback -- perhaps earlier than they should.
Whether or not they have the patience to wait for the right quarterback is the biggest question facing the Vikings heading into the 2014 Draft.