Whoa. Totally did not see this coming, but I LOVE this pick.
The Vikings moved up to the Houston Texans' spot at #51 to select the Heisman Trophy candidate out of Stanford. To make the move, the Vikings gave up their second round pick (#62 overall) and their third-round selection (#93 overall).
After the Vikings lost Chester Taylor this off-season, they needed someone to fill the backup RB/potential third down back role on the roster, and they couldn't ask for much more than what they got in Gerhart. Here's what SBNation's Mocking the Draft has to say about the newest Viking:
Acceleration/Burst/Quickness: Has the extra gear in open space to take advantage of defensive backs that take poor angles. Lacks the elite burst at the point of attack to explode through creases.
Ball Protection: Too comfortable with the ball in his right hand. Does a poor job of keeping the ball beneath his outside shoulder. Makes it easy for the defender to strip by keeping the ball towards the middle of the field.
Elusiveness/Feet/Agility: Does not miss a lot of hits in traffic. Does not make himself small through traffic, lacks wiggle. Light on his feet for a back his size. Can run with strong steps or dance with light feet when trying to get in to space.
Pass Catching: Was rarely used as a receiver. 39 receptions in 38 games. Has the ability to see the ball in to his hands.
Pass Blocking: Has the power to knock a blitzer off his feet. Strong technique as a blocker that delivers a pop, but also sticks to his man. Very reliable to make the smart decisions while protecting the quarterback.
Power: Has immense power with tremendous leg drive. Consistently pushed the pile forward. Is rarely knocked backward. Gets his weight moving forward and uses all of it to get the tough yards. Rips his way through arm tackles. Will take advantage of a high tackler by sticking his hat in to the defender’s numbers and driving him back. Hard to bring down with one tackler.
Size/Length/Hand Size: Big body that has balanced strength from head to toe. Stocky build that can handle 20+ carries week in and week out.
Speed: Has been clocked under 4.5 with a biased Stanford timer. Has enough game speed to be an every down runner in the NFL. Lacks the gear in the open field to run away from defensive backs with speed.
Vision/Balance/Running Instincts: Has plenty of experience starting off deep in the backfield and using his vision to break off long runs. Reads defenses well and anticipates running lanes. Knows when to lower the shoulder and get the tough yards. A very good situational runner.
Final Word: Despite spending four years at Stanford, Gerhart is considered an underclassman in draft standards because of a medical redshirt he used in 2007 as a result of a torn ACL in his left knee. Considering his upright running style and his disadvantage off the bat when it comes to NFL athleticism, teams will approach the All American’s draft status with caution. There is not doubt he has the ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact, two vital components to the running back position in the NFL, but his already damaged knee and lack of top tier athleticism will downgrade his stock. He will best be used in a system that allows him to carry the ball in certain situations rather then being depended upon to carry the ball every down. His intangibles are top notch and he is both a dedicated and accomplished two sport athlete that will enter the league as a guy that every coach wants on the field on way or another. He will get a shot as a tailback, but has the body and physicality to make the move to fullback in a pinch. If he works out well, Gerhart could be a top 45 selection.
This guy is a BEAST, and is going to fit in just fine for Minnesota. I like this pick a lot.