It's impossible to grade a draft until years later, but what fans want to know right away is how well the Vikings seem to have done. In my opinion, they get a C-. In contrast, the 2009 draft was an A from the very beginning thanks to Harvin, Loadholt, and Brinkley.
The Vikings began the draft with all seven of their picks, plus a 5th round compensatory pick. With Pouncey, Iupati, McCourty, Kareem Jackson, Kyle Wilson, Sean Weatherspoon, and other top players off the board, the Vikings traded down with the Lions. Subsequently, the Vikings traded away their own 2nd and 3rd round picks for the Houston Texans' 2nd round pick.
Let's consider all the draft picks by round.
2 - Chris Cook, CB, Virginia - A tall defensive back good in zone coverage who needs to add muscle and improve tackling technique.
2 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford - Almost won the Heisman Trophy. Upright runner who might take a pounding, but has the speed and determination to be great in the NFL.
4 - Everson Griffen, DE, USC - First round talent with off-field concerns and on-field consistency questions.
5 - Chris DeGeare, G/T, Wake Forest - Large, strong lineman. At 6'4, 325 lbs, he could stand to lose weight, or exchange bad weight for muscle. He was Wake Forest's best pass protector, and still has lots of room to improve his game. At this point, he does not appear to be ideally suited for the traditional zone-blocking scheme, although the Vikings run their own variant of that scheme, so maybe he fits in well with our scheme.
5 - Nate Triplett, LB, Minnesota - Good football player who could contribute on special teams and possibly develop enough to play defense in the pros.
6 - Joe Webb, QB/WR, UAB - Good college quarterback with elite athletic ability who will probably switch to wide receiver.
7 - Mickey Shuler, TE, Penn State - Good blocking tight end who won't add much if anything to the pass attack.
7 - Ryan D'Imperio, LB/FB, Rutgers - A player very similar in many aspects to Triplett, except he's a little faster and might become a fullback.
The Vikings met most of their needs. There were no defensive tackle, quarterback, or backup left tackle selected however. Griffen will stay at defensive end. DeGeare is a guard or right tackle. Webb will be a wide receiver. The players will add depth to the Vikings. Each player looks like he has potential. Drafting a Minnesotan who played college in Minnesota is a big deal as this will help cement community ties. While the Vikings didn't draft a safety (other than Chris Cook who might switch to safety), they are probably moving players they already have (Winfield) around already.
The "C-" grade comes from what appears to be bad draft management. I don't think the Vikings went into the draft with Chris Cook at the top of their wish list. I think they traded down from #30 thinking they would get a flood of lucrative offers to trade down. Instead they got no reasonable offer. Then, to get Gerhart, who probably was at the top of their 2nd round wish list, they had to sell some crown jewels to get him, sacrificing both the 2nd and 3rd round picks.
Rick Spielman also liked getting Detroit's 4th round pick because of the opportunity to trade down to the opening of the draft's third day. Instead, no reasonable offers were made, and then the Vikings drafted a defensive end, which appears to be a stocked position. Subsequently, about 60 players came off the board until the Vikings had a 5th round pick, and by then a run on offensive linemen had already occurred. DeGeare, who had only received a few phone calls from the Vikings, was drafted.
Reading between the lines, the Vikings probably could have traded the 4th round pick along with the 2nd to Houston for Toby Gerhart. Had they done so, Rennie Curran would have been available at the bottom of the 3rd round. Instead the Vikings wanted to keep their 4th round pick for the mystical reason that it was earlier in the day.
In retrospect, the Vikings could have drafted like this, without making trades
1 - Toby Gerhart
2 - Amari Spievey (or Jerome Murphy), CB
3 - Rennie Curran, WLB (or Everson Griffen)
4 - Mitch Petrus
5 - Carlton Mitchell
In the end, I think the players we got all are going to play important roles on the team and add depth. That is the main thing. Based solely on the two trades backfiring, however, I have to grade this draft as a C-. Now I hope this draft class goes out there and proves this punk Internet commenter wrong.