I am sure that after the new 3 day draft format, some are ready to be done with the draft. Especially those that weren't happy with every pick. Personally, I think they did quite well for themselves. Outside of the coaching clinic in Florida, Cook was the only player that the Vikings had for private workouts outside of Winter Park. And they had two of them. Clearly they were interested. A few days before the draft, the National Football Post reported (started a rumor) that a team in the back end of the first round was looking to draft Cook. NFB also reported after the draft that the Ravens tried to trade with the Rams to take Cook at the start of Day 2. Even I thought Cook would go in the middle of the 2nd round, but its possible the Vikings could have taken him at #30 and not had the picks to get all the players they wanted. Imagine how mad fans would have been if they took him at 30 instead of 34. But they moved down and avoided being out bid for his services while getting valuable picks later for a guy they clearly wanted. Not to mention the player they got fills a huge need for a taller CB in the rotation. The Vikings have been having trouble with taller receivers and there is a good one on just about every team in the NFC North. They might start with Winfield/Sheppard, but Cook will see playing time in rotation and probably start a few games over the course of the season. It would appear they got good value and a need.
Gerhart is such a stud, that he could easily be the number one back if not for that one guy who is already starting. Everyone playing Stanford knew they had to stop Gerhart if they wanted to win and teams still couldn't do it. The first guy never tackles him because he has enough wiggle and cutting ability to break ankles or usually he just runs them over. One thing I have been thinking about the RB depth since the loss of Taylor was that the Vikings needed a big presence to go along with the scat backs already behind Peterson. Gerhart is that punishing presence and he should keep AP fresh not only through the season, but extend his career as Gerhart brow beats defenses while AP takes a breather. If you still worry about his pass catching, check out the combine workout video below and consider that he was a centerfielder for the Stanford baseball team and a legit MLB prospect. He has experience with hand/eye coordination needed to catch footballs. A great selection that IMO keeps the Vikings in the discussion for best RB tandem in the NFL.
Griffen is going to be Ray Edwards Ver. 2.0. He is a physical freak with 1st round athleticism, but questions about his motivation and attitude. Edwards had the same profile coming out of college, but Griffen is a better overall athlete and will excel with the pro bowl group that is already there. Ray's comments and attitude this off-season points to him testing FA next season and the Vikes are better than covered if he takes a bloated contract and leaves. Griffen also plays immediately in rotation and on special teams. Great value for the team and in the 4th round.
The rest of the guys are what every 5th - 7th rounder has ever been, developmental guys that team scouts and coaching staff think can develop into contributors. Each one fills in a need: a OG/T that even when considered heavy runs a 5.1 40 going for a back-up role, a LB with size and special teams value, a WR that has the same scouting report of the #24 overall pick, Demaryius Thomas (raw route runners, size/athleticism) and combine numbers of a former #2 overall WR in Calvin Johnson, a developmental replacement for a aging blocking TE that will push the back of the TE depth for a roster spot, and a developmental FB because they can't keep signing Tahi to a one year contract every year. I think DeGeare (Cook moves into Hicks role, DeGeare into Cooks), Shuler (Might out play both Dugan and Mills), Tripplet (can beat Erin Henderson), and Webb (the size/speed screams special teamer this year while converting him to WR) could make the roster and D'Imperio could most likely get to the practice squad.
Next year's need become much smaller if these guys pan out. QB (obivously) and NT (SB or not Phat won't be around much longer) with depth at OL (possible McKinnie replacement and a position that should always be looked to improved), LB (Leber replacement, depth), and the secondary (value over Sapp/Sheppard/Williams). That's only two big needs and 3/4 other positions that just need depth and development. The links are to lists of next years FA at those positions. I am sure everyone can find one or two guys they think the Vikings could sign while using (and hopefully trading up) high draft picks on the two big needs while using FA to fill in the depth.
Sure you can be mad that your team didn't pick your guy or the value you thought they could have/should have got (if you haven't, please read Elgar's sonnet "Heads I win; Tails you lose"), but the Vikings found pieces to contribute immediately and in the future, something every team wants to say when they finish the draft. You can even be emotional because they didn't make a "splash" as you had hoped, but this is still a powerful Vikings team and once they get back to playing and winning you will forget about your draft day disappointment. Besides, this draft is over and you can start looking to the next draft! Here is a link to all currently available (i.e. seniors) 2011 Prospects and here are the top offensive junior prospects and the top defensive junior prosepcts. The horizon looks bright and training camp can't get here fast enough, so take some time to welcome the newest Vikings, watch some video on them, and dream of the future by having fun with the future FA/draft prospect lists.