Is it that time already? Well at 2-9 it's safe to say that the 2011 Vikings season is technically over. While the next 5 games will allow us to get a closer look at promising rookies like Ponder and Rudolph, the reality is that we will be afforded more glimpses into what the TOA will need to do to right the ship and return the Vikings organization to the proud state it has been for so long.
I believe the areas that need to be addressed in the first four rounds of the upcoming draft are:
1. Offensive line
2. Defensive secondary
3. Defensive Tackle
4. Wide receiver
After the jump, my first mock of the season.
Round 1 (vikings currently selecting 3rd overall):
Matt Kalil*, OT, USC
Height: 6-7. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 5.01.
10/28/11: Kalil is putting together an excellent season for USC. He has done a fabulous job of protecting Matt Barkley's blind side. Kalil hasn't really gone against an elite pass rusher, but has shutdown everybody he's gone against. On the ground Kalil has been a strong run blocker. He has done nothing but solidify his stock at the top of the first round.
8/20/11: Matt Kalil is a top-flight left tackle prospect. His quality play kept Tyron Smith on the right side last year. Kalil did an excellent job of protecting Matt Barkley in 2010 and looks poised to build on that success in 2011.
Alternate pick: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
Height: 5-11. Weight: 188.
Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
9/27/11: Hayward has been a ballhawk to start the season, snatching four interceptions in four games. He also has 15 tackles with two tackles for a loss.
8/25/11: Casey Hayward had a massive 2010 season where he recorded six interceptions and 17 passes defended. He was second in the nation in pass break-ups and was an All-SEC second-team selection. Hayward also is a good run defender and finished with 70 tackles on the season. As a sophomore, he had 58 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss and seven passes defensed. Hayward has quality size and the very good ball skills needed to be a starting corner in the NFL.
Alternate picks: Kelechi Osemele, G/T Iowa St. , Devon Still, Penn St.
Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 202.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
11/28/11: Martin has 62 tackles with four tackles for a loss, 10 passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He has played very well for the Cowboys, and had a strong showing against Texas A&M in a big road win for Oklahoma State. Martin is a natural free safety who patrols the deep part of the field well.
Alternate picks: Josh Chapman NT, Alabama, Ray Ray Armstrong SS Miami, Jeff Fuller WR, Texas A&M.
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Height: 6-3. Weight: 305.
Projected 40 Time: 5.18.
11/11/11: Short has battled this season and doesn't have a lot of talent around him to help him produce. He has 42 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two blocked kicks. Short has a nice skill set. If he returns to school, he could improve his draft stock and push to be a second-day pick.
8/21/11: Kawann Short benefited greatly from Ryan Kerrigan the past two seasons, and now he takes over as Purdue's defensive leader. Last year, Short recorded six sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss. He also had 41 tackles with two blocked kicks. Short is strong, quick and athletic. At the Senior Bowl last year, Kerrigan was quick to tell Walterfootball.com that Short helped him to reproduce his success in 2010. Purdue does an excellent job of producing quality NFL defensive linemen and Short appears to be the next in line.
Alternate picks: Leonard Johnson, CB Iowa St., AJ Jenkins, WR Illinois.
*Measurables and player profile courtesy of walterfootball.com