Well, free agency is over right? Did it ever begin? Where were we when it happened? Oh snap! I must have forgotten about these signings ...
Player - Age at start of season - Position - Height - Weight - Grade
John Carlson 28 TE 6'5 251 - C grade. Considering he missed all of last year I cannot give this a higher grade. If he can catch 50 passes or more then it will be almost an A grade. He will need to improve on his blocking ability greatly for it to become a solid A signing.
Nicholas Taylor 23 PG/CB 5'10" 165 - Inc grade. I do not know what grade to give this signing although I am happy for the young man. He could surprise us all and make the team.
Jerome Felton 26 FB 6'0" 246 - C grade. The Vikings needed a real fullback as D'Imperio is kind of lost when running through the hole looking for someone to block. That is a skill that takes time to learn and is a reason why ex-linebackers do not usually make the transition from college to the NFL.
Letroy Guion 25 DT/NT 6'4" 303 - C grade. I do not know how this can be higher. They now want him to be the starting NT at 303 pounds. OK. I hope he is up to about 310 to 315 at least. But they really need bodies most of all and he is a body at the very least. In four years there is not much to get excited about that is for sure.
Fred Evans 28 DT 6'4" 305 - D+ grade. This is a mystery for me. He did not suit up for half the games in 2010 and then played in all the games last year (I think) and gets rewarded with a two year deal. He also has one sack for his entire 6 year career. Another body at the DT position.
Geoff Schwartz 26 OT/OG 6'6" 331 - C grade. He missed all of last year too. I hope he can provide some competition on the line and maybe even get a starting spot. If he starts and plays every game then this will be a B grade.
Lex Hilliard 28 FB/HB 5'11" 240 - C grade. Competition for Felton I guess. Hopefully one of the two can block. Kind of hard to get excited about either one of these two guys until you see them actually block someone.
Devin Aromashodu 28 WR 6'2" 201 - D grade. Signing him back was rather disappointing to say the least. He is now 6 years into his career and has 67 catches and 5 TDs. Another body to put out at WR. I do not see great things on the horizon. I do not see even average things on the horizon. I am praying for 50 catches which would be astounding for his career.
Erin Henderson 26 LB 6'3" 244 - C+ grade. I want to give this a higher grade but because the team waiting so long and then gave him a low ball offer IMO, I suppose he is not all that we (or PFF) thinks he is. Maybe because he was banged up a little last year the team wants to see him play all 16 games for once.
Zack Bowman 27 CB 6'1" 193 - C grade. Another player with an injury history. If he can stay healthy and produce like he did in 2009 (66 tackles, 10 PDs, 6 INTs) then this grade can be close to an A-.
Chris Carr 28 CB 5'10" 180 - C grade. He has had one OK season which was 2010 (61 tackles, 8 PDs, 2 INTs). That is it. He looks to be a veteran backup unless he beats out Bowman.
Bryan Walters 24 WR 6'0" 190 - C grade. A punt returner mainly who has a chance to make the roster.
Elimimian Solomon 25 LB 6'0" 227 - C grade. A CFL terror supposedly. He will be exciting to watch. Maybe he is a steal? If he can make the team on special teams that will move this grade up to a B.
McLeod John Baltazar Bethel-Thompson 23 QB 6'4" 230 - D grade. Practice squad most likely.
Overall this free agency period is barely a C grade right now. How can it be higher? After this season it could be higher for sure. But as of right now there are more questions than answers IMO. But that is OK. At least they are young.
So now to the draft. What should the Vikings do? There are some pretty good debates raging with the main one having to do with a top 5 LT not being a QB or something like that. I did not know left tackles were suppose to be QBs or pass rushing DTs. But if any of them can, Matt Kalil looks like he can. He already blocks field goals pretty well. Perhaps the Vikings can draft Kalil and put him at DT too? Let him go both ways. He is from Los Angeles after all.
All kidding aside. The debates are very interesting indeed, well written, and show the passion and knowledge that Vikings fans have for their team.
I am leaning away from picking Matt Kalil at the #3 spot as of right now. As a USC homer it is hard to even type those words. But I think that the offense is farther away than the defense. I think the defense can be pretty good with some key additions. I was hoping for a little more activity in free agency.
But if the Vikings can improve their secondary then the defense will be much better. They need a top CB and a top DT out of this draft IMO. There really are not too many safeties so they may have to get one later in the draft and sign one veteran free agent who gets released unexpectedly (Yeremiah Bell?).
I think we know what the first two picks will be.
1. Indianpolis Colts take Andrew Luck
2. Washington Redskins take Robert Griffen III
I think the Vikings are still in a pretty good position. I think there could be 3 or 4 teams that want to move up.
First, Miami probably is going to offer a deal to come up and get Tannehill. All signs point to him being their guy now that they lost out on everyone else. Considering Mike Sherman is their offensive coordinator and he coached Tannehill at Texas A&M, it makes too much sense. Even though they have Matt Moore and David Garrard they can still select Tannehill and groom him for at least one year. Both Moore and Garrard are on one year deals. Garrard is 34 years old as well.
The question is will Cleveland take him at #4. If they don't, would they be willing to move down to #8 and miss out on Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon, or Morris Claiborne (I think they go offense)? And would they be enticed to moving down further if Kansas City, Miami, or even Buffalo wanted to trade up? Also, Cleveland already has 13 picks in this draft (4,22,37,67,100,118,139,160,204,205,211,245,247). They can trade down and get another 2nd for sure. I also think they will be busy trading up.
Miami probably cannot take that chance since they missed out on Manning and Flynn. But I think Miami wants to be cheap and moving up to #3 will cost them their first and second this year plus their second next year or their first and third this year plus their first next year. I think they want to hang onto that first next year because they could be bad again and that pick could be a top 10 pick.
Second, I think Tampa is also going to want to jump ahead of Cleveland. I would move ahead of Cleveland for Trent Richardson. They have put together a pretty good line and adding a back like Richardson will give them a pretty strong one two punch with Blount. Here is an article where the Bucs GM is discussing strategy ... http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/bucs/content/after-signing-wr-jackson-g-nicks-and-cb-wright-bucs-say-they-will-monitor-free-agency-not-be
"I think we’re tired of rebuilding here,'' Dominik said. "That’s not who we’re trying to be. We want to be the best team we can be in 2012 and we know that these guys can help us become that, along with the players we have, along with the draft. And certainly, we know we’re not a finished product. But we certainly know our eyes are toward the NFL draft and what we can do with the fifth selection, whether we stay there, whether we move, whatever happens along with the other selections we have in that draft are really going to be the next moves and the next steps for this football team in terms of acquiring talent. That’s our goal. Today was a big day. I’m a big believer in quality and I think that’s what today showed. You can do it in different ways. We were going the quality way.''
So the Vikings trade the #3 pick (2200 points) to the Buccaneers for the #5 pick (1700 points), the #68 pick (245 points), WR Arrelious Benn, and a 2013 3rd round pick.
Tampa gets the best running back coming out to pair with LaGarette Blount who has put the ball on the ground too many times. They get to keep their second round pick and can use it to trade down if they want. The Vikings get a pretty good young WR who has not done much yet but will be entering his 3rd year in the league which is when most receivers make that jump. Benn is 6'1" 219 and ran a 4.40 forty. He could turn out to be lousy but he is worth a shot because the current Vikings WRs (besides Harvin and Jenkins) are not much better if at all. He dropped a lot of passes last year (8 in total out of 38 targets) so that is something to watch. He is worth being included in this trade IMO. The Bucs have VJack, Williams, Briscoe, Parker, and Stroughter. They may add another WR in this draft. Benn and Williams are both #2 type WRs while Parker and Stroughter are slot type guys.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Trent Richardson RB Alabama
Now Cleveland is up and I think they are pissed that Tampa jumped them to get Richardson because he would have been very nice in their backfield. They have been cheap this off season and got out bid by Washington already. They were not going to bid to move up to #3 because that is just how they do business. They were fooled yet again because they thought teams were calling to move up to get Tannehill. But they have their choice of 3 good players all of which will fill a need. They could snag Matt Kalil here and put him on the right side opposite Joe Thomas and have a pretty good line. Kalil is better suited for the left side and would be kind of overkill on the right side though. And who knows if he or his agent would be upset at having to play on the right side. It is not like Joe Thomas is going to walk away anytime soon barring injury. Playing Kalil at right tackle would hurt his chances at scoring a bigger contract once his rookie deal expires. Plus there are some nice options for right tackle later in the draft. Justin Blackmon would be very nice here too. But there are some other nice WR options that they can select at #22. Morris Claiborne would be great opposite Joe Haden. There could be a corner at #22. The question is will there be a corner at #22 vs a receiver at #22. Sheldon Brown is 33 too. They are in a tough spot for sure. Other teams are calling trying to move or just distract them. And I have not even mentioned Tannehill yet. I think the pick here is Justin Blackmon because he is going to help them out more than Claiborne at this point in time. Plus the CB franchise tag number this year was 10.6 mil vs 9.4 mil for WRs. Got to think about 4 years from now too.
4. Cleveland Browns take Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
Now the Vikings are back on the clock at #5. Matt Kalil is still there for the taking and Vikings fans are screaming bloody murder. But now I think Miami is really worried because some other teams like Kansas City, Seattle, or Buffalo can now move up to #5 easier. So Miami finally decides to shat and get off the pot.
The Vikings trade the #5 pick (1700 points) and the #138 pick (41 points) to Miami for the #8 pick (1400 points), the #72 pick (225 points), and the #73 pick (220 points). The Dolphins get hosed a little because they need that QB and for being cheap earlier.
5. Miami Dolphins take Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M
Now the Rams are up and they can still get two dang good players. I think they will not take a left tackle. I do not see Jeff Fisher taking a left tackle this early especially considering the Rams have a recent first round pick and a top of the second round pick on the team (no matter how much they have struggled). I think he meant what he said about Jason Smith and they are going to stick with him to see if he can stay healthy and play like a #2 pick. He may and probably will have to restructure his contract though. I think many feel Claiborne should be the pick but they signed Cortland Finnegan and had a gang of CBs hurt last year. I think they could go for a DT because they are hurting inside. They cut Fred Robbins and Justin Bannan. They could wait until the top of the second round though. Do they go for Michael Floyd here? I think they take Claiborne here. He is too good to pass up.
6. St Louis Rams take Morris Claiborne CB LSU
Now the Jaguars are up and it is really tense in the Vikings draft party room. The DailyNorseman is raging with fire and brimstone at this point. The fans are on pins and needles. They are so pissed at Spielman right now. If Kalil goes to the Jaguars the fans will blow the roof off the motha. The Jaguars could have used Justin Blackmon and they may be a team that would trade up for him as this is something they are not afraid to do. But they signed Laurent Robinson to a nice deal and will go with him next year. They probably will get another WR later but it is not a huge concern in the first round. They could decide to trade down though. Philly could be calling. The Eagles have two second round picks. But Jacksonville needs DEs badly. Quinton Coples is sitting there looking them right in the face.
But the unthinkable happens.
The Vikings trade Jared Allen to the Jaguars for the #7 pick and the Jaguars 2013 3rd round pick.
The draft party room is close to rioting and several fan boys have taken their Jared Allen jerseys off and now are balling like big babies bent over on their seats. The police (several) have been called just in case things get too out of hand. The Daily Norseman is raging and a new open thread has to be created because of the number of posts, most of which are vile.
Now the Vikings are on the clock for two straight picks. Meanwhile Philly is back on the phone and offers the Vikings a deal.
The Vikings trade the #7 pick (1500 points) to the Eagles for the #15 pick (1050 points), the #46 pick (440 points), and the #194 pick (17.8 points).
7. Philadelphia Eagles take Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State 6'4" 298 4.79
The Vikings draft party room is in a state of shock. The riot police have been called. The DailyNorseman's server is freezing up. The fans do not know what is next. I'll tell you what is next. The Seahawks want to move up to get a DE. They need one bad. Real bad and there is only one. So you know what happens next.
The Vikings trade the #8 pick (1400 points) to the Seahawks for the #12 pick (1200 points) and the #75 pick (210 points).
8. Seattle Seahawks take Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
9. Carolina Panthers take Matt Kalil OT USC
They need a right tackle because Jeff Otah only played in four games last year. Plus Jordan Gross turns 32 in July and is due 8.5 mil in 2013, 8.7 mil in 2013, & 6.7 mil in 2014. He only received a 5 mil signing bonus when he signed his 6 year 60 mil deal in 2009 so if they decide to release him prior to the 2013 season, they will only take a small cap hit. The Panthers are absolutely ecstatic at getting Kalil who many think is the best player in the draft after the two QBs. And he gets to play with his brother. I know I said all that about Kalil playing right tackle above but this situation is different. He would only play there one year before moving over to the left side. Or Jacksonville can have Gross move over now. With Joe Thomas on the other side he would be stuck at right tackle for a while.
The Vikings draft party room is now ready to blow up! The Vikings have let Matt Kalil pass by not once, not twice, not three times, but four freaking times. WTF is going on?
10. Buffalo Bills take Riley Reiff OT Iowa
11. Kansas City Chiefs take Dontari Poe DT Memphis
So now the Vikings are finally ready to make their first pick. They have picks 12,15,35,46,66,68,72,73,75,98,128,134,175,193,210,223 and an extra 3rd round pick in 2013.
12. Minnesota Vikings select Michael Brockers DT LSU
The draft party room is booing lustily now. There is no saving Spielman from the wrath of the fans. He may as well not even do a press conference (ever). What is the team doing? They pass on Dre Kirkpatrick? They pass on Michael Floyd? WTF is going on? Spielman is all smiles as he proclaims that Brockers was on top of his draft board above everyone. They have done nothing to address the DT position besides resigning the two backups from last year so this position must be addressed early. The writing is on the wall.
13. Arizona Cardinals select Michael Floyd WR (and the draft party room continues to boo lustily)
14. Dallas Cowboys select Mark Barron S Alabama (still more boos)
Now the Vikings are up again and the draft party room is about to explode. They do not know what to think. They are apoplectic over the boneheadedness of the moves thus far. They cannot believe Spielman passed on getting some help for the "wonder boy" who definitely needs all the help he can get. But Spielman does not care. He is doing it his way come hell or high water (not sure what that means but it feels like a good place to use that phrase).
15. Minnesota Vikings select Luke Kuechly LB Boston College 6'3" 242 4.5
The draft party is going ape you know what now. The riot police are moving in to quell the crowd. Christian Ponder just took out another life insurance policy. Where is the CB help you have been talking about? Where is the offensive line help? This is the worst day ever!
16. New York Jets select Melvin Ingram OLB South Carolina
17. Cincinnati Bengals select David DeCastro G Stanford
18. San Diego Chargers select Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
19. Chicago Bears Cordy Glenn G Georgia
20. Tennessee Titans select Peter Konz C Wisconsin
Now the Vikings call the Bengals and offer #35 and #66 for #21. The Bengals signed Jason Allen and Terrence Newman in free agency so are willing to move down.
21. Minnesota Vikings select Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina 6'0.4" 190 4.44
The draft party cannot believe their ears. This is beyond stupid. What is Spielman doing adding to the defense when the offense is in big big trouble? And why didn't he take Michael Floyd or Mark Barron? DT is set. We have Evans and Guion. The Vikings are seriously considering halting all beer sales at this point.
22. Cleveland Browns select Nick Perry DE USC
23. Detroit Lions select Mike Adams OT
24. Pittsburgh Steelers select Dont'a Hightower LB Alabama
25. Denver Broncos select Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State
26. Houston Texans select Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech
Now the Vikings call the Patriots and offer the #46 pick and the Vikings 2013 2nd round pick for #27. The Patritos are always willing to move down for extra future picks.
27. Minnesota Vikings select Jonathan Martin OT Stanford 6'5.3" 312 5.33
The draft party room breaths a small sigh of relief as at least the Vikings picked up one player who supposedly can play left tackle (he can).
The first day is on the books and the Vikings Draft party room is dispersed as quickly and quietly as possible. There were a couple of "don't taze me bro" comments heard though. But pepper spray proved to be adequate.
Now the Vikings have these picks remaining 68,72,73,75,98,128,134,175,194,210,&223 heading in to day two.
So now we are ready to get back at it. The natives (yes that would be some of you) have returned and they want results. They are not happy at all and some are still crying over Jared Allen and what they will do with that worthless jersey now.
And we're off.
The Vikings trade #68 & #98 to Atlanta for #55. Atlanta does not have a 4th and only 6 picks overall so they are willing to move down.
55. Minnesota Vikings select Mohammed Sanu WR Rutgers 6'1.4" 211 4.46
And the draft party is really mad now. They thought this trade up was for Harrison Smith. No chance. He was gone thankfully. The Vikings add another very productive receiver with good size that is an excellent blocker already.
72. Minnesota Vikings select Jared Crick DE Nebraska 6'4.1" 279 4.94
The Vikings have to try and replace Allen somehow. They will use Robison and Griffen on the right side and play Ballard and Crick on the left side.
73. Minnesota Vikings select Mitchell Schwartz OT/OG California 6'5.3" 318 5.31
Another wise move by the Vikings. They get a guy who can play right and left tackle and possibly replace Loadholt after this season. Maybe they try him at guard?
75. Minnesota Vikings select George Iloka FS Boise State 6'3.5" 225 4.59
Now the Vikings have a safety who has very nice size and could be just as good as Smith (good enough for me at least).
128. Minnesota Vikings select T.Y. Hilton WR Florida International 5'9.5" 183 4.37
Hilton will play in the slot and is a pretty good return guy. I almost put Devon Wylie here but Hilton has more production.
134. Minnesota Vikings select Brandon Hardin CB/FS Oregon State 6'2.5" 216 4.38
One of my favorites in the draft who could go earlier after running a 4.38 or low 4.4s in the forty.
175. Minnesota Vikings select Travis Lewis LB Oklahoma 6'1.3" 253 4.75
For some reason Lewis is dropping but he played hurt last year (broke his foot in the first game and came back early) and was never 100%. Then he put on weight for the combine and his pro day which slowed him down. A player like that who was projected to be a first round pick before last year is a pretty good pick right here. He is going to have a chip on his shoulder which I like.
194. Minnesota Vikings select Adrien Hamilton DE Prairie View A&M 6'2.4" 250 4.81
A monster in the SWAC conference. 20.5 sacks, 28.5 tackles for loss, and 5 forced fumbles. A pass rushing demon!
210. Minnesota Vikings select Chigbo Anunoby DT Morehouse 6'4" 325 5.40
A huge wide body that can be developed to eventually back up Brockers or even start next to him.
223. Minnesota Vikings select Greg Zuerlein K Missouri Western State 6'0" 189
One of the best kickers out there with a huge leg. Time for Longwell to hit the road. Worst case is they keep two kickers. I say why not. If they are going to keep Eric Frampton who can only play special teams then I would rather have a guy that can kickoff instead. I think that would make more of a difference.
I like these UDFAs ...
Darren Thomas QB Oregon 6'3" 215 4.58
Dale Moss WR South Dakota 6'3" 213 4.38
Desmond Marrow CB/SS Toledo 6'2.2" 202 4.53
James Carmon OT/DT Mississippi State 6'7" 330 5.43
Chris Galippo LB USC 6'1.4" 241 4.66
DJ Campbell FS Cal 6'0" 201 4.54
Well there it is. A crazy draft and five trades in the first round is pure fantasy for sure. Or is it?
I think the first trade is definitely a very possible trade and one that is most likely to happen. Many feel that the team that trades with the Vikings will be looking to come get Tannehill. I think that Tampa really wants to get Richardson and they know if they do not come up to #3 then Cleveland is almost a lock to take him at #4. If I am Cleveland that is who I would take.
The second trade down is one that may seem unrealistic but again, I think that Miami is going to be chomping at the bit at that point. They cannot wait any longer or another team may feel it is more feasible to move up to #5.
Obviously the Allen trade is pure fantasy. If Jacksonville would give up the #7 for Allen then I would definitely jump all over that move. I love Allen as much as everyone else but the rebuild is going to take a couple of years at least and while he conceivably can still be going fairly strong it is also conceivable that he could start to decline. I am trading him right now if I could.
I think Philly does like Cox though. A lot. And a move from 8 to 15 could happen too.
I will have other mocks before the final one. This was just for fun. :)