I've never made a fanpost on here so bear with me and hopefully this goes ok
Spielman leading up to the draft said many different things to not tip his hand as to what he really wanted to do with his first pick. I wasn't sure what to think of this before the festivities started. Either he was indecisive or he was a mastermind that wanted to outthink the other teams. I was worried he would outthink this whole this and screw it up. No one was completely sure how this would go because prior to this they had the infamous triangle of authority. Most of the final decisions seemed to go along with what Childress thought. His strategy turned out to be completely different from past drafts and in a good way. Hindsight I think he’s more the mastermind that schooled his opposition, at least during this years draft. I know it’s too early but I think Wilf made a great choice in giving Spielman a shot at running the show.
I'll go over each pick after the jump.
In the first the Vikings put on quite a show and traded back a single spot giving Cleveland the third overall pick. In return they picked up Cleveland’s fourth overall and a 5th, 6th, and 7th rounder. We need as much help as we can get and this gave us 3 additional picks to play around with. With that 4th overall pick we still got the guy that besides the smokescreens, they and many of us wanted all along. Matt Kalil from USC should admirably fill arguably the most needed spot on the team for a decade to come and was the obvious choice. They could have gone with Claiborne, which would have been ok as he’s a great player, but Kalil was a better choice for reasons I won’t get into here. This pick has been debated and talked about all over the place before and after so that’s all I’ll say.
Later in a completely unexpected move, they trade their 2nd round pick (35 overall) and their own 4th rounder (98 overall) to Baltimore for the 29th overall pick. They took S Harrison Smith with that pick. I was hoping he would still be there for us to take in the second round but didn’t think there was much of a chance. Either did the Vikings as it is obvious now that this was a guy they wanted too and thought one of the teams in from of them would take him. Our passing defense was one of the laughing stocks of the leagues last year. Our safeties were probably the worst in the league as well. Now they could have stayed and found a CB at their second round choice Janoris Jenkins was available. To me in a Tampa 2 system, having quality safeties are a bit more important than having quality CB’s. Maybe” important” is the wrong word here, but CB’s generally let WR’s go and the deep stuff is the safeties responsibility. Plus we have Cook coming back and Winfield hopefully healthy too. On top of that this draft was very deep at CB. Anyway, it was obvious that we needed an upgrade in that department. We simply weren’t going to get much help later on in this draft so they went out and grabbed the guy they wanted. Smith was without a doubt the second best safety in this draft and best zone guy period. He should start immediately and prove a much needed boost to an abysmal unit. Many people said he would have been there when we picked in the second but I highly doubt it as there were teams in front of us that needed a safety. Excellent move by Spielman.
Next they picked CB Josh Robinson. I think this guy might be a bit of a steal. He’s an athletic, average size, extremely fast guy that can jump. This is a position we obviously needed some depth, this guy should supply that. Mayock said that he also has a potential to start whether or not he does on day one is tbd but he looked very good in zone coverage so I wouldn’t put it past the coaches if he impresses before the start of the year. This is a good pick and with coaching hopefully will be a difference maker down the road.
With the pick they received for moving down one spot in the first they grabbed Jarius Wright in the fourth (118 overall). At 5’10” he’s pretty short for a WR and fits more of the slot role. He definitely isn’t a prototypical WR but he’s fast, athletic and an excellent route runner. He knows how to find the open zones on the field as well. This was a guy I remember seeing in the combine. I got him confused with Kendall Wright (20th overall) when I was watching. They measure up pretty closely to each other besides Kendall weighting a bit more. Jarius was actually slightly better in the drills than Kendall which doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot, only that he has impressive physical tools. Jarius might be somewhat of a sleeper, he was very productive and unlike Kendall Wright, whom I’ve been comparing our pick to, didn’t have RG3 throwing to him.
Their second of three remaining 4th rounder’s (128 overall) they chose TE/FB Rhett Ellison. This was the only surprise to me in this draft. They have a bunch of FB’s and TE’s so they really didn’t need another. Maybe they are trying to create a competition at those positions and maybe they aren’t quite sold on some of the talent they already have there. With the Vikings desire to run 2TE sets they might feel as though they need additional TE’s too. Regardless of why, he if a heck of a blocker. A versatile H-back type that dare I say is going to attempt to fill the hole made by Kleinsassers departure…I did say “attempt”. He is also a good pass catcher and route runner. He isn’t fast or quick but should make it as our blocking TE or maybe as our lead blocker out of the backfield but seems too tall at 6’5” for that.
With their final 4th rounder (134) they took Wrights Arkansas teammate Greg Childs. This is a great time for gamble pick here. He has prototypical height at 6’3”, average speed and good hands with the ability to jump. The guy has all the physical tools and was on the Biletnikoff watch list in 2010 before the injury bug hit him. He’s someone that could have went much higher had he not been injured for much of his last two years in college. He also is considered a project mainly due to them injuries that could hold him back. The problem I have with him is the injuries he had but if he can stay healthy could be a good possession type receiver.
The Vikings continued looking to the future growth and building through the draft by trading their first 5th rounder (138 overall) to the lions for next year’s 4th rounder. With so many picks this year it’s a smart choice to get a higher pick next year. With the second 5th rounder (139 overall) they grabbed another CB Robert Blanton. A few sites including the NFL network thought he would go in the 3rd round. But after looking closer at this guy I can see why he dropped it’s because he’s sloooow, he ran a 4.7 40 yard dash at the combine. I don’t see this guy ever becoming a start due to that. While he might not be fast enough to start he does have prototypical size. He may make a good nickel CB down the road. He has the size to match up nicely to TE’s and should be a nice cover guy in the middle of a zone defense. He has long arms and is quick with good reaction time. He will probably need to work on technique when he gets in MN.
In the 6th (175 overall) they chose K Blair Walsh. It looks as though Ryan Longwells many years of quality service for the Vikings may be over. Longwell seemed to struggle at times last year by missing a couple usually automatic kicks. Walsh was one of the few kickers mentioned possibly being drafted before the draft. He’s a guy with an ability to make it from 60 yards out, and is accurate within 40. It remains to be seen if the Vikings will only use him for kickoffs right away and use Longwell for field goals, or if they will just give Longwell his walking papers. As much as I like him, it’s probably best to cut Longwell right away. It’s never a good thing for a kicker to have something else on his mind.
They had three 7th rounder’s to play with. With their first 7th (212 overall) they took Audie Cole. A nice pick, a bit of a steal to me. He’s a beast of a man that can take on blockers and shed them nicely. He’s not very fast but he’s quick (top 3 cone drill for position at combine) and tall with long arms, he’s also explosive. Had a very productive last two years for a smaller school, with a bunch of tackles, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles.
They traded the second 7th round pick they got from the Browns (211 overall) to the titans for the titans next year 6th rounder. Again, always nice to get a more valuable pick even if you have to wait a year for it.
With their final pick of this year’s draft (219 overall) they nabbed Trevor Guyton. This is a great value pick in the last round. He’s fast, strong, and explosive. Versatile, he played all positions along the line in college. In the NFL networks video of him on their site they thought he would go sometime in the 3rd round. I’m not sure why he went so much later it could be because he only produced on his final year in college. He adds some much needed depth at the DT position and looks good on tape.
I loved this year’s draft and is the best one that I can remember overall. We have had some great picks over the year‘s but they were usually followed by bone head decisions before or after said pick. This year was great from start to finish. It showed that Spielman may actually know what he is doing. With a bunch of injury prone short term FAs signed this offseason I was beginning to wonder. He has been saying he wants to build through the draft and if he keeps drafting like this, and the players turn out/don’t bust, I think he could turn us into a perennial powerhouse. He has givin the coaches some young talent now it's their turn to use it correctly. know it’s early to give him a ton of praise as this is his first time around but I haven’t been this excited about my Vikings since I’ve been a kid.
Well there it is, let me know what you think but being it’s my first time go gently on me guys :) I wanted to put more analysis on each guy but it took much more time than I thought it would. After doing this I have a new appreciation for the leaders of DA. This takes a lot of work to do and you guys do it well. Also like to add that the information I used was either from my head or the NFL network site.