Even though I've already put out the best and most accurate grade for the Minnesota Vikings' 2012 draft class, there are even more outlets that are putting their feelings out there about it as well. There are even a couple that. . .gasp. . .didn't like the Vikings' draft as much as we all seem to.
But let's start our second look around with a place that did, because that's a lot more enjoyable. This time we'll start with the folks at SI.com.SI.com gave the Vikings an "A" for their selections this weekend, one of only three teams that scored an "A" or better. The San Diego Chargers got an A, and the Cincinnati Bengals got an A+, though there were a smattering of A- grades as well.
You can dock Minnesota if you think Claiborne should have been the pick at 4 over OT Matt Kalil. I think the Vikings did the right thing, and their subsequent pickups of S Harrison Smith (29), CB Josh Robinson (66) and WR Jarius Wright (118) just add to that belief.
One of the people that wasn't completely enamored with what Minnesota did over the weekend is John Czarnecki of Fox Sports. He gave the Vikings one of their lower marks, that being a B-.
General manager Rick Spielman did an impressive job getting extra picks for his top spot and still ended up with tackle Matt Kalil. The USC lineman fills a huge need at left tackle because Christian Ponder was pummeled last season. ... They moved back into the bottom of the first round to land Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, considered by many as the second-best safety behind Alabama's Mark Barron. ... Sticking with Golden Domers, cornerback Robert Blanton has the ability to shift to safety and deal with the bigger tight ends popping up around the NFL. ... USC's Rhett Ellison, son of ex-Raider Riki Ellison, is a tremendous blocking tight end. He's also a big target in the red zone. ... In the late rounds, Greg Childs of Arkansas is a big-body receiver with decent speed. ... Georgia kicker Blair Walsh has value, averaging 4.4 hang time on his kickoffs and converting 76.25 of his field goals over his final three seasons. But what does Walsh mean for Ryan Longwell? ... Inside linebacker Audie Cole of North Carolina State has very limited range.
It got a little bit worse at NBC Sports, where writer Evan Silva gave the Vikings a C+ mark.
Minnesota acquired fourth-, fifth-, and seventh-round picks "for free" when it moved down one spot in Thursday's Trent Richardson trade. The Vikings then sent Nos. 35 and 98 to Baltimore to draft Smith with the 29th pick. GM Rick Spielman picked up 2013 fourth- and sixth-rounders in deals later on.
While accumulating selections is always a plus, and the Vikings made the right call on Kalil over Claiborne, a majority of the other players acquired have too many question marks for comfort. Smith is really an in-the-box safety, and those are rarely worth first-round draft picks. Childs may never be right after a 2010 patella tendon tear. Wright, Robinson, and Kalil were the class of this haul.
Beyond Kalil and perhaps Smith, however, the Vikings didn't get a single surefire year-one difference maker. Spielman could have used his picks better.
So now we have opinions from all these different sources, but I want to see what you folks think. So, if you want to grade the Vikings' draft and/or discuss why you would give it that grade, please feel free to do so.