In the 2013 draft, the Vikings made the following selections:
- #23. Sharrif Floyd, DT/DE, Florida
- #25. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
- #29. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/RB, Tennessee
- #120. Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
- #155. Jeff Locke, P, UCLA
- #196. Jeff Baca, C/G, UCLA
- #213. Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State
- #214. Travis Bond, G/T, North Carolina
- #229. Everett Dawkins, DT/DE, Florida State
Undrafted Free Agents
- Colin Anderson, TE, Furman
- Brandan Bishop, FS, North Carolina State
- Duron Carter, WR, Alabama
- Nicholas Edwards, WR, Eastern Washington
- Darius Eubanks, FS, Georgia Southern
- Erik Highsmith, WR, North Carolina
- Zach Line, FB, SMU
- Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State
- Rayon Simmons, RB, Winona State
- Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State
- Collins Ukwu, DE, Kentucky
- James Vandenberg, QB, Iowa
- Camden Wentz, C, North Carolina State
- Jamaal White, SS, Northwestern State (LA)
- Jerodis Williams, RB, Furman
- Nathan Williams, DE/OLB, Ohio State
Simply put, this has the potential to be an epic draft and free agent signing. Most of our draft picks have excellent opportunities to make the team.
Punter. Due to Chris Kluwe's high national profile in the media, the Vikings' punter competition has lots of attention. Along with nine-year Viking Kluwe, the competition will include Jeff Locke and TJ Conley. Kluwe has become very skilled, and had only two touchbacks in the entire 2012 season. Nevertheless, he doesn't have the leg strength to boom a 55- or 60-yarder anymore when the Vikings need it. Additionally, Kluwe is coming off a surgery. This, plus Kluwe perhaps becoming a distraction in the locker room, led to the Vikings bringing in Locke and Conley to create competition.
Defensive Line. Despite the Cowboys, Giants, Falcons, and Bears all needing a three-technique defensive tackle, they all passed on Sharrif Floyd. As soon as the Vikings were on the clock for the 23rd overall pick, they sprinted to the podium, and Sharrif Floyd was a Viking. Only 20 years old, Floyd won't start ahead of Kevin Williams, but he will get plenty of playing time. KWill has a highly talented young man to mentor in the last year of his renegotiated contract. Considering the many talents of Kevin Williams, I believe the Vikings will look for him to show signs during the 2013 season that he is willing and able to take over the nose tackle spot. If he does, the Vikings would need to give him a contract extension, lengthening KWill's illustrious Vikings career. It seems likely that Everett Dawkins, a raw talent with great upside, will end up on the practice squad for 2013, but nothing is set in stone yet.
Cornerback. Xavier Rhodes will be a great addition to the Vikings. He will join
three two other cornerbacks who are 6'0 or taller (Cook, Jefferson, and Robinson) (Hat tip to maxskol). Rhodes is more of a physical cornerback who has man-to-man coverage skills. This pick will give the defense additional flexibility and unpredictability.
Wide Receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson is a boom or bust pick. Spielman chose to trade up in front of the Cowboys to take him, but there was a cost. The Vikings gave up their 2nd round pick, and had to sweeten the deal for the Patriots with their 3rd and 4th rounders, and a 7th rounder. Patterson has a world of ability. He is the Vikings's main hope to make defenses pay when they constantly blitz to stop Peterson. The combination of Peterson, Patterson, and Jennings (and Rudolph) could create a devastating offense. The concern with Patterson is that success has happened too fast for him, and he is receiving too much praise for his handful of accomplishments. He is only a year removed from junior college, and already there is a sign he has arrogance. Gil Brandt of the Sirius NFL Network reported that as the Vikings were talking on the phone with him to arrange air transportation to Winter Park, Patterson said "Make sure it's first class." Integrating Patterson into the team will take a lot of effort by Patterson and the coaches.
The free agent signing of Duron Carter has great potential. The Vikings didn't have to sign him, despite his father's Ring of Honor career with the Purple. Duron Carter has earned his opportunity to compete because of his football abilities. He bounced around from college to college. Like most young men in their early 20s, he has growing up to do. If DC can work hard and stay focused all day long at the facility, he could be the #3 or even #2 wide receiver by season's end, or maybe next season. That's an amazing statement for a kid with 12 catches in (FBS) college football. On the other hand, if DC does not commit to this opportunity, he could end up on the couch wondering what happened to his career. I am cheering for him. It's not easy being the son of a legend, and he will need to become his own man to realize his potential.
Linebacker. Gerald Hodges could end up with lots of playing time for the Vikings this season or next season. He has great talent. While has a number of flaws in his game, they are correctable. If he responds to the Vikings linebacker coaching group, it will be really fun to watch Hodges make plays. He has a legitimate shot to win the WLB starting job.
Michael Mauti will walk into Winter Park as a rookie with everything to prove. Depending on a lot of things, he could eventually grow into a starter at MLB and the leader of the defense. Regardless of how it works out, the Vikings were smart to draft a linebacker with leadership qualities. That kind of linebacker has been a need of the defense for a while.
Quarterback. My expectation is that Ponder will win any competition, and continue starting for the Vikings. Matt Cassel will be the backup. That will leave the #3 position as an open battle between Joe Webb, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, and James Vandenberg. While anything could happen, I believe MBT has a very real chance to displace Joe Webb from the roster. I would guess that Vandenberg has a shot, but probably can't beat out MBT.
Right Offensive Guard. For the starting position at right guard, I anticipate an open competition between Brandon Fusco and every offensive lineman on the squad with a name other than Matt Kalil, Charley Johnson, John Sullivan, or Phil Loadholt.
Backup Running Back. Considering Gerhart's paltry 3.4 yards per carry average in 2012, it wouldn't surprise me if the Vikings held an open competition for the backup running back spot. Gerhart could even be traded.
The Vikings are bringing a number of potential superstars and great role players into their rookie camp. We'll see what happens, but for Vikings fans at this early juncture, the 2013 draft and undrafted free agency signing feels great.