Sorry for the delay on this, folks. . .but, better late than never.
As I've said numerous times since the draft ended, I very much dislike the concept of "grades" this early in the process. But, lots of people do like them, and so we present a round-up of some of the grades that various folks across the internet have given our favorite football team for their selections this past weekend. Most of them speak pretty favorably of the Minnesota Vikings, but there are a couple of outliers as well. No particular order on these, save for where the pop up in the Google.
First up is Nate Davis of USA Today, who gave the Vikings a C+ for their selections.
Floyd, viewed in some quarters as the best defensive player in the draft, dropped to them at No. 23, quite a heist for a team with an aging D-line. CB Xavier Rhodes (No. 25) has his flaws but is built to battle big WRs such as Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall. However as enviable as it appears on the surface to have three first rounders, did the Vikings really do the right thing by turning over a second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round pick to get WR Cordarrelle Patterson, who comes with quite a few question marks (along with great physical tools), at No. 29? Time will tell.
Apparently Mr. Davis thinks the Vikings' draft stopped after the first round. No biggie.
Next, we get to Rotoworld, where writer Evan Silva also doesn't appear to be a big fan of Minnesota's picks, giving them a B-.
Keep in mind GM Rick Spielman dumped game-changing slot receiver and return specialist Percy Harvin for the 25th and 214th picks, in addition to a 2014 third-rounder. That deal must be factored into Minnesota's grade. Spielman acknowledged the big loss and responded by targeting big-play ability from his hat trick of first-rounders. Floyd is a penetrating three-technique tackle ideally suited for Leslie Frazier's 4-3 scheme. The Vikings paired Rhodes (6-foot-2, 210) with Chris Cook (6-foot-2, 212) to form one of the NFL's biggest, longest corner duos as they attempt to slow Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery in the NFC North. The Patterson pick at the very least offsets Harvin's special teams value because Cordarrelle offers similar game-breaking return skills and arguably just as much receiving upside. Patterson is a freak. I liked athletic mover Baca as a late-round value.
Let's take a look at Fox Sports next, where they had three people giving out grades. The consensus from the three of them was pretty good, with the Vikings garnering an A, an A-, and a B.
Floyd Engel: (A) Two words - Sharrif. Floyd. If he really fell because he had T-Rex arms, joke is on the 22 who passed. Steal of the draft.
Marvez: (B) Minnesota's first two selections (University of Florida defensive tackle Floyd and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes) will be starting by the 2014 season. I'm not as sold on the team's other first-round pick in Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Schrager: (A-) The Vikings stayed put with the 23rd and 25th picks, got the guys they wanted, and then made a power move to get an exciting playmaker at receiver in Patterson. Did the Vikings give up a lot for Patterson? Possibly. But the JUCO-turned-Tennessee star will strike fear in the hearts of his NFC North opponents.
Over at the Sporting News. . .which, apparently, still exists. . .the Vikings got high marks as well, coming out of the weekend with an A-.
The thing about their three first-rounders taken in the 20s - Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson - is that they all were considered top-dozen picks at some point. Floyd fits as a run stopper in their 4-3 to a tee, and likewise, Rhodes' size and zone coverage ability works just as well on the back end for Leslie Frazier. After having no scary outside threats last season, the Vikings go to a Patterson-Greg Jennings combination. They've come out aggressive to boost their playoff status
Over at the ESPN In$ider, Mel Kiper gives our favorite football team a solid B, with an A- under "needs" and a B- under "value," whatever those things mean.
The Vikings got a gift when Sharrif Floyd fell to them at No. 23. We heard going into Thursday that he might tumble a little, but that was a pretty big drop. My guess is they'll rotate him in with Kevin Williams, who will be 33 when the season starts. The top two needs on my board for the Vikings were wide receiver and cornerback, and that's where they went with the next two picks. Xavier Rhodes at No. 25 made sense, because several teams after that could have targeted corner. The Vikings then gave up a tremendous amount to move into Round 1 again at No. 29 overall, where they got Cordarrelle Patterson. He needs work in terms of learning how to play the position, but Patterson is a player who can create explosive plays once he gets the ball, which is what they lost when they dealt Percy Harvin. Thing is, Patterson needs to work out because they sent New England a few picks to get him. But the strategy makes sense: They saw a chance to add a starter and took it. Jeff Locke was the best punter available, so I don't mind the use of a fifth-round pick to get him. Gerald Hodges, who they took at No. 120 overall, could push to start at middle linebacker. Hey, they got starters, but they needed to add impact in this draft considering they dealt Harvin and had a few pretty big needs. I also thought they should've found a way to get their hands on Manti Te'o in this draft.
Rob Rang over at CBS Sports really likes what the Vikings did, too, giving them an A.
Having traded away wide receiver Percy Harvin and losing cornerback Antoine Winfield via free agency (both to Seattle), the Vikings needed to make a splash in the draft to settle an angry fan base. That's precisely what they did, using their first two picks in the first round (No. 25 overall acquired in the Harvin trade) and then aggressively moving back up in the round to nab a dynamic playmaker to fill his role. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was an absolute steal at No. 23 overall who fell, it seems, simply because he possesses shorter-than-ideal arms. This didn't stop him from terrorizing the SEC, and it won't stop him from proving a standout early in his career with the Vikings. Xavier Rhodes, selected two picks later, has the length and athleticism to help cover the terrific receivers in this division, including Cordarrelle Patterson, whom the Vikings took with their third pick of the first round. Much bigger but just as athletic as Harvin, expect Patterson to serve in a similar multi-purpose capacity as the former Vikings standout. Due to their trade up for the SEC's all-purpose yardage leader, the Vikings didn't have a pick in the second or third rounds but used their selections on Day Three to great success, nabbing two underrated linebackers out of Penn State in Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti as well as versatile UCLA offensive lineman Jeff Baca. Don't be surprised if all three wind up competing for starting jobs early in their careers. I expect as many as six of the Vikings' 2013 selections to ultimately play significant roles for this club, which makes Minnesota one of the big winners this year.
Last, but not least, the folks from Walter Football gave the Minnesota Vikings another high mark with an A-.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: It's all about replacing recently departed players for the Vikings. Percy Harvin was traded, so a receiver is needed despite the signing of Greg Jennings. Antoine Winfield was released on March 12, so a replacement has to be found. Pat Williams hasn't been around since 2010, but Minnesota still hasn't found his replacement. Jasper Brinkley leaving for Arizona has created an even larger hole at middle linebacker, but this was an area that had to be addressed when he was on the roster.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: I don't think the Vikings ever imagined that Sharrif Floyd would be available to them at No. 23. Expected by many to go third overall, Floyd's draft-day tumble was inexplicable. Minnesota now has the potential to be as strong in the interior as it was in the Williams Wall days.
The Vikings' other two first-rounders were also solid. Xavier Rhodes fills a need at corner, while Cordarrelle Patterson has tons of upside. Patterson could very easily be deemed a bust in the future - and he'll never reach his full statistical potential because of Christian Ponder's limitations - but he's worth the risk. I'm normally not crazy about teams moving up, but Minnesota could afford it because it had tons of other picks.
Speaking of the other selections, I was a huge fan of what the Vikings did on the third day, save for their pick of punter Jeff Locke. The best choice was Michael Mauti. He was regarded as a second- or a third-round prospect prior to tearing his ACL. If he can recover, he could definitely be in the starting lineup come 2014.
Minnesota did a very good job this weekend. It fill needs with quality talents and only really reached for one player.
So there you go, folks. Feel free to discuss the grades we've rounded up here, and any other grades that you may have seen across the internet that you feel deserve a mention.