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Minnesota Vikings 2012 Draft Review

The Vikings entered the 2012 draft with 10 picks (3,35,66,98,128,134,138,175,210,223). They had a ton of needs on the team most notably LT, CB, S, and WR. But LB & DT were not too far behind. Basically, the team could not go wrong in whatever approach they took because the players would have been needed.

There was a lot of discussion about if the Vikings should pass on Matt Kalill and take Morris Claiborne. I do not believe there were too many proponents of the Vikings taking Justin Blackmon. I shifted over to the Claiborne camp right around after the combine. I think it would have worked out OK too since the linemen lasted until late in the second round. Maybe Kalil is really that much better than all the rest? We shall see.

As a USC homer it did not hurt me in any way, shape, or form despite what some might believe. I wanted to really have a great discussion about the merits of taking each player. And I think the people who post here at the DailyNorseman proved that they were knowledgeable and passionate about the direction they felt the team needed to take this year in this obvious rebuild of the roster. I think everyone who participated in the discussions should be applauded for their passion first and foremost. And there was quite a bit of knowledge dropped in those discussions too.

In the end we are all Vikings fans first so that is a good thing no? It sure helped having those discussions while we were waiting for the actual draft.

Now about that draft ...

Obviously grading drafts is becoming something that many people do not want to do because it is way too early. But I think that is a cop out. You can grade it based off consensus rankings, trades made, needs filled, and the whole BPA vs NEED strategy. Of course it is not the final grade but it is OK for now. It means nothing but maybe it will generate some conversation and excitement.

First let me say I am a man of "intemperate disposition" during the drafts. I have a lot of passion for the draft and spend a lot of time looking at college football players and trying to figure out which ones could be good professionals. I really do not care about the fit in the "system" because that "system" could get replaced with another "system" before a rookie even finishes his first contract.

So I usually bemoan all the picks for some unknown reason. It really would probably be best for me if I did not even bother watching the draft and I really shouldn't be involved in discussions while it is happening. At the same time I was messing around with y'all a little during the draft. :) Maybe it was the beer. I think so. I enjoyed it though.

I will start discussing that trade down from #3 to #4. The Vikings received the Browns picks #118, 139, &211 to drop down one spot. Under the old draft value trade chart the difference was 400 points. This trade amounted to 109 points under that old chart. came out with a modified version( and the trade amounted to 325 points under that chart.

Regardless of any trade chart it was worth dropping down to get those extra picks. No question about that and Spielman should be applauded for that move. I do not agree with the talk that he pulled the wool over the Brown's eyes. I do believe that Tampa was in the mix too. I do not believe Spielman would lie because teams can find out later. Then Spielman will develop a reputation around the league as someone who is not honest. I do not think he wants that because he wants to be able to do trades with all the teams in the future. Holmgren came out and said that he wanted Heckert and Crennel to do whatever it took to get Richardson. I think it was a very very wise move on the Browns part too because they had plenty of picks and needed the best RB in this draft (on paper).

So now onto the picks ..

1.3 - Matt Kalil OT USC 6'6.5" 306 || 34 1/2" arms || 10 3/8" hands || 4.96 forty || 1.70 at ten yards || 4.65 short shuttle || 7.33 3 cone || 27" vertical || 30 reps on the bench press

He was a consensus multiple All American in 2011 and won the Pat Morris Trophy for the best offensive lineman in the PAC 12 last year. He has been mentioned by several scouts to be the best offensive lineman to come out since Joe Thomas and Jake Long. He is often compared to Joe Thomas too. It does not matter who is like though. He is not like Charlie Johnson and that is what matters the most.

This pick obviously gets and A++. It gets two plusses because of the trade down and because Kalil is an immediate starter and because he went to USC!

The Vikings decided to trade up into the first round at the end of round one. They traded pick #35 and #98 to Baltimore for pick #29. Under the old chart the Vikings ended up with a negative 14 points in the trade. Under the walterfootball chart they ended up with a negative 150 points. walterfootball's chart gives more value to mid round picks. What can you do? It could be the Ravens use the old chart or that they drove a hard bargain. Maybe if Spielman insisted on the #118 pick the Ravens could have countered by asking for one of our 5th round picks or our 6th round pick. I think Spielman decided that it was worth it to get the guy he really wanted and that he would just keep those extra picks to have room to manuever. I wish he could have done the trade giving up #118.

1.29 - Harrison Smith S Notre Dame 6'1.7" 213 || 32 5/8" arms || 10 1/4" hands || 4.54 forty || 4.12 short shuttle || 6.63 3 cone || 34" vertical || 10'2" broad jump || 19 reps on the bench press

This pick was a solid pick. It will be debated for years about whether or not it was worth the trade up, if Smith is really a first round caliber safety, and if he would have been there at #35. I was not a fan of Smith in the second round at any point prior to the draft. I thought they should have went with a defensive tackle (Jerel Worthy would have been nice) in round 2. But Smith has excellent measure-ables. His 3 cone is outstanding. His forty is good for a safety and he has long arms. Here is what cbssports said about him ...

... and they had him ranked #46 . So all in all it was not a bad pick at all and in fact was an good pick considering the state of the Vikings safeties. Obviously this was not a BPA pick. It was a need pick. But that is OK.

The players that were still available were Stephen Hill, Reuben Randle, Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, Kendall Reyes, Jonathan Martin, Amini Silatolu, Zach Brown, Bobby Wagner, Alshon Jeffery, and Janoris Jenkins.

One of my favorite draft sites had this to say about Smith ...

Harrison Smith, Notre Dame – Smith is the second best safety in the draft and is a player I wouldn’t hesitate drafting in the first round. He has the range and speed to play free safety and the size and strength to play strong safety. He also has the size (6’1.7"), speed (4.56 forty) and quickness (4.12 short shuttle, 6.63 three-cone) to cover tight ends. He also has a 10’2" vertical and had 19 bench presses.

It was a bold move.

This pick gets a B+. It could be an A when it is all said and done if Smith turns out to be the real deal. If Smith starts then this could move up to a A in my grade. He has to earn his spot though. Any talk of him being given the job without showing he deserves it really is bogus. I could use a stronger word right there. I hate the talk of penciling in any player to the starting lineup. If he is so good then he should have no problem right?

3.66 - Josh Robinson CB Central Florida 5'10.1" 199 || 31 1/4" arms || 9 1/4" hands || 4.29 forty || 3.97 short shuttle || 6.55 3 cone || 38.5" vertical || 11'1" broad jump || 17 reps on the bench press

This was my second favorite pick in the whole draft. Obviously Matt Kalil is my favorite pick. USC baby! Robinson was a two time First Team All Conference USA cornerback who had 36 passes defended and 10 picks the past three seasons. Obviously he has all the speed and quickness you want. He has faced top competition too. He squared off against AJ Green in 2010 and "held" him to 8 catches for 77 yards and zero TDs.

Now one game does not make a career but at that point in the draft I think it was a good pick. Casey Hayward was snagged by the Packers 4 picks earlier at #62. Trumaine Johnson was picked by the Rams at pick #65.

Also, the site from above ... ... lists Robinson as a player that will do better than where he was drafted ...

Josh Robinson, Central Florida – When you go to a small school and hope to be a top draft pick you have to stand out. Robinson did just that. The next question is whether Robinson stood out because of the lower level of competition or because of his skills. This is where workout numbers come into play. If they were average, then competition played a major role. However, when they are outstanding, as in Robinson’s case, that indicates that he has the potential to transfer his skills to the next level. Then it becomes a case of your belief in the player. I believe in Robinson and his unofficial 4.29 forty (4.30 official time), 3.97 short shuttle, 6.55 three-cone, 38.5" vertical and 11’1" broad jump. And these numbers were all at the Combine, not a Pro Day where conditions are often better for getting better results.

This pick gets an A. Many site had Robinson as a possible first rounder. I am biased on this one but I think he is going to be special! He compares very well to Darelle Revis in the size, speed, etc. department.

So after two days it was looking pretty good. You really could not reasonably complain. It is going to be a two year rebuild at the least. Looking at the roster LT and S had to be the top two needs heading into the draft. The team did not sign any safeties and only signed Geoff Schwartz as an offensive tackle/guard. Heading into day 3 Leslie Frazier said this ...

"We have some positions we need to target: linebacker, wide receiver, and maybe even taking a look at someone else in the secondary, either a corner or safety position as well," said Frazier. "We still have some areas we need to address, and those 10 picks will help us do it."

At the start of day 3 I was hoping and praying the team would trade up for my boy Alameda Ta'amu. Obviously the team did not see the defensive tackle position as one that needed some new bodies. Well at least not a tackle like Ta'amu. The Steelers wisely traded up and grabbed him at #109. A great move. Lucky I was not running the draft because I would have definitely given up a pick to get up to the top of the 4th round to grab him and add him to the rotation. Some think he is a NT only but he showed that he has a pretty good jump off the line and is tough to stop once he gets going. The Vikings stayed put though.

4.118 - Jarius Wright WR Arkansas 5'9.5" 182 || 31 1/2" arms || 8 1/2" hands || 4.41 forty || 4.03 short shuttle || 6.93 3 cone || 38" vertical || 10'0" broad jump || 11 reps on the bench press

I like Wright a lot. He made First Team All SEC last year and had excellent production with 63 catches for 1,029 yards and 11 TDs. I know that there were some other bigger WRs that were available that some people would have preferred. But the return specialists were flying off the draft boards way earlier than expected. TJ Graham & Chris Givens went in the third round. Then Joe Adams and Devon Wylie went before Wright. The pickings were getting slim.

Now Wright did not do much in the return game but Spielman believes he can help out there. I was torn myself between Wright and Joe Adams in some of the mocks I did leading up to the draft. Wright had much better production from the WR position which I believe in the end is more important. You can always get someone to return punts supposedly. But having a guy that can also give you some very good value at the WR position is more important. I think at that point Wright was a pretty good pick.

I would have liked to get Keenan Robinson myself but apparently LB did not have value at that point in their opinion. Jared Crick would have been interesting there too.

This pick gets a B. Wright is ranked kind of all over the place. But right around round 4 seems about the consensus.

4.128 - Rhett Ellison TE USC 6'4.7" 251 || 33 3/4" arms || 10 1/4" hands || 4.69 forty || 1.63 at ten yards || 4.39 short shuttle || 7.16 3 cone || 32.5" vertical || 9'03" broad jump || ? reps on the bench press

Now this pick was straight out of (Compton er) left field for almost everyone. In fact I do not know of any fan who was looking for a TE turned FB at this point in the draft (or in the entire draft for that matter). It was really a strange pick to say the least. Many of us were hoping for almost anyone else. Anyone.

But I am a USC homer so I have watched Ellison but not that closely to be honest. He was on the field but was not someone I was looking at as a potential Vikings player. I apologize for this blunder on my part. I will be sure to scout every freaking FB/HB/TE in all the games that I watch this upcoming season. Apparently this front office likes to collect these kinds of players.

Anyway, I did find some good stuff about Ellison. He seems like a good kid who could be a surprise.

This pick gets a C- from me. I give the minus because I am confused about why? They signed Lex Hilliard as a big TB and Jerome Felton as FB. Plus they Mickey Schuler, Allen Reisner, and Daniel Hardy on the roster too.

I was hoping for Brandon Mosley or Josh Chapman right here to be honest.

4.134 - Greg Childs WR Arkansas 6'3.1" 219 || 34 1/8" arms || 10 1/8" hands || 4.39 forty || 1.50 at ten yards || 4.09 short shuttle || 6.90 3 cone || 40.5" vertical || 10'7" broad jump || 19 reps on the bench press

This was another pick that came straight out of left field and was another surprise. I like Childs' measure-ables though. He did have some decent production in 2010 and 2009. He is one of the few big WRs that scouting reports said can beat the press coverage.

I know there were other WRs that were available and may have been just as good. Maybe the team liked Childs overall size and upside more than any of the others. Although Marvin Jones would have been a good pick too.

I think that Childs could end up being a steal in this draft.

This picks gets a B+. I am basing that on his upside.

Now here is where the draft took another unexpected turn. The Vikings traded #138 and #223 to the Lions for pick #211 and their 2013 4th round pick. I cannot really comment on the value of the trade but it seems like a normal trade. I would have liked to keep the pick as I thought there were still some good prospects available like Marvin Jones, George Iloka, Josh Norman, Senio Kelemete, Zebrie Sanders, and even the kicker they liked Greg Zuerlein. But they made the trade so we move on.

5.139 - Robert Blanton CB Notre Dame 6'0.6" 208 || 31 1/4" arms || 9 1/8" hands || 4.53 forty || 3.97 short shuttle || 6.71 3 cone || 34" vertical || 9'8" broad jump || 12 reps on the bench press

I was shocked by this pick too especially when you consider some of the better defensive backs available. I know many would have prefered George Iloka, Markelle Martin (All American), Josh Norman, Justin Bethel, Alfonso Dennard as a defensive back over Blanton. It is hard to find any scouting site that had Blanton above any of the guys I just mentioned. The Vikings said they were going to use him at safety. Hard to say with this pick. I will compare him to the players above for years though for comparison.

After having said all that and reading some more about him he has improved every year he has played. He could turn out to be a pretty good safety when it is all said and done. He is a good and willing tackler and has great character.

I guess this is one of those "meh" picks. Sure I would have taken someone else but what do I know?

This pick gets a C. I think he could one of those players that does better in the NFL than in college. He is not very fast but fast enough and sometimes being where you are suppose to be makes up for speed. Jamarca Sanford ran a 4.43 forty. Tyrell Johnson ran a 4.41 forty. You can be very fast but if you are not in the right place what good is it?

6.175 - Blair Walsh K Georgia 5'9" 187

I was not too shocked. Just disappointed it was not Zuerlein. Spielman raved about him and thinks he is going to bring some competition to the kicking position. Kind of strange though considering they signed Ryan Longwell to a 4 year 12 mil deal last July 27th. The deal 3.5 mil guaranteed with 1.75 mil in 2012, 2.5 mil in 2013, and 2.75 mil in 2014. I mean why use a draft pick on a kicker after giving up that deal to Longwell? The way his contract is structured it looks like they can release him and not take any cap hit. If they did it would be for about 2.7 mil. The Rams drafted Zuerlein and then released Josh Brown right away. The Vikings should release Longwell. I would not wait to see how Walsh does in the preseason. They already like him and used a 6th round pick on him. Maybe they will keep Walsh for kickoffs and long field goals? Hmmm .... I think I would just roll with Walsh. Since the team is rebuilding I think it would be good to let Walsh get experience in the NFL. That way by 2013 he will be more seasoned.

There were some pretty good looking players still available too. You had James Hanna TE, Marvin McNutt WR, Tommy Streeter WR, Brandon Washington G (he would have been great right here), Tom Compton T, Billy Winn DT, Cyrus Gray RB, and Alfonso Dennard CB to name a few.

This pick gets a B. I give it a B because he is the one of the top kickers on most boards. It could be a A if they release Longwell or Walsh beats him out.

7.210 - Audie Cole LB North Carolina State 6'4.1" 246 || 32 3/4" arms || 10" hands || 4.73 forty || 1.68 at ten yards || 4.29 short shuttle || 6.96 3 cone || 35" vertical || 9'6" broad jump || 15 reps on the bench press

This was not a bad pick at this point. They finally selected a LB. I liked him earlier in the season as I watched a few of his games. The scouting reports vary in what they say about his abilities in coverage. Many sites thought he would go earlier.

This pick gets a B.

Now the Vikings make another trade by giving up #211 to the Titans for their 2013 6th round pick. Again, I am not sure why when there still were some nice players specifically Alfonso Dennard, Cam Johnson, Travis Lewis, BJ Coleman, Andrew Datko, and Antonio Allen at this point. Kind of strange because they went out and signed 15 UDFAs. They could have used their picks and signed less UDFAs. At the same time though, once you are in the 7th round you may be able to land those UDFAs so getting an extra 6th next year could come in handy.

7.219 - Trevor Guyton DE Cal 6'2.5" 285 || 33" arms || 10 1/4" hands || 5.03 forty || 4.53 short shuttle || 7.44 3 cone || 31" vertical || 8'9" broad jump || 25 reps on the bench press

Another player who was expected to go earlier. He lined up all over Cal's line so he could be a nice addition to the defensive line rotation.

This pick gets a B.

I may review the UDFAs in another post. I do like Tydreke Powell DT, Ernest Owusu DE, Tyler Neilsen LB, and Derrick Coleman RB/FB.

I think this is a solid "B" draft right now based off of rankings, needs, other players available, and just the whole 3 school thing. Something about that bothers me and I do not know why. But at least one of those schools was USC!

Now I will do a quick 2013 Mock just for the heck of it and because that is what I do. Unfortunately I think the team is going to have a hard time winning in the NFC North again. I think there will be a couple of older players that get hurt or decline or both. I am thinking a record of 6-10 is the best they can do. I do not know how Ponder will do but let's just say I am worried. I will assume he does OK in this mock or else the first pick would have to be a QB. I will put us drafting 8th.

8. Mant'i Teo LB Notre Dame 6'2" 255
40. TJ McDonald S USC 6'2" 205
72. Wes Horton DE USC 6'5" 265
102. Alvin Bailey OG Arkansas 6'5" 320
122. Zack Martin OT Notre Dame 6'4" 305
136. Jawanza Starling S USC 6'1" 195
168. Knile Davis RB Arkansas 6'0" 226
200. Kapron Lewis-Moore DE Notre Dame 6'4" 300

Just kidding! :) Although it would not be bad

8. Star Lotulelei DT Utah 6-4 325
40. Shane Skov LB Stanford 6-3 251
72. Baccari Rambo S Georgia * the Vikings could use this pick this year if Rambo declares for the supplemental draft and is granted permission
102. Baker Steinkuhler DT Nebraska 6-6 290
122. Alvin Bailey OG Arkansas 6-5 320 * extra 4th round pick from Lions
136. Geraldo Boldewijn WR Boise State 6-3 205
168. Mike Glennon QB West Virginia 6-6 232
178. Jordan Poyer CB Oregon State 6-0 190 * extra 6th round pick from Titans
200. Sean Fisher LB Nebraska 6-5 235

When I did this mock I noticed that Baccari Rambo is suspended for the first four games next year and thus is considering entering the supplemental draft. He is suppose to be a 2nd round prospect next year right now. I would put a bid of a 3rd round pick on him in the supplemental draft. Hmmm ...

I like this draft as a whole. Sure there were some strange picks to those of us who do know as much as the front office about the players on the team and their various stages of development. But I think they drafted good character players that look like they may have their best football ahead of them. Of course this is what you want but it does not always work out that way.