The Minnesota Vikings came in to the 2013 draft needing linebackers, defensive linemen, cornerbacks, and a wide receiver or two. It seemed hard to imagine that the Vikings could get all of their needs filled. They had 11 picks as the draft opened, but when they made their blockbuster trade with New England, it was down to eight.
When it was all said and done, the Vikings had three first round picks and nine overall, and they managed to address most, if not all the needs they had entering the weekend. We've talked about the first round bonanza in depth, so we'll recap that briefly and then move on to the rest of the draft.
From the three first round picks, to some late round gems, every pick the Vikings made was one of 'wow, we got THAT guy? SWEET!',
and when it was over...it was time to celebrate, am I right, Mr Kool? And your gang.
YAHOO! (the emotion, not the website)
Your SMR and draft grades of celebration follows.
Blue Chips and Solid Investments:
First round: I don't think the '4 for 1' trade was terrible...because it wasn't 4-1. It was actually 2 for 1 when you break it down. Swap second round pick for first round pick, even. Give up third round pick, give up extra fourth round pick, and they got back their 7th round pick they traded to New England with a Saturday trade with Tampa Bay. So at the end of the day, the Vikings gave up their third round pick and one of two fourth round picks to move up 23 spots to get Cordarelle Patterson. How is this a bad trade, again?
As to the first round picks, the Vikings nailed it. Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Cordarelle Patterson were great additions at positions of need, and Floyd is a top 5-10 pick that fell because of...wait for it...short arms. Man, the NFL goes nuts in over analyzing players. Rhodes is a big. press cover guy, and he can team with Chris Cook to take on some of the bigger receivers in the NFC North. Patterson is a bit raw, but his potential is off the charts. Loved these picks.
Grades: Floyd--A+, Rhodes--A, Patterson A-.
Fourth round: Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State. Hodges was overlooked because of Michael Mauti, but he had a phenomenal career in Happy Valley. He'll make a good coverage LB in the nickel, as he is a converted safety and that's his strength, something the Vikings haven't had since Ben Leber left. I loved this pick at this spot; great value.
Fifth round: Jeff Locke, P, UCLA. Uh, yeah, consider this a shot across the bow to Chris Kluwe. A lot of us thought that there was some dissatisfaction amongst the coaching staff with Kluwe, and getting a punter was a disticnt possibility. And they did, grabbing another UCLA guy to push Kluwe for the job. Taking one in the fifth might be a signal Kluwe's days are numbered, much like the Ryan Longwell/Blair Walsh situation last year.
Sixth round: Jeff Baca, OL, UCLA. A lot of us think that Brandon Fusco doesn't have a lock on the starter's job at RG, which may be true. But the Vikings also lost a lot of versatility on the line when Geoff Schwartz left after one season, taking his guard and tackle talents with him to Kansas City. Baca looks to be that infield utility guy on the line--he can play guard and tackle, and on both sides of the line. Solid pickup here for Minnesota.
Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State. So I was at Bed, Bath and Beyond with my wife yesterday during the last three rounds (look, I had Thursday and Friday all to myself to watch and comment on the draft, and she said nothing. It was time to pay the bills, yo), and when the Vikes announced Mauti, I literally whooped and high fived a guy wearing a Penn State hat in the store when I told him, and my wife and I had this exchange:
Wife: Do you like these curtains? Me: Do you know the #Vikings just drafted Mike Mauti? Wife: you're hopeless. Me: probably.— Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye) April 27, 2013
Of course, she's right, but that's not the point. Mike Mauti is a first round talent who's had three knee injuries while at Penn State. He was the face of that program in the aftermath of the Gerry Sandusky scandal, and he famously held a press conference with the seniors that didn't leave and proclaimed no one else was going anywhere. I love this kid, and if he's healthy, the Vikings found their MLB for the next decade. Seriously, I was as happy with this pick as I was with the first round. Also, somebody called their shot on day two, BOOYA! And yes, that will be the only draft prediction I get right. Ever.
Travis Bond, G, NC, and Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida State. I'll admit, I don't know much about either of these guys, but Travis Bond got hit by a car as a junior while riding a scooter on his way to class, and the car had more damage than he had. Seriously, THIS GUY BLOCKED AND DAMAGED A CAR AND THAT IS AWESOME AND IS WORTH AN A.
Grade: Incomplete (Look, I can't grade guys I don't know anything about)
There are no junk bonds on draft weekend, as hundreds of young men are one step closer to fulfilling a boyhood dream that almost none of us would ever have a shot at. Good luck to each and every draft pick and undrafted free agent, from every team. May your dreams come true, gentlemen.
Buy: Not trading up into the second or third round. Spielman stayed patient, let the draft play out, and was still able to get some great linebacker prospects without giving up any more picks. Plus he was able to get back that 7th round pick originally given up in the Patterson trade with New England.
Sell: Drafting a punter in round 5. I know the Vikes were looking at drafting one, so if they need a new one, fine. But fifth round? I think that's more of a signal to Kluwe to shape up as opposed to a 'pure football move', like Spielman said, and I would have gone in a different direction. But that said, Rick Spielman is playing three dimensional draft chest while most everyone else is playing checkers, so I'm not going to question it. Wait, I just did, but then I recanted, all within the same sentence. RICK SPIELMAN HAS MESSED WITH MY MIND AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT.
Don Glover Quote Of The Weekend
Keep in mind, my father doesn't follow college football, so he knows very little about the picks, other than maaaaybe one or two Big Ten players he'll read about in the paper.
Dad: So, how did the Vikings end up with three draft picks?
Me: They traded with the Patriots, and ended up taking a really great WR prospect with that last first round pick.
Dad: Is he better than Percy Harvin?
Me: He might be, eventually.
Dad: Good, Harvin's a little crybaby S.O.B, he'll never be happy in Seattle, and he'll never have enough money. He'll never be happy anywhere, but it always rains in Seattle, too. At least he can afford an umbrella. Crybaby.
Congratulations, Percy. You're now at the Aaron Rodgers/Jay Cutler level of disgust in the Don Glover book. May God have mercy on your soul.
I loved this draft, and this franchise is set for the long term, with five solid first round picks in the last two years. I cannot wait for football season. This was a grand slam, knock it out of the park A for me.