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Tag:Minnesota Vikings
Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Minnesota Vikings Draft Preview

Minnesota Vikings 2010 record: 6-10, fourth place NFC West

2011 draft rundown - Nine total picks (round): 12 (1); 43 (2); 106 (4); 139 (5); 150 (5); 172 (6); 200 (6); 215 (7) 236 (7)

Top needs:   

Quarterback: Favre had a miserable 2010 season after a spectacular 2009 and has called it quits for a third time. That's fine with the Vikings, who feel it's time for them to move on. Frazier's preference would be to draft a quarterback and have that player develop under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Defensive line: Starting left end Ray Edwards is expected to be a free agent when a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached and that means the Vikings will be in search of a starter. Brian Robison signed an extension just before the lockout, but he might be best suited as a situational pass rusher. Everson Griffen, a fourth-round pick last year, has talent but has had off-the-field issues this offseason and is considered less than reliable.

Offensive line: Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson is 34 years old, center John Sullivan has yet to establish himself and right guard Anthony Herrera is coming off a knee injury. This unit needs to get younger and add depth. And that's not even getting into the fact that Bryant McKinnie is considered a chronic underachiever, despite the fact many teams probably would like to have the massive left tackle.


First-round focus   12th overall -- The Vikings had to be impressed by the level of play of rookie Joe Webb last year as the former wide receiver shocked the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football* (*actually played on Tuesday) with a solid all-around performance. Even with Webb's impressive performance, the Vikings are expected to look for another young quarterback to groom now that Brett Favre has retired (and will presumably remain so). The Vikings have been linked to Washington's Jake Locker, as his mobility, upside and intangibles are thought to be very highly valued by the Vikings. Minnesota is also thought to be high on the upside of Nevada's Colin Kaepernick and view Florida State's Christian Ponder and TCU's Andy Dalton as ideal fits in their offense, as well, but may not have a first round grade on these three passers. Should the Vikings elect to push off their needs at quarterback, addressing their concern at defensive end is also a strong possibility. Veteran Ray Edwards is scheduled for free agency and could be one of the more sought-after talents whenever the league and union make amends. The Vikings could look to take advantage of this year's rare talent and depth along the defensive line with the No. 12 pick, overall. The team is thought to have Cal's Cameron Jordan, Wisconsin's JJ Watt and Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan closely rated and as such might be willing to trade down a few spots should all three be on the board. Jordan would be a particularly intriguing fit considering that his father, Steve Jordan, was a Pro Bowl tight end for the Vikings from 1982-1994.  The Vikings are thought likely to consider an interior offensive lineman at some point in the draft. Florida's Mike Pouncey would be a bit of a reach at No. 12, but would solidify the unit due to his size, strength and versatility.

Five names on Vikings' board:   
QB Jake Locker, Washington
DE Cameron Jordan, California
DE JJ Watt, Wisconsin
DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
OL Mike Pouncey, Florida
Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Locker "excellent" at SEA, MINN private workouts

Washington quarterback Jake Locker is one of the more polarizing players of the 2011 draft.

As such, he has a busy travel schedule over the next few weeks as teams try to determine if they are willing to use a first round pick on the embattled Husky passer.

If Locker's recent private workouts for the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks are any indication, his stock could be moving up at precisely the right time.

According to representatives of both teams, Locker has performed very well, building off of the momentum he'd gained from a surprisingly impressive performance at the Combine and even better workout at his March 30 Pro Day.

A source with the Vikings characterized Locker's workout as "very impressive" and claimed that the UW passer "might be in the mix" for the Vikings in the first round. Minnesota owns the No. 12 pick of the draft.

Should Locker get past Minnesota, Miami and Jacksonville -- two other teams some in the league feel may be considering him strongly -- Locker's best bet to get drafted in the first round might be with his "hometown" Seahawks.

Locker worked out for Seattle yesterday and a source from that franchise characterized his workout as "excellent" noting that Locker performed in a high manner in both the whiteboard and actual throwing session of the workout.

The source also characterized Locker as a "great kid who has a huge upside because on the intangibles."

As it stands now, I don't have Locker being available to either the Vikings or Seahawks. In fact, I currently project him to be picked by the Washington Redskins , currently the owners of the No. 10 overall pick.

There is no denying Locker needs time to play in the NFL. However, served as a professional NFL Draft analyst for 12 years, I cannot think of a quarteback with Locker's degree of upside and intangibles that was not among the Top 32 players selected. 


Posted on: December 27, 2010 4:30 pm
 

All-star games improving selection process

Having attended senior all-star games such as the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl since 2001, I'm typically very impressed with the scouting departments in charge of locating the talent for these contests. There was a time not too long ago when I'd attend a senior all-star game and see prospects whose production was very obviously a result of their scheme or their invitations just as obviously due to playing on a high profile team.

As technology improves, however, their talent scouts have become even better at recognizing gaudy statistics as an indicator of talent, but not necessarily as the end-all, be-all way to find diamond in the rough prospects.

Take Hawaii wideout Greg Salas as an example. Salas caught 106 passes for 1,590 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, earning All-WAC recognition and even some Biletnikof Award hype. Like many Warrior receivers before him, his production is enhanced by Hawaii's dynamic offense.

Still, whenever I speak to scouts about underrated prospects, Salas' name comes up. He once again was statistically dominant in 2010. In fact, Salas led the FBS with 1,675 receiving yards this season and has an eye-popping 4,345 yards over his career. More important that stats, however, is Salas' size (6-2, 210) and underrated combination of speed and elusiveness. I've spoken to teams who rate Salas among the top three senior wideouts in the draft -- as I'm sure has the Senior Bowl -- who invited Salas to their game back in October.

Arizona pass rusher Brooks Reed is another example. At 6-3, 262 pounds he doesn't have the bulk to remain at defensive end -- which in the past may have, in itself, been enough to keep him from earning a post-season invite to an all-star game. With half of the NFL playing the 3-4 scheme, there will be no shortage of teams looking at Reed as a rush linebacker. I'm not sure I agree with the comparisons some insiders had made between Reed and Packers' star Clay Matthews, Jr. but I do believe Reed's burst, hands and tenacity are enough to make him effective off the edge in the NFL. The senior all-star game -- in this case the Senior Bowl -- is doing its job of providing prospects an opportunity to demonstrate what they can do. 

Each year, however, there are a few prospects who slide under the radar that I believe should get the attention of the all-star game's talent evaluators. It is entirely possible that any and all of these (and other) all-star games are considering these prospects. However, with the bowl games increasingly turning towards technology (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to release their rosters, the invitation process is much more transparent than in the past.

Here are three prospects that I have not yet seen be recognized with an invitation to the primary senior all-star games venues. I believe if they are, they'll impress there.

TCU OT Marcus Cannon : I listed Cannon a few days ago as one of the combatants in the five individual matchups I'm most looking forward to scouting during the bowl games. It remains to be seen how often Wisconsin elects to line up their star defensive lineman JJ Watt against Cannon. If they're wise, they'll pick their spots carefully. At 6-5, 350 pounds Cannon's athleticism is jaw-dropping. Andy Dalton gets most of the attention for TCU, but in terms of pro prospects, Cannon is the Horned Frogs' top talent... and folks, it ain't even close.

California FS Chris Conte : In a weak year for senior safeties, Conte's size (6-3, 212) and athleticism stand out. We all know that NFL teams love to move collegiate offensive tackles inside to guard. I feel that just as natural a transition can be made in moving big collegiate corners (who can tackle in space) to the safety position. Conte has already done it, earning First Team Pac-10 honors in his first full year at free safety this season after backing up at corner throughout his career.

New Mexico OT Byron Bell : NFL and all-star game scouts alike may be a little late in noticing Bell due to the fact that he entered this season characterized by New Mexico as a redshirt junior. The NCAA, however, ruled against his request that his 2007 season be ruled a medical hardship, meaning that Bell's career with the Lobos is over. At 6-5, 325 pounds Bell has surprising lateral agility and flexibility and will soon be flying up boards. Remember how shocked we all were when the Minnesota Vikings took former Lobo Ryan Cook in the second round in 2006? With an invitation to an all-star game, I believe Bell could make a similar leap.

For the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check back frequently at NFLDraftScout.com or by simply clicking here.

Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:24 pm
 

Not just Saints/Viks...Big SEC showdown tonight.

The majority of football fans will no doubt be glued to tonight's NFL opener between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, but for those of you more interested in college football or scouting for the NFL, there are two college football games on tonight, as well.

Central Michigan at Temple (7 pm EST on ESPNU) is an interesting cross-conference matchup, but the one I'll definitely be focusing on is the SEC showdown between Auburn and Mississippi State. 

The Tigers and Bulldogs are two of the chique picks to surprise some people this year in the SEC and it isn't difficult to understand why. 

For one, Auburn and Mississippi State won by a combined margin of 101-33 over Arkansas State and Memphis, respectively, last weekend. 

More importantly, both rosters are (perhaps surprisingly) full of NFL prospects. 

Auburn is historically one of the SEC's top producers of NFL talent, but some might be surprised to learn the Mississippi State actually boasts the more intriguing lineup -- at least among seniors. 

Here are the prospects I'll be focusing on in this game: 

OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State: Might be the best pass-blocking left tackle in the SEC and that is saying something, as the conference is loaded with talented senior offensive linemen. I rated Sherrod as the 4th best senior prospect in the SEC conference, regardless of position entering the year. He could be the first Bulldog drafted in the first round since 1994.

DE Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State: If Sherrod doesn't make the first round, McPhee might. The highly touted JUCO prospect burst onto the scene last year with 56 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5 sacks, earning himself All-SEC honors from the conference coaches. McPhee posted a combined 33 sacks over his two seasons at Itawamba JC (Miss)...

OLB K.J. Wright, Mississippi State: An unsung playmaker on this defense, Wright has been one of the more consistent defenders in the SEC over the past two seasons, averaging 77 tackles and 7 tackles for loss each year. He was recognized this summer with preseason All-SEC honors from the league coaches, but he isn't getting the national attention he deserves... yet.

RB Mario Fannin, Auburn: I've lised Fannin in the past as a player I feel can enjoy a breakout senior campaign this year. Former Auburn star Ben Tate certainly catapulted up NFL boards with a fantastic senior season and I see the same thing as possible for the versatile and athletic Fannin. He's shown flashes throughout his career, but struggles with fumbles early and injuries late have hampered his progress. At 5-11, 227 pounds he might be the nation's best pass-receiver among the running backs, as his 4 receptions for 65 yards and 2 TDs in the opener against Arkansas State helped prove. He is already Auburn's career leader in receptions for a running back.  

OT Lee Ziemba, Auburn: Admittedly, I'm not as high on Ziemba (pronounced Zim-bah) as others may be, but there is no denying his production. Having started 39 games already over his career, Ziemba has earned all-conference recognition from coaches after each of his first three seasons. He's the Tigers' starting left tackle, but might be best served moving back to the right side (where he played as a freshman) or perhaps even moving inside to guard (where he's never played) in the NFL.



Posted on: August 24, 2010 3:36 pm
 

5 Most Disappointing Rookies So Far

There are lots of opinions out there as to which rookies will have an immediate impact this year. The popularity of fantasy football puts most of the attention on skill position players, but hardcore fans are just as interested in offensive linemen or safeties (or any other position) giving their favorite teams immediate and significant playing time.

I've featured several higher round picks like C.J. Spiller , Bryan Bulaga and Brandon Spikes already as players I fully expected to stand out as rookies and, at least in the preseason, have done so. 

I've also listed 10 players drafted in the 3rd round or later who have impressed as rookies.

The following five players make up the exact opposite story. They are five well-hyped prospects who have thus struggled to acclimate to the NFL.

QB Colt McCoy, Cleveland: McCoy was recently among a list of eight players characterized by Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer as "need[ing] good showings in the last two games to make the roster." McCoy, in two games, has only completed 5 of 12 passes for 25 yards. He's thrown two interceptions and taken two sacks.

RB Toby Gerhart, Minnesota: The Vikings were hopeful that Gerhart would win the 3rd down role behind Adrian Peterson. Gerhart's inconsistent hands and route-running is a concern. So too is the lack of foot quickness he's shown so far. Gerhart can help this team as a short-yardage specialist, but that may be it.

WR Armanti Edwards, Carolina: Edwards has flashed for the Panthers, but he's shown just how tough it is to switch from college quarterback to NFL wide receiver. He's had issues at receiver and punt returner and may require a "redshirt" year.

WR Golden Tate, Seattle: The 2009 Biletnikof winner, Tate has been a star in training camp, but in the games -- where he's needed to run crisper routes -- he's struggled to demonstrate the same playmaking ability. Tate will be fine. He's too talented not to, but he has only three catches for 13 yards in two games so far.

RB Joe McKnight, New York Jets: I remember when McKnight signed with USC out of the state of Louisiana as one of the most hyped prep prospects in the country. He never showed the agility and balance of Reggie Bush -- the guy he was signed to replace -- at USC though, at times, he received similar hype. McKnight is a terrific athlete, but I haven't seen the toughness out of him so far to think the Jets can keep him on the field much this year.

Posted on: April 24, 2010 10:12 am
Edited on: April 24, 2010 10:36 am
 

4th is where workout warriors make sense

I'll admit that I was one of the media members who bought a little into the hype with workout warriors Everson Griffen and Bruce Campbell, the defensive end and offensive tackle from USC and Maryland, respectively.

Based on the film, however, I've steadily argued that they were being overrated and that some team was going to be disappointed if they invested a top 50 pick in them.

Griffen, in particular, is likely to disappoint. He signed with USC as one of the truly elite prep talents in the country, but had been a significant disappointment until this past season. Even this year, it was obvious that his motor ran hot and cold.

With Campbell, the classic "Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane" description applies.

Both, however, are well worth a 4th round pick, as they have the prerequisite athleticism and build to play in the NFL.

And after earning so much media hype throughout their respective careers, dropping to the fourth round could provide a very effective serving of humble pie.

Motivated, both players could develop into starters. Considering we're 100 picks into the draft (99, technically, with the selection of Mardy Gilyard by the Rams), the timing is right.

EDIT --- The Minnesota Vikings must have thought so too, taking Griffen with the 100th pick.
EDIT 2 --- The Oakland Raiders used the 106th pick on Campbell.

Posted on: April 23, 2010 7:44 pm
 

Gerhart could take over the goal-line for AP

Toby Gerhart is an interesting selection for the Minnesota Vikings. With Adrian Peterson, obviously he won't be asked to take on the lead role. He could, however, take on a very prominent role as the Vikings' short yardage and goal line runner.

Peterson's struggles with fumbles have been well documented. The Vikings would be wise to limit the hits he'll take in the extremely physical short-yardage situations, as well.

These situations, however, is exactly where Gerhart can shine. Not only does he offer bullish power at 6-1, 235 pounds, but underrated lateral quickness and vision to avoid the quick penetration that can ruin short yardage opportunities.

Fantasy football enthusiasts might not be a big fan of the carries Gerhart could steal from Peterson, but the Vikings certainly could.
Posted on: April 23, 2010 3:23 pm
 

NFC North First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the NFC North perspective:

Chicago Bears:
With their picks already used in the trades for quarterback Jay Cutler and the late Gaines Adams, the Bears could only be spectators in the first round. The team’s first scheduled pick isn’t until the 3rd round, the 75th overall.

Detroit Lions:
The Lions made the easiest selection in the draft when the best player in the country, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, fell into their lap. He’ll provide an immediate difference up front for head coach Jim Schwartz, a man that knows the value of a dominating defensive tackle considering his background with Albert Haynesworth.

Green Bay Packers:
The first round couldn’t have worked out better for Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers, as the team needed help up front and got one of the safer offensive tackles in the draft in Iowa’s technically refined Bryan Bulaga to fall into their lap. Bulaga’s short arms might have scared off some, but he’ll provide immediate depth at all four exterior positions for the Packers and will eventually take over the starting role for either left tackle Chad Clifton or right tackle Mark Tauscher.

Minnesota Vikings:
Just as the Baltimore Ravens were able to take advantage of the aggressive Denver Broncos and gain several valuable picks in a trade down, Minnesota added picks in the second, fourth and seventh rounds by letting Detroit move up to take running back Jahvid Best with the 30th overall selection.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com