Who’s That Guy? A 2012 Minnesota Vikings Draft Review

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It was another wild one at Radio City Music Hall this weekend as the National Football League held their annual draft without a single person being murdered on stage. From what I saw. Coverage on ESPN was pretty weak after Thursday night. Regardless, there was plenty of action from the first pick to the last, including trades, falling draft stock, and even a few wrinkles sprinkled in for your Minnesota Vikings.

While we’ll be taking time until there’s other worthwhile news to report (HI CALEB KING!) to review each player that was drafted by the Vikings individually, we thought we’d take the start of this week to do a comprehensive recap of the draft – and not just for the Vikings. What occurred during the weekend that surprised us here at Purple Jesus Diaries? Who fell that we weren’t expecting? What picks were great? Who had the hottest girlfriend? The craziest? How did the rest of the NFC North stack up? Is Todd McShay dead yet?

Don’t delay! Jump right in as we dissect the 2012 NFL Draft.

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First and foremost, we like to do a quick scan of inconsequential draft grades. Hipster NFL analysts will play the whole “Give it three years to play out BEFORE you offer draft grades, guys, and if you haven’t heard, we’re too cool for school,” but that’s dumb. I WANT TO KNOW HOW MY DUMB TEAM DID RIGHT NOW, ANALYST. So I check around for you. ESPN’s Mel Kiper gave the Vikings a B overall. You have to be an insider to read the entire draft grade article, but don’t do it because it’s not worth it, and don’t worry, because here’s what was said about the Vikings:

Top needs: CB, LT, WR, S, G

Summary: The Vikings did pretty well. They got the left tackle they coveted in Matt Kalil, and they moved up to get a safety. Both Kalil and Harrison Smith, their two first-round picks, should be starting in Week 1. Josh Robinson adds speed, if not a lot of polish, at corner, and has the chance to develop into a good player. Jarius Wright and Greg Childs both come from Arkansas, and both can make plays after the catch. Overall, the Vikings did a good job of hitting needs. I don’t think we’ll look back and see a lot of star power here, but they got what they needed. A pretty good weekend for Minnesota.

Cool. Cool cool cool. We did alright I guess. If interested, this was Kiper’s 6th best draft grade after the Eagles, Bucs, Bengals, Colts, and Chargers, oddly enough. If draft grades were playoffs, we’d be a wild card! For the rest of ESPN, who gives a shit. Todd McShay is a cunt, and that’s the nicest thing I could say about him.

The people over at Sports Illustrated felt a little better about our team, and responded by giving us an A. The only thing I can think of is that we must have cheated on the test:

Minnesota Vikings: You can dock Minnesota if you think Claiborne should have been the pick at 4 over OT Matt Kalil. I think the Vikings did the right thing, and their subsequent pickups of S Harrison Smith (29), CB Josh Robinson (66) and WR Jarius Wright (118) just add to that belief. Grade: A

Clearly, national pundits felt pretty good about it. Locally (and this includes fan reaction), the reviews were much more mixed. Jim Souhan (I can never decide if I like Souhan or if I think he’s a jagoff. Here, I would buy him a scotch) was one such person, echoing my thoughts on the draft that Spielman was able to hit the first half hard and good (like your mother) but had some odd, questionable picks in the latter half. To the benefit of the doubt for Spielkahn, however, the entire second half of the draft tends to be a crap shoot, but even then … Some of those picks, man. Heffers, know what I mean?

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Other thoughts on the draft overall in absolutely no sequential order:

  • Heard after the fact that the cornerback from Notre Dame, Robert Blanton, is expected to be moved to safety, according to Leslie Frazier. That’s fine, I guess, since we barely have warm bodies back there anyway, but I cringe at a Notre Dame-filled safety position. People know their team isn’t good, right? It hasn’t been for a long time. Why are we still drafting these players? In Blanton’s defense, he does seem like he has more ball-hawking skills than Harrison Smith does, which would allow one to roam the field (Blanton) and the other to upper cut people with big hits. That seems like a winning combo. In my head and dreams.
  • I cannot believe we drafted a kicker, particularly one who only hit like 65% of his field goals last year. Spielman apparently saw him kick four field goals (and they were good!) from 50 yards out at the Senior Bowl they coached, and that just goes to show you that you only need to play good once for our GM to fall in love with you. Ponder did it last year, and Kalil did this year. Our GM apparently disregards entire bodies of work. In fact, I spend a whole afternoon once having to explain to him who Anakin Skywalker was because he would only watch Return of the Jedi.
  • Speaking of kickers, I guess Blair Walsh is our new kicker now? Ryan Longwell was a free agent after last season, right? So we are breaking in a rookie? I suppose this is the right time to do it. We’re not going to be that good anyway. And at least Walsh has a reputed strong leg which would allow him to put kickoffs in the endzone. When have we last seen that, amirite?!
  • In regards to 4th round pick Rhett Ellison … I know people want to be like, “HEY MAN, KLEINSAUSAGE LEFT SO WE NEEDED A BLOCKING TIGHT END” but seriously … Bodies who can block are a dime a dozen. This kid? Wasn’t even expecting to be drafted. He was out on the river that weekend (likely getting fucking wasted as he admitted he started crying when Spielman called him, and Spielman even acknowledged an “I love you, man!” was shared over the phone), preparing for a life outside of football, and then gets drafted in the 4th round? There were still some legit players in the 4th that could have helped our team, probably more than Ellison will. It’s just bad value. I hope the kid does well, and it’s a feel-good story and all that, but really. Pick ME in the 4th round if this is the case. I’ll run the draft for you next time.
  • I am hesitantly excited about the Arkansas receivers. Arkansas is stupid as far as a college football program goes, but when Jarius Wright and Greg Childs were playing on that team with coke-head Ryan Mallett, they looked pretty good. Wright is a bit undersized and seems repetitive when we already have Harvin on the team, but clips I watched after-the-fact showed some nifty little play making ability. I guess you can’t be upset about that. And Childs has a chance (if healthy) to be a young, maybe better, Michael Jenkins. That’s not saying a whole lot I realize, but I’m setting my expectations low for obvious reasons. Hint: It’s because I’m a Vikings fan.
  • Watching Alfonzo Dennard fall to a Patriots’ 7th round pick was heart wrenching. The guy was a 1st round talent one year ago, had an injury to start the year, control issues to end it, and of course punched a cop in the face, but no one would take a chance on him? And not the Vikings? Why? Because we’re all high and mighty with Chris Cook and Caleb King on the roster? GTFO. The kid has no other indicators of “bad behavior” and would have been a fantastic late-round value pick for us. We would have not had to worry about defensive backfield after this draft for four years. Stupid.
  • For the other teams in the NFC North, the Packers probably had the best draft out of all of them. They loaded up on defense, but – to me at least – seemed to repeat in a lot of areas. They added at least two or three players for the sole purpose of rushing the passer (something they need help with), but I don’t know if they have enough roster spots to let them play. Their only offensive picks were two of them in the 7th round, and will probably be inconsequential, much like their entire fan base. BOO YA! The Lions had what I thought was an odd draft, taking Reilly Reiff and his T-Rex arms to help their offensive line, but then loading up with Ryan Broyles at receiver right afterwards. And the defensive backs they got definitely fell under the “sub-par” heading, which is something they needed help with too. Didn’t really make sense. The Bears ended up over valuing players and totally skipped on offensive line help, which is just the dumbest thing ever. They did add that fat ass Alshon Jeffery though, so we can all make fun of him and sulk face at quarterback.

Overall, it was a pretty good time. At the blog here we had three open threads that proved to be entertaining. I thank everyone who stopped by to check them out and make it as fun as it was. Hopefully we’ll do it all again.

In the meantime, we are now in crunch time mode to come up with new nicknames for all of our new players. For Kalil, I think I’ve already settled on Kalil Drogo as a hat tip to Game of Thrones. Add yours in the comments.

PJD

About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.

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