Vikings Draft Recap:
Here is a list of each of the picks and my grades on them. I personally was surprised at Christian Ponder at 12, but you know what, if we couldn’t trade down and still get our guy, I don’t really care where we took him. Everything you see, read, and hear on this guy is positive. He was injured a few times, but you know what, our job is to learn to protect him from certain teams that suddenly upgraded their pass rush (I’m looking at you Detroit). Actually, I’m really looking at every member of our offensive line (side note, they were offensive last year , get it, ring ding ding.) I took the picks from the Strib (http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/blogs/121180934.html) which also has the number they will wear this year.
Overall, I can give this team a solid B+ on this draft, and I realize I am taking part of a homer view with the optimism, but hey, I’m writing this, so I can do that. I can honestly say that I was confused about the Ponder pick initially, and then confused about the Rudolph pick after that, they both were picks I didn’t expect at the time. And they both are 100% fine with me after researching both. So far Ponder is doing everything right, I mean, he even spent money on a Twins hat, this year nobody does that! (Minus anyone who watched Francisco’s no-no last night) He’s been active on Twitter and seems to be someone that even, gulp, Childress would have embraced as a team guy. After typing about a football player and being on twitter, I hope he doesn’t do something stupid (Mendhall, you’re an idiot)
So now, a quick break down of each pick and what I think.
No. 7 Christian Ponder, QB
After initial skepticism, I now love the pick. I wrote before the draft that Paul Allen from KFAN was saying at Number 12 the Minnesota Vikings were going to take a good hard look at Christian Ponder, and at the time that seemed Ludacris, but he was right on. I’ll be honest, there is nothing about this pick that I don’t like after doing some post draft research. Smart kid, called the most accurate passer in the draft, team leader, not Tarvaris Jackson. In fact, he is even taking Tjax’s number, how much more is there to not like about this? This was clearly a Best Quarterback Available pick rather than Best Player Available.
No. 82 Kyle Rudolph, TE
I’m a big Shiancoe fan. Let me start there. One of the gem’s that Childress brought in, was Shiancoe. Great team guy, very good TE, solid football player all around. However, Bill Musgrave is coming in as our new Offensive Coordinator and loves to run 2 TE sets. Leading up to the draft we knew we were going to take a TE, it was just a question of when. Many draftnicks had Rudolph going in the 20’s of the 1st round. His hamstring injury may have made him slide, but the Vikings reverted to Best Player Available with this pick in my mind. We have 3 TE’s all who have 1 year remaining in their contract, Rudolph will make Shiancoe better, and vice versa.
No. 99 Christian Ballard, DT
Love this pick, we drafted someone who many thought would go in the second or third round. We took BPA along with need. The only knock is he was too stupid to fail a drug test at the combine (allegedly) and that no doubt caused him to slide. The Vikings as an organization have done a good job of keeping these people in check. Minus Chris Cook, Everson Griffin, and McKinnie. Ok, we’ve done a OK job with risk/reward players. Ballard is versatile and will contribute this year.
No. 36 Brandon Burton, cornerback
Again, Burton was a player people thought would go earlier, so clearly a BPA draft. Small school coming out of Utah, but he filled a need, and has the size/speed to possibly play nickel this year. Clearly the Vikings can never have too many corners, great pick.
No. 75 DeMarcus Love, offensive lineman
Projected to be a versatile lineman, may be good competition for a backup. This could end the career of Ryan “False Start” Cook. Very good value and need.
No. 30 Mistral Raymond, cornerback
CB who may move to Safety, anyone who is in the 6th is a total crapshoot, but this guy has been through a lot on a personal level, and he’s the type of guy you cheer for.
No. 63 Brandon Fusco, offensive lineman
Small School product, but he sounds like a mauler. Most likely a practice squad guy, but still a good value pick for need.
No. 57 Ross Homan, linebacker
Anyone who is a Captain at Ohio State has good football instinct. He was projected as a third or fourth round selection, and the Vikings snatched him up. Could he replace Leber? He’s undersized, but c’mon, we have Mike Singletary teaching our LB core.
No. 92 D’Aundre Reed, defensive end
Reed sounds like a versatile player who can play DE or slide inside. Again, at this point in the draft, it’s a total crapshoot, so who cares.
No. 86 Stephen Burton, wide receiver
Small school receiver, Burton went to West Texas A&M. He was the 236th overall pick. Burton has good size being 6-4. He caught 70 passes for 11 TD’s last year, so the potential is obviously there. I like it, anyone who can someday replace Bsquared (Bernard Berrian) is great in my mind, but my guess is he will be a practice squad player as well.