The Vikings surprised a lot of people on Thursday by selecting 3 players in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. Below are a list of the players along with a letter grade for each selection.
#23 – Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle from Florida
The Vikings had to be THRILLED to see Floyd still available. He was widely mocked to be selected #3 overall by the Oakland Raiders. One of the major things the Vikings wanted to accomplish this draft is to get a Defensive Tackle for Kevin Williams to groom to be his eventual successor, and there was nobody more perfect for the Vikings to select than Sharrif Floyd. Floyd’s ability to stuff the run as well as be able to get pressure as a pass rusher will make him extremely valuable to the Vikings. He has a quick first step and can use that to split offensive lines. Although he will most likely share snaps with Kevin Williams this year, we will also get to see him on passing downs alongside Williams in order to get a better pass rush. Floyd is an investment in the future of the defensive line and should pay long-term dividends. Floyd will wear #95 this season for the Vikings.
#25 – Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback from Florida State
Once again, the Vikings have to be surprised that a player they wanted was still available. Rhodes was a considered by most to be a lock to be a top-15 pick this draft, so when he fell into the Vikings laps, they had to pull the trigger. Rhodes isn’t the type of Cornerback the Vikings are used to taking. He is a physical corner who excels in press coverage and possesses excellent arm length with a sturdy frame. Two of the most appealing things about him are his measurables. He is 6’2″ tall and ran a 4.39 second 40 meter dash at the combine. His combination of height and speed along with his ability to press at the line of scrimmage will make him a dangerous defensive weapon in the Vikings secondary. Rhodes is no slouch when it come to tackling, either. He is smart and aggressive when pursuing ball caries and can slip blocks fairly easily. If the Vikings decide to start Rhodes along with Chris Cook this year, you can bet that the Vikings will be a lot more physical on defense. Rhodes will wear #29 this season for the Vikings.
#29 – Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver from Tennessee
The big surprise of the first round for Vikings fans was when Minnesota traded back into the first round to get the #29 pick from the New England Patriots. When the Vikings made that move, most assumed it was to get Middle Linebacker Manti Te’o from Notre Dame. Instead, the Vikings selected Patterson. Patterson is a deceivingly elusive player who is known for his ability to get yards after the catch but can also use his speed and size to get open deep down the field. He has excellent strength and has shown the ability to brush off defenders who are trying to tackle him. If the Vikings can get the ball into his hands, he will work hard to pick up extra yards. Another thing that Patterson excelled at in college was in the return game. The Vikings have said that they believes Patterson is a better return man than former Vikings (now Seahawks) Wide Receiver Percy Harvin. And that is saying a lot! Patterson will start opposite newly acquired Wide Reciever Greg Jennings in what can only be called a MASSIVELY upgraded group of recievers. You will be able to see Patterson wear the #84 jersey this season.
Overall Impression of the Vikings 2013 First Round Selections:
The Vikings got three players who will make an immediate impact on the team. They got players valued much higher than the picks where they were selected and still addressed most of their biggest needs. While they traded away all their selections on day two of the draft, you can’t help be excited about all the young talent the Vikings have come away from this draft with.
Overall Grade: A-