Thursday, May 16, 2013
Heading in to this offseason, the Vikings faced a number of decisions needed to fill big holes. None was bigger than what to do at wide receiver for the team.
Gone are Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu. Jerome Simpson was re-signed to a one year deal. Jarius Wright showed flashes in his brief time playing in 2012.
The decision then became, what to do with super star receiver/returner/running back, Percy Harvin. Harvin was drafted in 2009 by the Vikings in the First Round (#22). Harvin is a playmaker, but a headache. No pun intended. Harvin suffered from migraines that kept him out of practices and games. Harvin wanted a huge deal this off-season (with one year left on his rookie deal).
Last year Harvin missed seven games due to an ankle injury that was never really explained. Harvin seemed more interested in his pay day versus helping the team win. Despite Harvin’s injury and missing games, the Vikes had a great end to the season and even made the NFL Playoffs.
Harvin was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a First Round pick and Seventh Round pick in 2013 and a Third Round pick in 2014. It was a pretty handsome reward for a player who for whatever reason clearly wanted out of Minnesota.
With Harvin gone, the Vikes BADLY needed receivers. They solved that by signing former Packer wide receiver, Greg Jennings. Jennings was a Second Round pick by the Pack in 2006. In his seven seasons with Green Bay he totaled 425 receptions for 6,537 yards including 53 touchdowns.
Jennings has been a long time Viking killer and is just the veteran the Vikings need to reassemble their receiving core. Jennings missed half of last season (eight games) with a groin injury. Minnesota signed him to a five-year, $47.5 million deal that included $18 million guaranteed.
In addition to adding Jennings, the Vikes traded some second day picks to move back up into the First Round of the NFL Draft last month to select Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver from Tennessee.
Patterson, nicknamed CP, played two years at a JUCO and then played his 2012 season at Tennessee. While at Tennessee he was a receiver, punt returner and running back. He had nine touchdowns last year (three rushing, five receiving and one returning).
CP is almost a Randy Moss and Percy Harvin combo. He is 6 ft 1 inches tall and runs a 4.42 40 yard dash. He will be wearing number 84 for Minnesota and he grew up with Moss as his idol. He is a playmaker with a little bit of attitude that could use some polishing of his route running, but he may be a star. Personally he is one of the guys I am excited to take in fantasy football too!
With Jennings, Patterson, Simpson, Wright and the possibility of players like Greg Childs and Stephen Burton contributing, Minnesota now actually has a decent group of receivers for quarterback, Christian Ponder to throw to.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
First Round: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
First Round: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
First Round: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Fourth Round: Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
Fifth Round: Jeff Locke, P, UCLA
Sixth Round: Jeff Baca, G, UCLA
Seventh Round: Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State
Seventh Round: Travis Bond, G, North Carolina
Seventh Round: Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida State
Overall the Vikings nailed the 2013 NFL Draft. Clearly the main reason is the THREE First Round picks. Floyd will likely split time with the aging Kevin Williams, Rhodes will likely start opposite Chris Cook and Patterson will likely be the Vikings kickoff returner and will play the slot. With the signing of Greg Jennings and resigning of Jerome Simpson, the Vikes will put a much better receiving group on the field. Still I wish they would have drafted another wide receiver that would add more depth.
I’m not overly crazy with our new Penn State linebackers, but maybe they will work out. Hodges is an Outside Linebacker and Mauti is a Middle Linebacker that is a tackling machine, but he is recovering from his THIRD ACL surgery.
Hopefully Baca or Bond can push for a starting Guard spot in 2014 or 2015.
I hate drafting a punter period. Especially when other receivers and cornerbacks were out there. We need more depth in both places. Kluwe is mildly expensive and very outspoken, but I think he does just fine punting. I guess I wasn’t crazy about the Blair Walsh (K) pick last year, but that worked out amazingly well.
Monday, April 29, 2013
The Vikings signed or invited to camp 20 undrafted free agents. The most notable is Hall of Fame receiver, Cris Carter’s son, Duron Carter.
Here is the list of players:
James Vandenberg, QB, Iowa
Jerodis Williams, RB, Furman
Bradley Randle, RB, UNLV
Rayon Simmons, RB, Winona State
Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State
Zach Line, FB, Southern Methodist
Duron Carter, WR, Florida Atlantic
Erik Highsmith, WR, North Carolina
Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State
Nicholas Edwards, WR, Eastern Washington
Colin Anderson, TE, Furman
Joe Bonadies, OL, Penn
Garth Heikkinen, OL, Minnesota-Duluth
Camden Wentz, C, North Carolina State
Anthony McCleod, DT, Florida State
Marquis Jackson, DE, Portland State
Collins Ukuw, DE, Kentucky
Nathan Williams, LB, Ohio State
Brandan Bishop, S, North Carolina State
Darius Eubanks, S, Georgia Southern
Saturday, April 27, 2013
The Vikes used their final pick on the NFL Draft to select Defensive End, Everett Dawkins of Florida State. Dawkins adds more depth to the defensive line. I would have liked the Vikes to grab more wide receivers and cornerbacks today, but they went heavy on linebackers from Penn St. and guards.
More on Dawkins:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1630271/everett-dawkins
Newt's Grade: C-
Besides punter, the Vikes decided to draft nothing but linebackers and guards on Day Three of the NFL Draft. Good for more offensive line depth. Will be a long shot to make the Vikes roster. Bond is HUGE and would kick your ass in a street fight for sure.
More on Bond:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664771/travis-bond
Newt's Grade: C-
To start Round 7, Minnesota selected another Penn St. Linebacker. Michael Mauti has had THREE ACL tears. I assume he won't make the team. Wasted pick.
More on Mauti:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1620022/michael-mauti
Newt's Grade: D
The Vikes traded down in the 6th Round and picked up another 7th Round pick. With pick #196, Minnesota added some offensive line depth with the selection of guard, Jeff Baca from UCLA. Baca is the second Jeff from UCLA the Vikes have now drafted with their last two picks. Just a fun fact for ya.
More on Baca:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1631932/jeff-baca
Newt's Grade: B-
With MANY talented players still on the board in HUGE areas of need for the Vikes like Wide Receiver and Cornerback, the Minnesota Vikings decided to waste their 5th Round Draft pick on a punter. Even though he was the top rated punter in the NFL Draft, it is totally unacceptable to take a punter with your 5th Round pick.
More on Locke:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1631955/jeff-locke
Newt's Grade: F
Although I really wanted Quinton Patton (WR) or Da'Rick Rogers (WR), the Vikes selected Gerald Hodges, linebacker from Penn St. will pick #120. It was their first selection since the big splash of three First Round picks on Thursday night.
More on Hodges:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664293/gerald-hodges
Newt's Grade: C-
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wow. What a night! Minnesota worked a last minute deal with New England and traded our 2nd Round pick, our 3rd Round pick, one of our 4th Round picks (#102) and one of our 7th Round picks (#229) to trade back into the 1st Round (#29) to select Patterson.
While we for sure needed a wide receiver, I feel like we gave up a TON for Patterson. Patterson is a boom or bust playmaker with return abilities. He will start opposite Greg Jennings and give Christian Ponder another great option.
More on Patterson:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1996183/cordarrelle-patterson
Newt's Grade: B+
The Vikes need depth and a started opposite of Chris Cook at cornerback and the Vikes now have him, Xavier Rhodes. A big and fast corner that will likely start in 2013 for Minnesota.
More on Rhodes:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1665147/xavier-rhodes
Newt's Grade: B
I absolutely LOVE this pick. Floyd was ranked in Top Ten of EVERY single Mock Draft, rankings, etc that I saw.
More on Floyd:
CBS Sports: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1737102/sharrif-floyd
Newt's Grade: A+
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
With ONLY two days remaining until the NFL Draft, I have gone back and forth many times with my thoughts on what the Minnesota Vikings will do. I have come up with the perfect (in my opinion) picks for the Vikes with their first six picks that would include Rounds One through Four.
I’ve been relegated to the fact that Minnesota needs a Middle Linebacker and Manti Te’o is likely a good fit. The wide receiver class and cornerback classes are deep, but here is my dream Vikings Draft with their first six selections.
Round One: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Round One: Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame
Round Two: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
Round Three: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Round Four: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
Round Four: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington St.
Round One and Two is used filling some holes on the defensive side of the ball. Sylvester Williams, Te’o and Wreh-Wilson will all be expected to start in 2013. Terrance Williams is a steal in the third and will help give us another playmaker at wide receiver. Round Four is spent on two gambles that could pay off huge or be major busts, but it’s the fourth so it is ok if one or both bust. The Honeybadger is not only an elite defensive back, but also can be a return man. Marquess Wilson is a risk worth taking this late in the draft.