One of the most popular Vikings events of the year is the Vikings Draft Party, which in the past has been held on Saturday of draft weekend and culminates with the team making its 1st round selection. Anyone who was there when the Vikings took Chad Greenway at #17 in 2006, Adrian Peterson at #7 in 2007 or Percy Harvin at #22 in 2009 surely remembers the intense anticipation and the palpable excitement that existed in the build up to and celebration after the selections were made.
This year, though, Vikings Draft Party plans had to be adjusted because the NFL has dramatically altered the structure of its draft, making it a 3-day event (April 22-24) that features the 1st round on Thursday evening and subsequent rounds the following 2 nights. But the Vikings have adjusted and will still provide fans with a place(s) to gather during the draft to celebrate the addition of another class of young, talented players to an already talented roster.
Rather than having one large gathering at the Vikings indoor practice facility, the team will hold local draft parties from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. at 12 different Twin Cities locations. Being that the 1st round is on a weeknight and also because the Vikings pick 30th and won’t make their selection until later in the evening, this new setup will be more convenient for fans looking to catch all the excitement surrounding the NFL draft.
Each local draft party will feature the same aspects as the previously structured draft parties, including appearances by current and former players, Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders and Viktor.
For more information and complete details on locations, click here.
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For the 2nd year in a row, Don Banks of SI.com has unveiled his “Wes Welker Watch List,” which tries to identify 10 off-the-radar prospects who might have a chance to earn NFL roster spots even though they will likely be either undrafted or chosen in later rounds.
To piggyback off of that, I thought we could take a look at 3 of the players on Banks’ list who might be good fits on the Vikings roster.
– I think it’s appropriate to start off with Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller because of something I wrote in this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag about Tim Tebow. Many of you probably haven’t heard of Hiller, which means odds are that he’ll be considered a “project” as a young passer in the NFL. I believe the same can be said of Tebow. The reason I’ll be interested to see if either Hiller or Tebow are selected by the Vikings is because I think the Vikings are a team well-equipped to take on a project at the QB position. They have a veteran QB already on the roster to serve as a good example (Brett Favre, hopefully) and they have a few coaches – a head coach, specifically – with a history of working with QBs who’ve had great careers. Aside from good size (6-4, 229 pounds), I also think Hiller fits well with the Vikings because he was a 4-year starter in college who played quite a bit under center, rather than playing primarily in a spread offense out of the gun formation. I don’t know about his injury history and I haven’t seen his arm tested, so I won’t say he’s a perfect fit for the Vikings. But there is evidence that exists that might point to him being a solid candidate for the Purple.
– It’s always a good idea to add depth to the offensive line, and perhaps OT Ramon Harewood of Morehouse College could do just that for the Vikings. Harewood measures in at 6-7, 355 pounds and Banks said the offensive lineman “is a physics and engineering major who wows scouts with his blend of intelligence and physicality.” The Vikings tend to target versatile linemen when searching for depth, and I’m not sure if Harewood can play multiple positions. But I am sure the Vikings are also looking for good football players and if they think Harewood has a future, he might be on the roster once draft weekend concludes.
– Speaking of offensive linemen with position flexibility, Iowa State’s Reggie Stephens projects as a G/C combo at the NFL level and could be another candidate to provide depth along the Vikings offensive line. Banks points out that Stephens wasn’t invited to the Combine, which isn’t a positive, but the 6-3, 314-pounder has prototypical size for a versatile linemen and he fits a favored characteristic of the Vikings in that he played 4 years in college.
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For the 3rd straight year, vikings.com is feeding off the hype of March Madness and doing a weekly feature called Mock Madness, which tracks the draft projections of several national football observers, such as Pat Kirwan of NFL.com and both Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN.
The feature began 3 weeks ago with Mock Madness 1.0 and continues this week.
To view Mock Madness 4.0, click here.
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