Blogs

Getting Griffen’s Motor Revving Won’t Be An Issue In MN

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 27, 2010 – 8:30 am

By most accounts, DE Everson Griffen was a 1st to 2nd round talent. But the Vikings selected him in the 4th round and will add the talented former USC standout to a talented DL rotation.

So what gives? Talk is that inconsistency issues are what caused Griffen to slide all the way to the 4th round. If Griffen has trouble with inconsistency in Minnesota it might not take long for him to be driven out of town. The way it sounds, though, getting Griffen to rev up his motor with the Vikings shouldn’t be a challenge.

I examined the issue and the final product was more extensive than a blog entry should be. So click here to check it out.


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Report: Vikings Agree To Terms With 10 Undrafted Players

Posted by cjsiewert on April 26, 2010 – 2:33 pm

As reported by Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune, 10 undrafted players have agreed to terms with the Vikings after the conclusion of this past weekend’s 3-day NFL Draft. [vikings.com has not confirmed that these 10 players have agreed to terms.]

Here’s a brief look at each one:

R.J. Archer, QB, William & Mary Started in 1 season (2009) for the Tribe where he completed 261 of 433 passes (60.3%) for 2,778 yards and 16 TDs.

Thomas Austin, OG, Clemson – The 6-4, 310-pounder was named 3rd Team All-American by Sporting News in 2009…316 career knock-down blocks, including a team-best 112 in 2009… Started in 38 games throughout his 4-year career.

Matt Hanson, OT, Midwestern State – The 6-7, 315-pound OT is touted as an “under the radar” player with good foot work and punching abilities while he effectively keeps defenders off his body.

Tommy Hernandez, C, UC-Davis – Although he’s a bit on the smaller end for an NFL C (6-2, 283), Hernandez has shown sustainability by starting in 23 straight games for the Aggies in 2008 and 2009.

Aaron Rhea, WR, Stephen F. Austin – A speedy wideout who poses a deep threat and can also be utilized as a punt and kick return specialist.  The 6-1, 202 pound WR caught 59 passes for 809 yards and 10 TDs in 2009.

Terrell Skinner, S, Maryland – A good-sized S (6-3, 214) who was a 2-year starter in the secondary for the Terps.  Skinner is described as a hard worker with good speed and quickness.  He also possesses a long wingspan (6-9) and a 36-inch vertical jump.  Career stats: 137 tackles, 1 FF and 1 INT.

Ray Small, WR, Ohio State – A speedy WR who is also a capable return specialist.  The 5-11, 180-pounder compiled 61 receptions for 659 yards and 3 TDs during his 4-year career as a Buckeye.

Kelton Tindal, WR, Newberry – Perhaps the fastest undrafted player to agree to terms with the Vikings recorded 113 receptions for 1,898 yards and 16 TDS in 4 years at Newberry.  The 6-1, 197-pounder has recorded a 4.32 40-yard dash.

Angelo Williams, CB, Ferris State – Not to be mistaken for Carolina RB DeAngelo Williams, the former Ferris State standout CB was an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection in 2009 and finished his career with 113 tackles and 23 pass breakups in 38 career contests.

Marlon Winn, OT, Texas Tech – Good build for an OT at 6-4, 305 pounds.  At his pro day, Winn recorded a 5.27 40-yard dash and 19 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press.

This is certainly a fresh start for these 10 undrafted players and we’ll see how they pan out after the Vikings hold their 3-day rookie minicamp this weekend.  So check back here as we’ll be sure to report on how the practices went at Winter Park.


Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 26 Comments »

Preseason Attractions On Vikings Schedule

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 26, 2010 – 12:54 pm

A new class of NFL stars was born this past weekend as the NFL held it’s 75th annual draft. These prospective stars will hit the field soon for the respective clubs in minicamps and training camp, but the next time they’ll be on the field in a traditional game setting will be the preseason.

Vikings fans will get to what kind of impact new additions CB Chris Cook and RB Toby Gerhart, along with the other 6 members of the 2010 draft class, will make to the lineup. But they’ll also get to see the draft classes of 4 other teams try and find a place on the roster by performing well in the preseason.

So let’s take a look at the Vikings 4 preseason opponents (date of preseason game) and which players highlighted their draft weekend…

@ St. Louis Rams (8/14)
The Rams boast the #1 overall draft pick, of course, so the Vikings will see QB Sam Bradford in his first real NFL game action. The Vikings will also get an up-close look at a couple of complementary pieces to Bradford – new LT Rodger Saffold (2nd round pick) and new WR Mardy Gilyard (4th round pick).

@ San Francisco 49ers (8/22)
The 49ers had two 1st round picks and used both of them on offensive linemen – T Anthony Davis and G Mike Iupati. But they also landed S Taylor Mays and traded for WR Ted Ginn, Jr. prior to the draft.

vs. Seattle Seahawks (8/28)
Those foolish enough to publish post-draft grades were kind to the Seahawks, who had a pair of 1st round picks and used them on LT Russell Okung and S Earl Thomas. Those 2 will be at Mall of America Field this August and they’ll be joined by a pair of veterans also added to the roster on draft weekend – RBs Leon Washington and LenDale White. Also, former Notre Dame WR Golden Tate was drafted by Seattle and will visit the home state of former teammate Michael Floyd.

vs. Denver Broncos (9/2)
Some Vikings fans wanted Tim Tebow in Minnesota, some wanted nothing to do with Tim Tebow in Purple. As it turns out, everyone will be happy because the Vikings didn’t draft the former Florida QB but he will play at Mall of America Field during the preseason when Denver  comes to town. Tebow will have a pair of rookie WRs on his side in Demaryius Thomas and former Gopher standout Eric Decker.


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Draft Recap Live Chat Tomorrow At 10:00 A.M.

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 26, 2010 – 11:10 am

The 2010 NFL Draft is over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it anymore. With a couple of trades mixed between 8 selections – one of which was a Heisman Trophy runner-up – there’s a lot to talk about.

So let’s chat tomorrow morning at 10.

Click here to join us.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | No Comments »

Monday Morning Mailbag – Draft Edition – Is Posted

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 26, 2010 – 7:59 am

This week’s Monday Morning Mailbag is dedicated exclusively to the 2010 NFL Draft and it is now posted.

Click here to check it out.

Do you have a comment or question? If so, send it to the vikings.com Mailbag. Email me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net and be sure to include your name and town.

Remember that we can’t post every comment/question, but I’ll try to answer them all.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 2 Comments »

Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 25, 2010 – 2:28 pm

The Monday Morning Mailbag rolls on tomorrow, so be sure to submit your questions. With the NFL draft now concluded, there’s much to discuss as the Vikings move forward with a new crop of rookie draft picks.

Send your comment/question to me via email at this address: wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net.

Remember to submit your first name and town with comments and questions and also please remember that although we can’t post every comment/question, we’ll reply to each question.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 49 Comments »

Creative Approach Extracts Late-Round Talent

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 25, 2010 – 11:24 am

Much of the criticism for several of the Vikings late-round picks on Saturday were rooted in the fact that readers believed the Vikings didn’t truly take the best players available at the time of picks. Some wondered why the Vikings took QB Joe Webb when the more-touted Tony Pikes and Zac Robinson’s of the world were still available. I even saw another comment criticizing the Vikings for selecting Ryan D’Imperio because he wasn’t one of the top 63 rated LBs in the country.

While the dialogue and feedback is appreciated, the criticism in this case – and in many others after the draft – is a bit unwarranted. Fans often times react emotionally – which is what fans should do – and sometimes it disallows them to take a global perspective of a draft class.
The Vikings used a creative approach in selecting their late-round picks on Saturday, and both D’Imperio and Webb are actually great examples of this approach.

Click here to read about this approach in more detail…


Posted in All | 19 Comments »

2010 NFL Draft Recap By Conference, Position and School

Posted by cjsiewert on April 24, 2010 – 6:31 pm

Now that all 255 selections have been made in the 2010 NFL Draft, we can take a look back and dissect what positions were most popular or most-needed, what colleges and universities produced the most selections and which conferences provided the strongest class of draftees.

Going into this year’s draft, it was widely agreed upon that the defensive prospects ran deep at many positions, and that came through with flying colors; DB was by far the most popular draft pick with 52 selected. That means there was an average of at least 1 DB selected every 5 picks. The Vikings followed the popular selection by picking Chris Cook in the 2nd round (34th overall).

Another interesting side note to the popular selection of DB is that the position also produced the most underclassmen selected, with 11.  Coming in 2nd place with the popular selection by position was LB, with 35 selected (5 of which were underclassmen).

The university that proved to have the most NFL-ready players was Florida with 9 selected. The Gators also had the most underclassmen selected with 5. When considering high-profile players selected, Oklahoma produced 3 of the top 4 picks in the draft while 4 Sooners were selected in the 1st round – Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams and Jermaine Gresham.

If you were to look at the 2009 college season and wonder which conference emulated the NFL to a certain degree, it would have to be the Southeastern Conference (SEC), with every team from the conference providing a draft selection – Florida: 9, Alabama: 7, LSU: 6, Tennessee: 6, Georgia: 5, Ole Miss: 4, Kentucky: 3, Auburn: 2, Mississippi State: 2, South Carolina: 2, Vanderbilt: 2 and Arkansas: 1. Also, 49 players were selected from the conference while 12 were underclassmen.

Looking at the Vikings selections, Cook was the only selection from Virginia and Joe Webb was the only selection from UAB.  Many of the Vikings faithful believed that the Purple needed to address the defense as a primary concern and that was answered with 4 defensive selections – Cook, DE Everson Griffen, LB Nathan Triplett and LB Ryan D’Imperio.


Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 14 Comments »

Heisman Runner-Up Gerhart Will Complement Peterson Well

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 24, 2010 – 5:36 pm

Early in the build-up to the 2010 NFL Draft, CB and backup RB were 2 positions squarely in focus for the Vikings. Starting CBs Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield are recovering from injuries and the Vikings saw RB Chester Taylor defect to the Chicago Bears.

As the draft drew nearer, backup RB became less of a perceived priority because of the Vikings comfort with Albert Young as a potential replacement for Taylor and also the news of Darius Reynaud switching from WR to RB. Also, the Vikings signed free agent CB Lito Sheppard just 1 day before Thursday’s 1st round, which caused many to shift CB down the priority list as well.

But all of that didn’t stop the Vikings from using their first 2 draft picks on players at those positions. With the 2nd pick in the 2nd round – obtained from the Detroit Lions via trade during the 1st round – the Vikings selected CB Chris Cook out of Virginia. Soon after, the Vikings used their original 2nd round choice and their 3rd round pick to move up into the middle of the 2nd round and tab RB Toby Gerhart as well.

During his post-draft press conference, Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman acknowledged that CB and RB were 2 areas of the roster he wanted to address during the draft

“I knew the corner was the one thing we definitely wanted to address even though we signed Lito Sheppard right before the draft,” Spielman told reporters. “Then Toby Gerhart, again, you have to look at your depth and if something were to ever happen to Adrian Peterson, knock on wood, where is your depth behind Adrian? You just have to make sure you have enough runners behind him in case something, I don’t want to talk about it, but just always make sure you have good depth behind him.”

The selection of Gerhart – a physical runner with a bruising running style – caught some off-guard because the perception is that he doesn’t possess the same traits as Taylor (receiving skills, shiftiness, etc.). But Spielman’s point remains – drafting Gerhart was as much about fortifying the depth behind Peterson as it was about replacing Taylor.

On top of all that, though, Spielman also mentioned that Gerhart, who was the runner-up in 2009 Heisman Trophy balloting, does have the skill set that can be used in important 3rd-down situations.

“Toby is, again, a very physical runner,” Spielman said. “I don’t think people realize the type of receiving skills that he does have out of the backfield and the type of blocking skills that he does show, especially in pass protection.”


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Vikings Top 3 Have Knack For Impact Plays

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 24, 2010 – 3:10 pm

The Vikings roster is one that contains 10 Pro Bowlers from 2009 and it’s also one that came up just short of advancing to Super Bowl XLIV. So for players drafted by the Vikings this year, cracking the starting lineup – let alone the 53-man roster – is going to be a tall task.

But one way to quickly catch the eye of NFL coaches and make a case for a roster spot is to make impact plays that could potentially change games. And in looking at the first 3 Vikings 2010 draft picks, I see a trio of players with a knack for making impact plays in college.

The key for them now is to bring their playmaking ability to the next level, something that’s easier said than done. We won’t know whether or not these top 3 picks can get the job done until they hit the field. For now, though, let’s take a look at their playmaking histories during their college careers.

DB Chris Cook – #34 overall – 143 tackles, 19 pass breakups and 7 INTs at Virginia
RB Toby Gerhart – #51 overall – Averaged 5.2 yards per carry and had 43 career TDs at Stanford. He was a Heisman Trophy runner-up after a 2009 season that included 27 rushing TDs
DE Everson Griffen – #100 overall – 21 tackles for a loss and 18.0 sacks for the USC Trojans

With so many of the Vikings starting roster spots already filled and with the team coming just 1 game shy of the Super Bowl last season, many Vikings fans were looking for the franchise to add a player or 2 who could potentially make a difference for the 2010 season. So while the additions of Cook, Gerhart and Griffen may do the Vikings well in the future, a quick peek at their college careers reveal they may have the ability to make impact plays as soon as this season.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 44 Comments »