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Studwell On Griffen: “Too Much Ability To Pass”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 24, 2010 – 8:51 am

The Vikings got to work early on Day 3 of the 2010 NFL Draft by using their only (as of now) 4th round draft pick on Everson Griffen, a 6-3, 273-pound DE from USC. Griffen was projected to go much higher in this year’s draft, but concerns of inconsistency may have hurt his draft stock, according to NFL.com.

Speaking with reporters immediately after the pick, Vikings Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell acknowledged the concerns that come with Griffen, but also expressed excitement and optimism about adding a player as talented as Griffen to the roster.

“He’s got all the athletic traits that we’re looking for in a defensive lineman,” Studwell said. “He can play on both sides, he can probably also go inside on nickel. He can run, he’s athletic.

“The consistency level has to improve somewhat in his play. There were games where he was a first round pick and games when he would disappear. But he’s got great value where we took and I think he’ll blossom as a pro.”

Studwell said the Vikings were confident that tutelage from DL coach Karl Dunbar and the presence of players such as Jared Allen and Kevin Williams in the meeting room will help Griffen improve and blossom as an NFL player.

The selection of Griffen is another example of the Vikings sticking to their philosophy of drafting the best available player and not drafting based on need. Studwell said Griffen was the highest-rated player on their board at the time and they decided to move on him even though DE wasn’t a position of need.

“It wasn’t a priority position for us,” Studwell said. “We’ve got some pretty good defensive ends on our team right now. But he just had too much ability to pass.”


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A Few Names To Keep An Eye On

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 24, 2010 – 8:07 am

A couple of weeks ago Don Banks of SI.com unveiled his 2nd annual “Wes Walker Watch List,” which points out players who would be drafted late or would not be drafted who could make an NFL roster.

Of the players on that list, we identified 3 who might be good fits with the Vikings. Now that we’re on the 3rd day of the 2010 NFL Draft, let’s re-visit those names and see where they are drafted today.

QB Tim Hiller – 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.

OT Ramon Harewood – He 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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Vikings Remaining Draft Picks

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 24, 2010 – 7:21 am

The Vikings have been busy during the first 2 days of the 2010 NFL Draft and it looks like they’ll be busy yet again today as rounds 4-7 take place. With 6 picks in the draft’s final 4 round, the Vikings are certainly likely candidates to do some shuffling – trading up or down – before all is said and done.

The action begins today at 9:00 a.m. CT and we’ll be live chatting right at 9:00 to kick things off.

Here are the Vikings picks in rounds 4-7:

Round 4: 2nd (#100 overall) [Drafted DE Everson Griffen]
Round 5: 30th (#161 overall), 36th (#167 overall)
Round 6: 30th (#199 overall)
Round 7: 7th (#214 overall), 30th (#237 overall)


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Cook, Gerhart Decide On Jersey Numbers

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 23, 2010 – 7:59 pm

I’m sure that once you’re drafted by an NFL team there are a lot of decisions to be made.

And although I’m not sure this would qualify as one of the more important decisions, it’s a fun one to report nonetheless.

Vikings 2nd round picks Chris Cook and Toby Gerhart have decided on jersey numbers. Cook will wear #31 and Gerhart will wear #32. Note that these numbers are subject to change.


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Gerhart Selection Gives Vikings Options, Competition At #2 RB

Posted by cjsiewert on April 23, 2010 – 7:06 pm

The Vikings traded up with the Houston Texans for the 51st overall pick in the 2nd round to grab former Stanford RB Toby Gerhart in exchange for their 2nd (#62) and 3rd (#93) round picks.

When the Vikings lost Chester Taylor to the Chicago Bears in free agency, many Vikings fans became uneasy with the #2 RB spot. Questions started to circulate on whether they would pick up a free agent, turn to youngsters Albert Young, Ian Johnson or James Johnson, look to newly-converted WR-to-RB Darius Reynaud or select a top-notch RB in the draft.

Speculate no more, the Vikings have added Gerhart via the draft.

The addition of Gerhart will give the Vikings more options to work with at the backup RB position. Standing behind Adrian Peterson on the depth chart, the Vikings now have Gerhart, Ian Johnson, James Johnson, Reynaud and Young. The offseason workouts and training camp will ultimately prove who will earn the Purple’s backup RB role or they may prove to offer a backup RB role by committee.

Along with giving the Vikings options at the #2 RB position, the addition of Gerhart will provide a healthy competition between the current core of RBs.

A couple interesting notes on Gerhart…
— He is the 1st RB chosen by the Vikings since Adrian Peterson in 2007.
— He is the 9th player selected by the Vikings from Stanford and the 1st since DT Willie Howard was selected in the 2nd round (57thoverall) in the 2001 NFL Draft.

Check back here on vikings.com to watch on-demand versions press conferences featuring Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman and Head Coach Brad Childress.


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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 48 Comments »

Vikings Trade Up, Grab Gerhart

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 23, 2010 – 5:40 pm

In typical Rick Spielman fashion, the Vikings have moved up in the 2nd round to grab a player they had targeted.

After addressing their secondary with their first 2nd round pick earlier in the day, the Vikings used their second 2nd round pick on Heisman Trophy runner-up RB Toby Gerhart.

To move up to pick #51 overall to grab Gerhart, the Vikings sent Houston their 2nd round pick (#62 overall) and their 3rd round selection. We’ll have more on this selection very soon right here on vikings.com so stick with us.


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Cook Selection Adds More Depth To Secondary

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 23, 2010 – 5:01 pm

The Vikings selected former Virginia DB Chris Cook with the 34th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. It was the Vikings 1st pick of this year’s draft and it is 1 of 2 second round picks the Vikings had entering Friday after making a trade with the Detroit Lions at the end of the 1st round on Thursday night.

It’s the 2nd time in 3 days the Vikings have added depth to their secondary – they signed free agent CB Lito Sheppard earlier in the week to bolster a CB position that will see starters Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield return from injury in 2010.

Cook has a nice blend of size – 6-2, 212 pounds – and speed, and perhaps his greatest attribute is position flexibility. Various scouting reports indicate Cook can play both CB and S. I’ve also read in some scouting reports that Cooks is a very physical defender who has quick hands and had a strong senior season and strong performance during practices at the Senior Bowl.

To this point I’ve seen plenty of negative feedback with this pick, but I’d urge fans to use caution in doing so. Often times this criticism is rooted in unfamiliarity and certainly in this instance the criticism also comes from the fact that many fans wanted the Vikings to take QB Jimmy Clausen.

The selection of Cook addresses a need the Vikings had entering the draft – CB – and it gives them a player who will likely play multiple positions and also has a skill set that will allow him to contribute on special teams.

A few other interesting notes on Cook…
— He is the 1st University of Virginia player drafted by the Vikings
— He is the highest-drafted DB in University of Virginia football history

We’ll have more on this pick and the rest of the Vikings draft picks in rounds 2 and 3 later today so stay tuned to vikings.com.


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Vikings Select CB Chris Cook Early In 2nd Round

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 23, 2010 – 4:16 pm

The Vikings chose CB Chris Cook with the 2nd pick of the 2nd round (#34 overall) on Friday, marking their 1st selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Cook joins a position group that already includes starters Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield as well as 2009 3rd round pick Asher Allen and veterans Benny Sapp and Lito Sheppard.

We’ll have more on Cook soon right here on vikings.com, including photos, a biography, stats and then comments from Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman after the Vikings make their 2nd selection in the 2nd round.

Stay tuned to vikings.com for all the latest Vikings-related draft developments.


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2nd Round Draft Picks Under Spielman

Posted by cjsiewert on April 23, 2010 – 3:58 pm

Ever since Rick Spielman took the reigns as the Vikings VP of Player Personnel on May 30, 2006, the Vikings have had some very productive players come out their draft picks in which Spielman oversees – All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson in 2007 and 2009 Rookie of the Year Percy Harvin, just to name a couple.

The Purple have 2 draft picks in the 2nd round (#34 and #62) coming within the next couple of hours, so, let’s take a look at which players have come out of the 2nd round under Spielman’s supervison…

2007 – Sidney Rice (44), WR, South Carolina: Rice has solidified himself as an every-down threat to opposing defenses.  Rice had a career-year last season, pulling in 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and 8 TDs.

2008 – Tyrell Johnson (43), S, Arkansas State: Many Vikings fans may have been upset with Johnson’s production over the past 2 seasons, here’s his 2009 numbers – 15 GP/GS, 57 tackles (48 solo, 9 ast.) and 1 INT. The jury is still out but remember he became a full-time starter in just his 2nd year.

2009 – Phil Loadholt (54), T, Oklahoma: Loadholt had an immediate impact on the Vikings offense in the 2009 season.  The 6-8, 343-pounder started in every game but 1, helping Adrian Peterson rush for over 1,000 yards and Brett Favre throw for over 4,000 yards and 33 TDs.


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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 30 Comments »

The Vikings Options At Pick #34

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 23, 2010 – 2:37 pm

The 2nd day of the 2010 NFL Draft gained some relevance for the Vikings last night when they consummated a trade with the Detroit Lions to slide back 4 picks to the top of the 2nd round. Now instead of picking a player at the end of round 1 and then waiting another entire round to choose again, the Vikings will choose 2nd in the 2nd round and then be on the clock again in the 2nd round with the 30th pick (they also moved up in the 4th round and gained an additional 7th round pick because of the trade).

So what are the Vikings options with the 2nd pick of the 2nd round? Let’s examine briefly…

Trade back
Something not a lot of fans want to hear, but it is possible the Vikings trade back again to acquire more picks and find better value. If QB Jimmy Clausen is not taken with the 1st pick of the 2nd round, I think the Vikings will trade back. But if a team moves up into the St. Louis Rams spot at the top of the 2nd round, then I think the Vikings will take a player with the 2nd pick.

Draft Offensive Player
The popular pick might be Clausen, but my gut is that won’t be the pick. If the Vikings thought Clausen was their QB of the future, wouldn’t they have taken him at #30? Why trade back and risk someone moving ahead of you and grabbing him? But maybe Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman has a good idea that no one will jump ahead of them to take Clausen. They knew the Colts (#31) and Saints (#32) wouldn’t take him, and obviously St. Louis (#33) isn’t interested after taking Sam Bradford #1 overall. We’ll see.

If not Clausen, who else on offense might be a good fit for the Vikings? Well, there’s another QB garnering some attention – Colt McCoy. He’s not as NFL-ready as Clausen, but if Brett Favre comes back for 1 or more seasons, the Vikings wouldn’t need McCoy to be NFL ready for a year or 2. Other offensive players to watch include OTs Charles Brown from Southern Cal. and Rodger Saffold from the University of Indiana. There are a couple of other sneaky names the Vikings may be considering, but not at #34. If the Vikings trade out of #34, we’ll throw some of those names out there for you to chew on.

Draft Defensive Player
If the Vikings don’t trade out and they don’t choose Clausen, McCoy, an OT or any other offensive player, then they could use the 34th overall pick to enhance their defense. There are a couple of talented DTs still available – Lamarr Houston and Brian Price. A couple of secondary options are there, too – CB Chris Cook and S Taylor Mays. And there’s also DE Everson Griffen and LBs Sergio Kindle and Daryl Washington.

Or they could take someone not listed in any of the 3 paragraphs above. As we always say, time will tell.

Be sure to stick with vikings.com to stay on top of all the latest Vikings-related draft developments and news.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 18 Comments »