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Miller Lite Vikings Draft Party Returns To Winter Park

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 31, 2011 – 1:40 pm

Last year the annual Miller Lite Vikings Draft Party was held in various locations throughout the metro area. This year, the Miller Lite Vikings Draft Party will return to Winter Park.

The always-popular event for Vikings fans will take place on Thursday, April 28 during the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft. General admission tickets go on sale Friday, April 1. Tickets are just $10 and can be purchased at vikings.com. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the event should last until 9:30 p.m.

The radio home of the Vikings, KFAN Radio (AM 1130), will provide live local coverage of the event from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. broadcasting on site. The evening will include a few special guest appearances, and will also feature Viktor the Viking and the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders. Fans can enjoy live NFL Network coverage of the 1st round of the draft on the large screen. Great tailgate fare and prizes will be given away throughout the evening.

The 2011 Miller Lite Vikings Draft Party and the NFL Draft will take place regardless of the on-going labor situation.


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Digging Deeper On Locker Accuracy Concerns

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 31, 2011 – 9:59 am

Jake Locker is a name linked to the Vikings frequently in draft speculation. The Vikings as an organization have not expressed more interest in Locker than they have any other QB prospects, but football fans and observers tie Locker to the Vikings because of the perceived need at the position and because Locker is expected to still be on the board when the Vikings are scheduled to pick at #12.

Perhaps more common, though, than Locker being linked to the Vikings is Locker being criticized for his lack of accuracy in college, and even his won-loss record (15-25). But is that criticism fair?

I took a closer look at these 2 criticisms, but the analysis was too long to put here on the blog. Check it out by clicking here, and then let us know what you think by either posting a comment below the article and/or by coming back to this blog entry and posting a comment.


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Draft Time Is A Great Time To Be A Vikings Fan

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 31, 2011 – 8:15 am

Vikings fans whom I interact with via email and the comments section on vikings.com have made it clear that it’s been tough to be a Vikings fan recently. A heart-breaking conclusion to the 2009 season in the NFC title game followed by an extremely disappointing 2010 season that included the Metrodome’s roof collapse. Add in the NFL labor unrest and an unresolved stadium situation, and there seems to be good reason for the lament.

But the Vikings organization has an opportunity to catch a break – an opportunity to find some luck – and that opportunity is the NFL draft. For every NFL team, the annual NFL draft represents the beginning of a new season. But for the Vikings this year – with a new head coach in place and plenty of roster turnover expected – the draft represents a great chance to replenish the roster with young talent and fill important vacancies that were partially to blame for disappointing on-field results from previous seasons.

The reason this year’s draft represents a great opportunity for the Vikings is not only because this year’s class is deep on the defensive talent and pretty good on offensive talent. It’s also because the Vikings have a great track record in the draft since the arrival of VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman, and it’s also because Spielman and his personnel department have a full contingent of picks with which to work.

Spielman’s first draft in Minnesota was the 2007 NFL Draft, in which the club selected RB Adrian Peterson 7th overall and also chose WR Sidney Rice in the 2nd round and DE Brian Robison in the 4th round. In 2008 the Vikings grabbed S Tyrell Johnson in the 2nd round, DT Letroy Guion in the 5th-round and future starting C John Sullivan in the 6th round. The 2009 draft was Spielman’s best, as he found rookie of the year Percy Harvin in the 1st round, starting RT Phil Loadholt in the 2nd, CB Asher Allen in the 3rd, LB Jasper Brinkley in the 5th and S Jamarca Sanford in the 7th. And although it’s still early, the 2010 draft looks pretty decent with CB Chris Cook (2nd round), RB Toby Gerhart (2nd round), DE Everson Griffen (4th round), G Chris DeGeare (5th round) and QB Joe Webb (6th round) all figuring to be significant contributors in 2011 and even FB Ryan D’Imperio (7th round) capable of competing for a roster spot in training camp.

In total, the Vikings got 27 starts from their rookies in 2007, 7 starts in 2008, 28 starts in 2009 and 13 starts in 2010. Of Spielman’s 26 draft selections since 2007, 18 of them are still on the Vikings roster and only 1 is not currently in the NFL. Also of Spielman’s 26 draft selections in Minnesota, 14 of them have played in double-digit games during their rookie seasons. Two recent Vikings draft picks (Peterson and Harvin) have won rookie of the year honors.

So this year Spielman will use his rookie evaluation acumen to try and fill some holes on the Vikings roster. With 8 total picks, including an extra pick in the 5th and 6th rounds, the Vikings will have flexibility to move up if they identify a player they want. But Spielman and Co. have also shown the shrewdness to move back and still wind up with a player they covet while also acquiring an extra selection.

Even more good news for Vikings fans is the team is committed to finding a QB at some point this offseason to compete with Webb for the starting job. That player could most certainly come in the draft, and it’s always fun to identify a QB you like in the draft and hope your favorite team selects that player. Furthermore, the Vikings could certainly use some young talent on their defense and this draft is absolutely loaded with defensive talent. CB Patrick Peterson is considered by many to be one of the best CB prospects to come out in a while and NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock projects that as many as 9 DEs could come out of the 1st round of this year’s draft.

The last paragraph should get any Vikings fan excited for the draft later this month, no matter how hard you’ve taken the last 16 months or so. Times have been tough recently, but I think the 2011 NFL Draft will be a turning point for success in upcoming seasons.


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Reminder: MVC Open Auditions Are This Weekend

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on March 28, 2011 – 1:49 pm

As a reminder, open auditions for the 2011 Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders are this Saturday, April 2 at the Winter Park Field House in Eden Prairie.  Tryouts get underway at 9 a.m.

For more info, click here to visit the 2011 MVC Auditions page.

Note that regardless of the NFL labor situation, the MVC will have a team in 2011-12.


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Vikings Round-By-Round Selections For 2011 NFL Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 26, 2011 – 7:10 am

NOTE: This blog entry was updated on March 26 to reflect the compensatory picks the NFL awarded the Vikings for losses the team suffered last year during free agency.  The “new picks” are in bold below.

With a season to forget fading quickly in the rear view mirror and with the pesky NFL labor situation dominating the headlines, the best thing to talk about and think about is the NFL draft and the excitement it can bring a franchise. It’s still a bit too early to start following mock drafts via our Mock Madness feature and I’m not ready to start zeroing in on preferred prospects.

In the meantime, though, here are some more details regarding the selections the Vikings hold for the 2011 NFL Draft. In a previous entry, we explained that the Vikings had picks in the 1st, 2nd and 4th rounds, two picks in the 5th round and then a selection in both the 6th and 7th rounds. The NFL recently released the actual pick each team has in those rounds. A list of the Vikings picks is provided below.

Keep in mind, though, that Compensatory Selections have not yet been determined. The Compensatory Selections are added at the ends of rounds 3-7. Also as some food for thought, here is a trivia question you can ask your friends. The Vikings have selected a player in the NFL draft with the #12 overall selection just one time in franchise history. Who is that player and in what year was he drafted by the Vikings? The answer is at the bottom of this blog entry.

Here is a round-by-round list of the Vikings selections…

1st round, 12th pick (#12 overall)
2nd round, 11th pick (#43 overall)
4th round, 9th pick
5th round, 8th pick
5th round, 19th pick (from NY Giants)
6th round, 7th pick
6th round, 35th pick
7th round, 13th pick
7th round, 35th pick

Answer to trivia question: Chuck Foreman in 1973


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Spielman Talks Draft, Offseason On KFAN

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on March 25, 2011 – 12:35 pm

Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman joined the voice of the Vikings, Paul Allen, on AM 1130 KFAN on Friday, March 25 to discuss the on-going offseason, the upcoming NFL Draft, and much more.

Click here to listen / download the MP3 file of Spielman’s appearance.


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Good News From Goodell On Kevin Williams, Stadium Issues

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 23, 2011 – 12:15 pm

NFL owners held meetings in New Orleans over the last few days and on Tuesday at the meetings NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a news conference. After the news conference, Twin Cities reporters caught up with Goodell and the commissioner had some good news for Vikings.

First, it appears that DT Kevin Williams, who has dropped his appeal in the StarCaps case, is not in line to be suspended once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is ratified. At least not right away.

“I think we’ll wait until the litigation is done before we make a decision [on any potential suspensions],” Goodell told two Twin Cities reporters, via Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune and the Access Vikings blog.

Goodell was also asked about the current stadium situation in Minnesota.

“All efforts are to keep the team there,” Goodell said. “I think there’s some urgency to having the stadium addressed both in the short term and the long term. We have a short-term issue with the Dome itself, a long-term issue with getting a solution to that.”

Zulgad also points out that Goodell would be “more than happy” to travel to Minnesota to help find a resolution and also that the NFL Commissioner has been in touch with Ted Mondale, who is chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.


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Correction To Compensatory Pick Question In Mailbag

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 22, 2011 – 6:15 am

I wanted to take a quick moment this morning to issue a correction to an answer in this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag. In the first question of this week’s MMM, Gideon asked a two-part question that dealt with the draft and, specifically, the compensatory selections the Vikings would receive in the 2011 NFL Draft.

I explained that we didn’t know the status of the Vikings compensatory selections because teams are awarded those selections based off of the results of free agency. And since free agency was delayed due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement impasse, we don’t have a way of knowing how many compensatory picks will be awarded to the Vikings.

The answer was partially true, but also partially inaccurate.

On Monday afternoon I noticed a tweet from Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com that indicated the inaccuracy in the answer. Reiss tweeted that the NFL typically awards compensatory selections during the March owners’ meetings but that early word this year is the picks will be announced at a later date. To further confirm the inaccuracy in the Mailbag, I received a note from a reader pointing out that the compensatory selections are indeed based off of free agency movement but that it’s the free agency movement from the previous year.

Adam Warwas is the reader who pointed this out to me. He said in an email: “The Vikings are expected to get two picks (no better than 5th-rounders) for losing OL Artis Hicks and RB Chester Taylor while being quiet in free agency themselves. Again, these picks are based off of 2010′s free agency movement, and are expected to be awarded next week. The CBA unrest only has comp pick ramifications moving forward beyond this upcoming draft.”

After doing some research (research I should’ve done on Monday before answering the question!), I quickly realized that Adam is spot on. I also checked out Adam’s blog – www.vikingsgab.com – and he has some good stuff on there. I encourage readers of this blog to pay him a visit at his site as well.

More on compensatory picks
– Under terms of the CBA, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of 4.

– Teams that gain and lose the same number of players but lose higher-valued players than they gain also can be awarded a pick, but only in the seventh round (after the other compensatory picks).

– The compensatory choices supplement the selections in the 7 rounds of the draft, and the compensatory selections are added to rounds 3-7.

– Compensatory picks cannot be traded, and the placement of the picks is determined by a proprietary formula based on the player’s salary, playing time and postseason honors with his new team, with salary being the primary factor. Not every free agent lost or signed by a team is covered by this formula, which the NFL Management Council developed.

– If fewer than 32 compensatory picks are awarded, the balance of picks is awarded in the order in which teams would pick in a hypothetical 8th round of the draft (these are known as “supplemental compensatory selections”).


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Lots To Check Out On vikings.com

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 21, 2011 – 6:48 am

With the NFL in a work stoppage and the great action of college basketball’s March Madness, it’s understandable if you let a few updates on vikings.com slip through the cracks over the weekend. But now that it’s Monday morning and a new week has begun, it’s time to get you caught up.

We’re here to help.

Mock Madness 2.0 is up and there are several notable changes to the mock drafts of NFL insiders.
– This week’s Monday Morning Mailbag tackles several topics, including the idea of trading Adrian Peterson (I fell off my chair when I first saw it, too) and a look at what other teams have received for trading back in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
Last week’s edition of Vikings Weekly took a close look at new Vikings LBs coach Mike Singletary and current Vikings LB Jasper Brinkley.
Minnesota lost a football legend last week with the passing of former Vikings assistant coach and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Coach Murray Warmath.
– NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to NFL players.


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Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 18, 2011 – 9:26 am

The vikings.com Monday Morning Mailbag will roll on right through March Madness this week. Do you have questions?

To submit a comment or question to the mailbag, send an email to me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. You can also submit your comment or question in the comments section below this entry.

Remember to include your name and town on the email. We can’t post every comment and question, but we’ll try to answer each question.


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