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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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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »


12 Responses to “Draft Time Is A Great Time To Be A Vikings Fan”

  1. By clay on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Why would drafting a quarterback be the best option this coming season? There are a couple QB’s in free agency that I think would be a much better choice. The only draft prospect at the quarterback position I feel would be a good fit is Jake Locker. Bring in Kolb

  2. By Stoney on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Forget Kolb, price too high, besides what has he done in the NFL? Why is it a great time to be a Viking fan? Because our former A-Hole coach gave away our 3rd rd pick? No QB? Several other holes to fill? Never won a super bowl, or that we lost our last 5 NFC championship appearences? Sorry, I’m just venting. Time for a fatty!

  3. By I'm excited to see what Spielman does with the first round pick...I would love to see Da’Quan Bowers fall to the 12 spot...I know its unlikely but I'm hoping Sf and Tennessee fall in love with Qbs.. on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    I’m excited to see what Spielman does with the first round pick…I would love to see Da’Quan Bowers fall to the 12 spot…I know its unlikely but I’m hoping Sf and Tennessee fall in love with Qbs and pushes all of the Defenders that r left dwn. I could also see them moving back a couple of picks to get a late 3rd round pick. Especially if one of the top tier WR fall to the 12 spot…

  4. By Frederick Jones on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Mike W., Thank you for the input.

    The Vikings Do have a great opportunity with the 12th round pick to get a significant player.

    It is a litttle trickier with the CBA and Free Agents. It has to raise some questions for Frazier and Spielman.

  5. By Rogerthevikefan on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Trade with either the chargers or patriots. Both would likely want to get Julio Jones so if he falls to 12 one of them might want jump the rams to get the big man.

  6. By Dennis on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    I think the vikings may have a slight shot at a wild card spot this year but don’t think they have a chance to take the division.G.B is just to complete a team . Why not use this time to get Webb some experience. I think the kid has remarkable talent and poise. I am excited about his future and hope he’s still milking Bret for whatever knowledge he can. Get a decent backup and let Webb go. Let him make his mistakes and learn his trade in a year that more than likely isn’t going to amount to much anyway. I’ve watched this team struggle for many years, whats one more year in the toilet?

  7. By Nick on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Realistically we could trade down in the first perhaps with the Pats and still be able to take Locker or Mallett down there. Kyle Rudolph in the second could help the O-Line as well as the receiving corps, the guy (Rudolph) looks the real deal. Be nice if Ryan Bartholomew was then there in the fourth.

  8. By James on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Green Bay got lucky to make the postseason(bad play by T.B.&Gmen) and they will have the same team.One free agent(J.Peppers)and M.Tice fixing the front line (and they were bad the year before and begining 2010) that dabears are also beatable.So why can other teams turn it around with little change and new coaches in one year but most of you think its a rebuilding time.A good draft (not a QB..FA>)and a good free agent signing and some good coaching it not to far fetched.

  9. By Woodboat on Apr 1, 2011 | Reply

    James, I feel ya, bro. But it is stretching it a little to think that this team will turn right back around. We are missing too many pieces. Realistically rate our starting 22, and I think the only guys you can be proud of are Peterson, Harvin, Shiancoe, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Greenway, and EJ Henderson. I didn’t include Rice or Ray Edwards as I expect them to sign elsewhere. So I come up with 7 out of 22 and our QB is on the not good side. Our O Line stinks, our DBs stink. Add to that a head coach that frankly got used up as a defensive coordinator last year (honestly, tell me you were impressed with our defense….), and I don’t see a happy outcome this year. That doesn’t make it a bad thing tho, folks. Make strong, positive steps towards making this a long term successful franchise, and I’ll be happy with 7-9.

  10. By Frederick Jones on Apr 5, 2011 | Reply

    @Woodboat,

    You may be right, we might be crazy to expect a super bowl this year. I believe our biggest problem is our depth.

    The defense played great at times. You have to consider that the offense was often AWFUL. Leslie Frazer was the D. Coordinator in 2009, and they were consistently great that year. It does bother me that we do not have any defensive backs other than Winfield.

    We’ll have to pull off some near-miracles in the draft and with free agents. Certainly anything is possible. Didn’t it surprise you that the Packers won???

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