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Notes And A Recap Of The Vikings 2011 Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 6:13 pm

The 2011 NFL Draft is officially in the books and the Vikings came away with a total of 10 players. We’ve had tons of draft coverage over the past few days and we’ve got even more coming your way soon.

Click here to go to our “Picks Page” to get all the details of whom the Vikings selected and when they selected them.

Here are a few notes to chew on for now…

– The 10 selections this year are the most since 2000, when the Vikings also chose 10 players in that draft.
– The Vikings selected 5 offensive players and 5 defensive players, with all 5 of the defensive players being selected on Saturday.
– The Vikings consummated a trade with the Cleveland Browns in the 5th round, netting the Purple a pair of 6th round picks this year. In exchange for the 5th-round pick (#150), the Vikings got the 3rd selection of the 6th round (#168 overall) and the 5th selection of the 6th round (#170).
– With the extra 6th-rounders, the Vikings picked up OT DeMarcus Love from Arkansas and S Mistral Raymond from South Florida. Love has great position flexibility and can play on either the left side or the right side and Raymond can play either CB or S.


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Vikings Take DE D’Aundre Reed With 7th-Round Choice

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 3:42 pm

The Vikings continued to add defensive players to their roster on Day 3 of the 2011 NFL Draft, using their first of two 7th-round choices on DE D’Aundre Reed.

Reed is 6-4, 261 pounds and was projected to be a DE in a 4-3 scheme or an outside LB in a 3-4 scheme. The Vikings, of course, run a 4-3 scheme so Reed will join the DE rotation in Minnesota, a stable that is growing and will be one of the most competitive spots on the roster leading up to the regular season.

As is typically the case with picks at this point in the draft, Reed will also be a contributor on special teams for the Vikings.

Here is the NFL.com scouting report on Reed: “Reed brings a lot of versatility to the table but lacks the athleticism to become a starter.. Could turn into a back up run-stopping defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker for a team that stresses gap-integrity. Does a good job against the run, coming off the ball, keeping blockers off his body, and maintaining outside contain but struggles against bigger tackles, with misdirection, and won’t make a ton of plays from the backside or in space. Currently does not offer much as a pass rusher but could develop into an adequate power rusher with some more moves and technical refinement. Reed’s a late-round prospect.”


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Vikings Tab LB Ross Homan As Final 6th-Round Pick

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 3:03 pm

The Vikings selected 4 players in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft, with the final selection being LB Ross Homan out of Ohio State. It sound like Homan was a leader of the Buckeyes defense and was also a valuable contributor on special teams.

Homan joins a Vikings team that has a former LBs coach Fred Pagac as the defensive coordinator and Mike Singletary as the LBs coach.

Here is the NFL.com scouting report on Homan: “Homan is an undersized linebacker with good speed that could potentially develop into a starter on the weak side. He runs very well and shows the ability to chase running backs down from behind. He is a smooth athlete that makes plays in space and flashes the ability to mirror tight ends and running backs in man coverage. However, he lacks the strength and shedding ability to be a run stopper at the next level and can be a non-factor on running plays directed at him. Homan has the skills to be a quality Tampa 2 linebacker and will likely be a middle round pick.”


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Burton A Viking From The Start?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 1:59 pm

For most draft picks, there’s really no way to know which team you’ll end up with after the NFL draft. But for Vikings 5th-round pick CB Brandon Burton, there was apparently an indication from early on in his childhood.

Check out this photo that Burton shared with the Vikings on Saturday…

Burton felt comfortable in a Vikings uniform a long time ago

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A Look At First 3 Vikings Selections In 6th Round

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 1:54 pm

The Vikings entered the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft with 4 picks – the 3rd, 5th and 7th choices in the round and then the 35th pick in the round (compensatory selection). Instead of separate blog entries for each pick, we’ll package the first 3 together and then address the final 6th round pick later.

– With the 3rd pick of the 6th round (#168 overall), the Vikings chose OT Demarcus Love. He played college football at Arkansas and stands 6-4, 315 pounds. Love played LT the past 2 seasons but also played strong-side G before switching to the outside. That kind of versatility will serve him well with the Vikings.

S Mistral Raymond was the Vikings selection with the 5th pick of the 6th round (#170 overall). Raymond played at South Florida and stands at 6-1, 191 pounds.

– The Vikings selected C Brandon Fusco with the 7th pick of the 6th round (#172 overall). He played college football at the Slippery Rock, which is a Division II school. Fusco was the Gene Upshaw Lineman of the Year (given to top offensive lineman in Division II) and was also a 2-time team captain. According to his scouting report on NFL.com, he has the versatility to play either guard or center.

For some extra reading material, here are blurbs from Love’s and Fusco’s scouting reports:

Demarcus Love
Love is an experienced offensive lineman with great size and a lot of starts under his belt at a variety of spots up front. Can be a road-grading, in-line run blocker who can blow defenders off the ball, but must improve his awareness while playing in space. In pass protection, he can have a tough time with speed rushers but does a nice job dealing with blitzers and creative defensive line play. A versatile prospect with plus size and good intangibles, Love could be selected as high as the second round in April.

 Brandon Fusco
Fusco has the toughness and size to make it in the league as a reserve guard or center but lacks the athleticisms necessary to become a starter. Will face a big jump in competition level coming from Division II but was not intimidated at the Senior Bowl. Can anchor in pass protection but needs to get set quicker and doesn’t have the feet to move and slide laterally. Will get some push off the ball when run blocking but has a tendency to play too high and is not productive out in space. Fusco’s build, motor, and attitude could make him a late-round pick.


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DBs Coach Joe Woods Talks About CB Brandon Burton

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 1:16 pm

The Vikings addressed the front of their defense in the 4th round by selecting DL Christian Ballard, surely putting extra pep in the step of DL coach Karl Dunbar. In the 5th round, Vikings DBs coach Joe Woods found the same extra pep in his step because the Vikings decided to select CB Brandon Burton in the 5th round (#139 overall).

Burton stands at 6-0, 190 pounds and is described as a good fit in the Vikings Cover 2 scheme because of his ability to re-route WRs at the line of scrimmage. But in speaking with Woods this afternoon, the Vikings decision to select Burton was more about him just being an overall good football player as opposed to being a great fit in the defensive scheme.

“It’s not really about scheme when you’re looking at players right now,” Woods explained from his perspective. “He’s just a good overall player. Solid in coverage, willing in run support, and he really just understands what he’s doing on the field. That’s really what stands out the most.”

It was actually refreshing to hear Woods explain that a player the team selected wasn’t necessarily chosen because he’s a great fit for the scheme or because of some other rubber-stamped, generic reason that no one can refute. Woods put is simply, saying Burton was just a flat-out good athlete who loves football, will be a smart player and understands how to play defense.

“He’s a big corner, a good athlete and smart,” Woods said. “He’s going to be a student of the game.”


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CB Brandon Burton Is Vikings 5th-Round Pick

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 12:12 pm

The Vikings added another defensive player to this year’s draft class by selecting CB Brandon Burton with a 5th-round pick (#139 overall). It’s the 3rd year in a row they’ve added a CB in the draft and Burton will be a guy who steps in and immediately competes for playing time.

Burton played college football at the University of Utah and he’s exactly what head coach Leslie Frazier likes in a CB – big and physical. Burton is 6-0 and 190 pounds and ran a 4.53 time in the 40-yard dash. The Vikings often require their CBs to re-route WRs off the line of scrimmage, and that’s something Burton excels at, according to his scouting report on NFL.com. Also, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said he had a 3rd-round grade on Burton.

Mayock also cited 3 separate times when Burton won a “jump ball” contest with 1st-round WR Jonathan Baldwin in a game last season.

Here is a paragraph from Burton’s scouting report on NFL.com: “Burton has a nice combination of height and speed. Uses his length to jam and re-route receivers at the line and shows the ability to recover. Does a nice job in off-man reacting to the football in front of him. Can rack up the PBUs and break up the jump ball.”


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Pagac Excited To Get “Versatile” Player In Ballard

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 10:51 am

The Vikings selected offensive players with their first 2 picks of this year’s draft, so you can bet the defensive coaching staff was pleased to add a player like DL Christian Ballard with the team’s first pick on Saturday.

“He’s a total player,” Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said when I asked what he liked about Ballard in evaluating the University of Iowa product. “He comes from a program that plays good defense and produces a lot of NFL players and we’re excited about getting him.”

At 6-4, 283 pounds, Ballard has the size to battle offensive linemen in the trenches but he also possesses the quickness to get past them and be a disruptive force in the offensive backfield. Ballard spent the first 2 years of his career at left DE before moving inside and starting all 13 games of his junior season at DT. In his final season, Ballard rotated often at both spots, starting 8 contests on the outside and 5 more inside.

I have a feeling he’ll be more of an interior lineman with the Vikings, but it’s a luxury to have a guy who can slide to the outside should a need arise there. I’d also expect Ballard to be a core contributor on special teams as a rookie in 2011.

Here are a few stats from Ballard’s official bio: Ballard started 39 of 49 games for Iowa (21 at left defensive end, 18 at defensive tackle)…Recorded 153 tackles (60 solos) with 12.0 sacks for minus 78 yards and 21.5 stops for losses totaling 99 yards…Forced 2 fumbles and blocked 1 field goal attempt…Deflected 3 passes and tallied 10 QB pressures.


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Vikings Take DT Christian Ballard With 4th-Round Pick

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 10:34 am

The Vikings beefed up their defensive line by selecting DT Christian Ballard with their 4th-round pick. This is another great value pick for the Vikings because some had Ballard slotted as a 2nd-round talent.

Ballard played college football at Iowa and stands at 6-4, 283 pounds. His NFL.com scouting report says he “possesses a great frame coupled with quickness and agility.” He might have the versatility to be able to play both DE and DT in the Vikings 4-3 scheme, which is a great quality because he could join the rotation at left DE (if Ray Edwards leaves via free agency) and he could also slide inside to DT should a need arise there (Kevin Williams suspension).

The Vikings now have 6 picks remaning in the 2011 NFL Draft.


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Vikings Set For A Busy Day 3 Of The NFL Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2011 – 9:55 am

Day 3 of the 2011 NFL Draft – rounds 3-7 - is about to begin and it should be a busy for the Vikings because they have 7 selections at their disposal. Let’s take a brief look at where the Vikings stand and what they could address as the 4th round draws closer.

We know the Vikings have addressed the QB position, tabbing Christian Ponder with the 12th pick of the 1st round. The Vikings then got a tremendous value pick in the 2nd round by grabbing TE Kyle Rudolph, the best player at his position in the draft.

In the 4th round, the Vikings hold the 9th overall pick (#106 overall). The Vikings then have 2 picks in the 5th, 6th and 7th rounds. There are several positions the team could address today, but don’t be surprised to see the team package a pair of picks to trade up and grab a player they really like. Also keep in mind that compensatory picks cannot be traded, so the Vikings can’t use their 2nd picks in the 5th and 7th rounds in any trade.

Here are several players I’ll be keeping my eye on in the 4th and 5th rounds…

DT Christian Ballard (Iowa), S Ahmad Black (Florida), OT Clint Boling (Georgia), CB Kendric Burney (North Carolina), CB Brandon Burton (Utah), CB Quinton Carter (Oklahoma), DB Chimdi Chekwa (Ohio State), WR Tandon Doss (Indiana), WR Edmund Gates (Abilene Christian), RB Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington) and WR Greg Salas (Hawaii).

Of those names, you’ll notice that Ballard is the only defensive lineman, so if he somehow slides to the 9th pick of the 3rd round, the Vikings might pounce on him to beef up their defensive line. If he’s gone by the 9th pick of the 3rd round, watch for the Vikings to add Boling to fortify offensive line depth, Black to boost the secondary or one of those CBs to compete with Asher Allen, Chris Cook and Co.


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