We’ve talked about a lot of different QBs here on vikings.com over the past few months, from top prospects such as Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Cam Newton to the “next tier” of passers such as Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett. Through it all, consensus has been absent and opinion has been rampant.
That’s the beauty of the NFL draft for NFL fans. Everyone has their opinions and there are so many players and so many scenarios that there’s a seemingly endless amount of topics to discuss and debate. When you add in mock drafts and talking heads on ESPN and NFL Network trying to guess how teams are going to operate on draft day, there is so much information and opinion that it can be confusing.
But Vikings fans can take solace in knowing that their teams draft room won’t be spinning when the 2011 NFL Draft begins on Thursday evening. The Vikings, under the guidance of VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman and his staff, along with the coaching staff, have evaluated this year’s class of QBs and it sounds like a plan is in place.
“We’ve done an extensive study, and every one of these guys has a strength and a weakness,” Spielman said. “We are identifying what those strengths are and what those weaknesses are. Specifically, if any of these guys’ weakness can be corrected, or is it an off-the-field weakness, or a leadership weakness, or an on-the-field issue. Everyone has different issues, we’ve been through that and what we feel comfortable with.
“We analyzed all this and went through every guy’s strength and weakness, and everyone got an opportunity to speak their mind. We feel very confident with where we have these quarterbacks stacked.”
It’s good the Vikings feel confident in their evaluation of this year’s QB class because there’s a good chance one of those prospects will be on the roster later this summer competing with Joe Webb. And that leads us to another element of this year’s draft and entire offseason that Spielman brought up and indicated the team was prepared to handle: how the work stoppage impacts the Vikings going forward.
Specifically, the Vikings of course have a new head coach in Leslie Frazier and that means a partially new coaching staff. What also typically comes with a new head coach and coaching staff is more roster turnover than usual. This will inevitably breathe new life into the Vikings roster, but it also adds some complexity because it’s not certain when these new players – both QBs and players at other positions – will be able to begin practicing and acclimating themselves to the team with the work stoppage. This will all need to be factored in by Spielman and Co. during the draft.
“The other thing you have to look at in this draft, that is so much different than the drafts in the past, is that the rookies you bring in, if they’re not here, and they’re not here until August, they have missed all that time with the coaches, all of the OTAs and mini-camps,” Spielman explained. “I believe that they will be significantly further behind than a normal rookie class would be because of the lack of working with our coaches, lack of knowledge of the system, and getting acclimated to our game. We will have to be more patient with our rookie class; if the scenario comes up that these guys don’t show up until sometime in August.”
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Leslie Frazier, Rick Spielman
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