Although it’s not even certain the Vikings will stand pat with the #12 pick in the 1st round of Thursday’s NFL draft, let’s take a look at the history of the 12th overall pick and see what kind of player the Vikings might be able to find.
The last 5 years of the 12th pick has been quite impressive. The best of that bunch was taken back in 2006, when the Baltimore Ravens tabbed DT Haloti Ngata with the 12th pick. After that, though, the names don’t regress much. RB Marshawn Lynch went to the Bills in that slot during the 2007 draft, OT Ryan Clady to the Broncos in 2008, RB Knowshon Moreno to the Broncos in 2009 and in 2010 RB Ryan Mathews was the pick for San Diego.
If you go back further in history, impressive names remain. LBs Shawne Merriman (2005) and Jonathan Vilma (2004) are relatively recent picks, while QB Joe Namath (1965) and Vikings legend RB Chuck Foreman (1973) represent names from the past. Other impressive names include Shaun Ellis in 2000, Warrick Dunn in 1997, Warren Sapp in 1995, Trace Armstrong in 1989 and Clay Matthews in 1978.
I’ve compiled the full list of 12th overall picks in the NFL since the Vikings inception in 1961; you can view the list by clicking here.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Chuck Foreman
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 31 Comments »
As you’ve probably heard by now, there was NFL labor issue-related news late Monday afternoon. This is obviously a sensitive topic with complex issues layered on top of more complex issues, so for the time being we’re going to simply give you verbatim the update from NFL.com to keep you in the loop.
As more information becomes available and becomes appropriate to share, we’ll have it for you right here on vikings.com.
The following update is from NFL.com’s Albert Breer, who has been covering this issue for the League’s website:
The plaintiffs in the Brady et al v. National Football League case were granted an injunction on Monday by Judge Susan Nelson, lifting the NFL lockout, if temporarily.
The NFL’s stance on the matter now is that the lockout rules remain intact until Nelson, and then the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, rule on whether or not the ruling will be stayed upon appeal. In reaction to Nelson’s ruling, the league filed its appeal with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a request for a stay with Nelson on Monday night.
“We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in statement, prior to filing the appeal. “We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal.”
The news set the stage for an interesting Tuesday morning, with the possibility of many players reporting to their respective team’s headquarters.
Aiello said late Monday night that if players show up, they will be allowed into facilities.
“If a player comes to the facility, he will be treated courteously and with respect,” Aiello said.
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Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Mallett, Ponder, Dalton, Kaepernick and Stanzi. Those are the 8 names that comprise this year’s class of QBs with potential to earn a starting job as soon as the 2011 season. Some have strong arms. Others are great decision makers. And a few are natural leaders.
But there’s just one thing each of them has in common: they all have legitimate question marks.
Most draft analysts have gone on record this year as saying they’re not sure this year’s draft class has a bona fide franchise QB to offer, which is a bit disappointing given the unusually high amount of teams that find themselves in need of a QB, the Vikings included. Often times, you’ll hear a draft analyst offer up names such as Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan in comparison to this year’s crop of QBs to hammer home the point that this year’s draft class is void of a blue-chip prospect.
But is that fair? Is it fair to compare players who haven’t had the chance to prove themselves at the NFL level to 3 recent QBs who’ve found success in the NFL? At least one analyst, former Vikings offensive coordinator and Baltimore Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick, says it’s not.
Billick was quoted as part of an article about this year’s draft-eligible QBs written by Judd Zulgad in this Sunday’s sports section of the Star Tribune and he made a point that I think is important to keep in mind when both analyzing this year’s crop of QBs in the draft and in critiquing teams’ choices in this year’s draft.
“Let’s be careful,” Billick said. “When we go back and talk about [St. Louis’ Sam] Bradford and Ryan and Flacco with such glowing terms — and we should, because they are going to be excellent quarterbacks — we had concerns for them, too. Bradford, is he going to stay healthy? Matt Ryan, does he have the arm strength? Flacco, he doesn’t look like anybody we have in the league right now. Is he too big, is he going to fit? They turned out well, but we had questions about them, too.
Billick’s point is a great one. And I’ll add to it. Drafting a QB in the NFL is not an exact science. If it was, we wouldn’t see so many busts. There is no perfect prospect, at any position. There is no prospect with no flaws and no question marks. Regardless of which QB you like in this class, someone else can raise questions about that player or about that player’s skill set.
I like Jake Locker, but someone else can question his accuracy. The next guy might like Blaine Gabbert, but I can point out that he’s coming from a spread offense and may have issues transitioning to the pro game and playing under center.
“So when I say that there’s questions about these guys … everybody has [questions] every year,” Billick said. “We kind of forget after a kid gets in the league and plays well and say, ‘Oh, yeah, I had him really high. I knew he’d be good.’ No, you didn’t. We had some questions about all of them.”
The bottom line is that regardless of whom the Vikings select in this year’s draft – even if it’s not a QB, which could happen – some people are going to love the pick and others are going to dislike the selection. But the goal is not to find the perfect prospect with no flaws. The goal is to pick a player who turns out to be a winner.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 47 Comments »
A regular feature here on vikings.com in the weeks leading up to the NFL draft is Mock Madness, where we collect a bunch of mock drafts from across the internet and collect them in one place. We’ve done it for 4 years now and this year’s edition was as interesting as any, with some observers predicting a QB for the Vikings at #12 and many others projecting a DE.
With the 2011 NFL Draft set to begin this Thursday night, all of the speculation and guessing will soon end. But not before we get a final edition of Mock Madness posted on vikings.com.
The final edition of 2011 Mock Madness on vikings.com will be posted on Tuesday, so stay tuned. In the meantime, let us know who you think the Vikings should select in this year’s draft by submitting a comment below this blog entry.
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This week’s Monday Morning Mailbag will be the last before the 2011 NFL Draft, so be sure to send in your questions – draft-related or not – and we’ll be sure to answer them.
To submit a comment or question to the mailbag, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 82 Comments »
Fans have been able to vote for the last week or so for who they think should make the 2011-12 Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders. The selection process wrapped up last night at Mall of America where the MVC held their final auditions. Fans were obviously able to attend the event live and they also had the option to watch live on vikings.com.
And then, today at 6 p.m. CST right here on vikings.com, the 34 women who made the team will be announced right. So, log back on tonight and see which lucky ladies made the team.
In the meantime, check out this video that recaps the 2011 Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Semi-Final Swimsuit Competition which recently took place at Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis as a part of the audition process to make the team.
UPDATE – We were able to inform all of the girls who made and didn’t make the team by early afternoon, so we jumped the gun a bit and announced the squad, which you can view here.
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Each year, typically just a few days prior to the NFL draft, the Vikings hold a press conference to allow reporters the chance to pick the brains of Vikings drft decision makers. This year, that press conference will be on Tuesday, April 26.
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Fraizer and VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman will meet with reporters in the Winter Park Fieldhouse at 2:00 p.m. on 4/26 to answer questions regarding the upcoming draft. As you know by now, the Vikings have the 12th overall pick in the draft and they have 9 selections total.
The 76th annual NFL Draft will be broken down into a 3-day event. The 1st round will take place on Thursday, April 28, beginning at 7:00 p.m. (CT) and will conclude around 11:30 p.m. (CT). Rounds 2-3 will be held on Friday, April 29, starting at 5:00 p.m. (CT). The draft will conclude on Saturday, April 30, with rounds 4-7 beginning at 11:00 a.m. (CT). The time allocated for each selection in the 1st round will be 10 minutes while the 2nd round will drop to 7 minutes. Teams will have 5 minutes for each selection in the remaining rounds (3-7).
Tags: Leslie Frazier, Rick Spielman
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The NFL released its 2011 regular season schedule on Tuesday and there’s a lot to digest.
We’ll have much more on the Vikings slate of games in the next 24 hours or so, but here are a few quick thoughts until then…
– Opening at San Diego isn’t the greatest draw in the world; you’d like to save that road trip for November or December. On top of that, Vikings fans in Minnesota will have to wait until 3:15 p.m. CT to watch the first regular season game. But at least we know the weather will be good and it’s nice to get 1 of the 8 road games out of the way early.
– A pair of home games (against Tampa Bay and then Detroit) in the first 3 weeks gives the Vikings a bit of an edge early in the season, and we can all agree it’s nice to get off to a solid start. I’m not saying the Vikings will win both of those home games, but I am saying it’s better to have 2 of your first 3 games at home instead of on the road.
– The Vikings have had more than their share of prime time games in 2009 and 2010, with many of them coming on the road. In 2011, though, the Vikings have just 2 scheduled prime time games – Sunday Night Football in Chicago on October 16 and Monday Night Football in Green Bay on November 14.
– I prefer games that begin at 12:00 p.m. CT, and for some reason I think the Vikings play better in that time slot as well. The good news this season is the Vikings have 11 games slated to begin at that hour, including the final 4 games and 5 of the final 6.
– A bye week after 8 games is ideal, and that’s what the Vikings have in 2011. A Week 9 bye means coaches and players (and staff) get a week off right in the middle of the regular season. Also, the bye week helps take a little of the sting away from traveling to road games, and the Vikings will be on the road the week before and the week after their bye.
– No road games in consecutive weeks is a big plus. The Vikings had back-to-back scheduled road games 5 times in the past 2 seasons and the Vikings are just 6-10 on the road in the past 2 years, so it’s nice to have a break from that scheduling quirk. The Vikings do play road games on each side of the bye, but as I stated above, the bye week takes the sting away from having to be on the road.
– The Vikings play 2 games against Green Bay in less than a month, with Game 1 at home on October 23 and Game 2 in Lambeau on November 14. That’s an unusual development but one that adds an interesting dynamic to this rivalry.
– The Vikings last 4 games are all against NFC teams, which can mean a lot in the playoff hunt. NFC games have tie-breaking implications, and with 2 of the final 4 games being division games there will be even more potentially on the line for the Vikings in the final month.
– Closing the season with a home game in Week 17 and 2 home games in the final 3 weeks is an advantage, especially if you’re in a playoff hunt. We won’t put the cart before the horse and declare the Vikings a playoff contender already, but if the Vikings are in a playoff battle late in the season, they’ll have the home-field advantage working in their favor.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 36 Comments »
As State leaders head back home for the Easter/Passover recess, Vikings fans are busy preparing for the stadium discussions set to take place over the final five weeks of the 2011 Legislative Session.
In an event organized by SavetheVikes.org, nearly 70 Vikings fans gathered at Joe Senser’s in Bloomington on Monday night to enjoy free appetizers and giveaways, including an autographed football and Vikings Draft Party tickets. SavetheVikes.org founder Cory Merrifield opened the night discussing the importance of contacting legislators and getting involved in the stadium efforts during the final five weeks of the Session.
Merrifield was followed by Vikings legend “Benchwarmer” Bob Lurtsema, who entertained the crowd with his Vikings memories while focusing on the history of the franchise in Minnesota. Vikings Assistant Director of Public Affairs Jeff Anderson spoke on behalf of the organization, thanking the fans for their continued involvement in the stadium efforts.
“We’re appreciative of the SavetheVikes crew and all of our supporters who are involved in the stadium efforts,” said Anderson. “We can’t do this without our fans. Thus far they have been very vocal, and we need them to continue to weigh in with their elected leaders over the last five weeks of the session.”
Similar events in Maple Grove and Stillwater are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday night, and Vikings fans are encouraged to attend.
Tuesday, April 19
Champp’s – Maple Grove
13521 80th Circle N.
Maple Grove, MN
Wednesday, April 20
Buffalo Wild Wings – Stillwater
5991 Norwich Avenue N.
Oak Park Heights, MN
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 11 Comments »
The NFL will release the 2011-12 schedule later today at 6 p.m. CST, and we’ll of course have the Vikings full schedule right here on vikings.com at that time.
The Vikings opponents and game locations for 2011 are already known … and then later today, we’ll find where they fit into the 17-week schedule.
So make sure to come back to vikings.com at 6 p.m. CST to find out the full slate of games for the 2011 season.
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