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Don’t Blink; Vikings Select CB Robinson, Draft’s Fastest Prospect

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 27, 2012 – 8:39 pm

The Vikings continued to navigate through the 2012 NFL Draft with efficiency and grace on Friday night, addressing another position of need with the selection of speedy CB Josh Robinson in the 3rd round (66th overall). The selection of Robinson represents the second likely impact player the Vikings have added to their secondary is as many days.

“Josh is a very athletic player with dynamic speed and outstanding quickness, burst and change of direction skills,” Vikings DBs coach Joe Woods told me on Friday night. “His best football is ahead of him. His man coverage skill is a plus for us, and at 5-10, 199 pounds he’s a solidly-built guy.”

Robinson, the fastest player at this year’s Combine with a 4.29 time in the 40-yard dash, will compete for time at CB and he will also be an option for the Vikings as a punt returner. Asked if he minded sharing Robinson with special teams coach Mike Priefer, Woods quickly said: “The more you can do, the more value you have.”

An experienced and productive player out of the University of Central Florida, Robinson started the final 11 games of his true freshman season in 2009 and then started 25 games over his final two seasons at UCF. As a freshman Robinson recorded 69 tackles, 8 passes broken up (PBU) and 6 INTs. In 2010 Robinson tallied 59-13-2, and in 2011 he recorded 48-15-2. Robinson led the team in PBUs in both 2010 and 2011.

Many draft observers listed Robinson as a 2nd-round prospect, but the Vikings sat tight in the early stages of the 3rd round and didn’t hesitate to put his name on their card.

“The 38 1/2 vertical, the 4.29 speed, what you see on tape, we had one of our coaches who did work down at Central Florida, we had a lot of contacts down there,” Vikings GM Rick Spielman said. “The kid is an outstanding character kid, fitting into the bill what we’ve been trying to do. Excellent work habits, everything you’re looking for in a young player that’s going to continue to have tremendous upside.

“We’re excited to get Josh. Extremely talented athlete. He’s a junior that’s coming out early. When you look at his tape, he has some unique cover skills. He’s more than willing enough to come up in support. Just like in most of the juniors, they’re going to have some flaws that can get corrected with coaching but just tremendous upside with Josh.”


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Spielman Plays Cards Right And Lands Two Aces

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 27, 2012 – 12:10 am

Bravo, Rick Spielman. In the proverbial poker game that is the NFL draft, Spielman and Co. strolled up to the table with a pretty big chip – the #3 overall pick – and parlayed some perfectly timed subterfuge with a tremendous working knowledge of other teams’ needs to turn that chip into a pair of immediate impact starters who will make the Vikings better from Day 1.

Coming away with LT Matt Kalil and S Harrison Smith from the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft is a 100% win for the Vikings, a team coming off a 3-13 record and looking for players to plug into the starting lineup.

As Radio Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen explained on his show page, the outstanding outcome did not arrive on accident. Leveraging a pair of teams who each reside in the Top 5 is not always an easy prospect, and selling many big-hitting national reporters from across the country on our supposed serious interest in taking CB Morris Claiborne ahead of Kalil was perfectly timed. But Spielman was able to do it.

And it all resulted in a terrific trade for the Vikings at the top of the 1st round in which Cleveland shipped 4th-round, 5th-round and 7th-round picks to Minnesota in exchange for the right to select RB Trent Richardson. Oh, and by the way, the Vikings were still able to get the player they coveted all along in Kalil. Then later in the 1st round, the Vikings traded up from the 2nd round back into the 1st round to add another player on their wish list – Smith.

“This is what makes the draft so fun,” Spielman said on Thursday evening. “The moving up and down and accumulating picks then using those picks to potentially move back up if you target a player. I know the depth at safety in this draft was very slim. We wanted to make sure that we started on our secondary and improving that area. We feel very strongly that Harrison will definitely do that.”

Vikings fans must be feeling great about where their team stands after the 1st round because two major needs were addressed. With 9 selections remaining in the last 6 rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft, it will be interesting to what kind of tricks the Vikings can pull from their sleeve next.


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