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Vikings Take Two In Round Seven: LB Audie Cole And DL Trevor Guyton

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 28, 2012 – 3:57 pm

To close their efforts in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected former NC State LB Audie Cole with the 3rd pick of the 7th round (210th overall), traded away the 4th pick of the round (#211 overall) for a 6th-round pick next year, and with the 12th pick of the round (219th overall) selected DE Trevor Guyton.

Cole, who measures in at 6-4, 246 pounds, moved from outside LB to middle LB as a senior and was productive during his career. He led the team in tackles in 2009 and 2011 after redshirting in 2007 and playing a reserve and special teams role in 2008.

Reports describe Colt as an intelligent player who can make all the calls and checks at the line of scrimmage and also as an efficient pass rusher from his position. It will be interesting to see what the Vikings vision is for him because he has experience playing both outside and inside, and many say he was better playing outside. The Vikings have depth needs at all three LB positions, plus they’ll count on Cole to contribute on special teams.

Guyton played at the University of California and has experience at both DE and DT. He played in 7 games as a true freshman, 11 games as a reserve during his sophomore year, 11 games as a junior with 4 starts and then started all 13 games as senior. Scouts describe Guyton as scheme-diverse player who has a workman-like mentality and consistent performance history.

We’ll have more on these picks and each pick the Vikings made during the 2012 NFL draft later on vikings.com.


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Here’s The Kicker: Vikings Take K Blair Walsh In 6th Round

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 28, 2012 – 2:03 pm

With the 5th pick of the 6th round and the 175th choice overall, the Vikings selected former Georgia K Blair Walsh.

Walsh was extremely accurate as a sophomore, hitting 40 of 46 tries during those two seasons. He was 15 of 23 as a freshman and 21 of 35 as a senior, with 14 of his misses coming from 40+ yards. He led the nation in FG tries last year, and converted a 56-yard try as well.

As of now, the Vikings have three selections remaining in the draft, all of them in the 7th round.


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Vikings Add CB Blanton To Collection Of Former Notre Dame Standouts

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 28, 2012 – 12:18 pm

The Vikings collected a pair of former Arkansas Razorbacks in the 4th round with the selections of WRs Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, but in the 5th round they added another former Notre Dame standout in CB Robert Blanton. With Blanton in the fold, the Vikings now boast five former Notre Dame players, two of which will help bolster the team’s secondary (Harrison Smith).

Blanton stands at 6-1, 208 pounds and improved his draft stock as a senior at Notre Dame. He is an experienced and productive college player, having contributed significantly even as a true freshman in 2008 with 33 tackles, 3 PBUs and 2 INTs in 12 games played with 4 starts. As a senior, Blanton stepped up his game and recorded 70 tackles, 6 PBUs and 2 INTs in 13 starts at CB.

Some will question Blanton’s explosiveness and strength, which is fair, but he comes to the Vikings with experience and production at a top-tier college program. Plus, he fits a position of need and some say he could transition to safety. It’s also fair to expect Blanton to become a solid special teams contributor as a rookie.


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(Razor)Back For More: Vikings Select Arkansas WR Greg Childs

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 28, 2012 – 12:05 pm

With a stockpile of selections in the 4th and 5th rounds, the Vikings could’ve found a way to package those picks and move up. Instead, Vikings GM Rick Spielman chose to retain those selections and he continues to attack areas of need on the roster.

The latest selection is another former Arkansas WR, with the selection this time being 6-3, 219-pounder Greg Childs. The selection of Childs follows the selection two picks earlier of Jarius Wright. Vikings WRs coach George Stewart, an Arkansas alum, must be a happy man.

Childs is a big, physical receiver with long arms who can play on the outside and does a nice job of high-pointing the football and plucking throws away from defenders. He clocked a 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, and the main reason he lasted this long in the draft, in my view, is he’s coming off a knee injury from last year.

We’re moving fast and furious here, so we’ll have more on this pick and all the other selections soon, so stay tuned to vikings.com.


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You Bet! Vikings Select TE Rhett Ellison

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 28, 2012 – 11:47 am

With the 33rd selection of the 4th round (#128 overall), the Vikings selected TE Rhett Ellison out of USC. Ellison was a First-Team All-Pac 12 player in 2011 and leaves USC with plenty of playing experience and production to his credit. Ellison’s father, Riki, also played at USC and was an NFL LB with the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.

Ellison, a teammate of 1st-round selection Matt Kalil at USC, weighs in at 6-5, 251 pounds, and is a versatile threat who is perhaps the team’s best candidate to replace the retired Jim Kleinsasser as a blocking TE/H-back/FB type of player. He redshirted at USC in 2007, but played in 8 games as a freshman, 13 as a sophomore and junior, and 12 as a senior. Ellison was a team captain at USC, has graduated and is now pursuing a Master’s degree.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock was complimentary about this pick for the Vikings, which is good news. He also said that the when the USC offense was moving down the field in 2011, it at times ran through Ellison. He appeared in and started games as both a FB and TE at USC, and he figures to fulfill a similar role with the Vikings.


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Vikings Grab WR Jarius Wright In 4th Round

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 28, 2012 – 11:19 am

Needing a young, field-stretching WR at some point in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Vikings went other directions in the first three rounds and chose to rely on the draft’s WR depth to address that need at a later point. The plan worked, as the Vikings choose former Arkansas WR Jarius Wright with their first of three 4th-round selections on Saturday.

Wright measures in a 5-8, 182 pounds and clocked an impressive 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash. He is an experienced and productive receiver, appearing in all 12 games and starting 7 times as a true freshman in 2008. In 2009 he started 12 of 13 games, in 2010 he started all 13 games and in 2011 he started 12 times, missing the first and only game of his career. Wright was a team captain at Arkansas and fumbled the ball just one time during his career.

“He is a great addition to our team,” Vikings WRs coach George Stewart told me just after the selection was made. “He was one of the most explosive players in the country.”

As a freshman, Wright had 19 receptions for 348 yards and 2 TDs. He followed that season up with campaigns of 41-681-5, 42-788-5 and 66-1,117-12. He was Arkansas’ leading receiver in 2011 and was also chosen as a First-Team All-SEC performer.

Wright isn’t the biggest receiver in the world and he might be best in the slot. Of course the Vikings have one of the best slot receivers in the NFL in Percy Harvin, but having Wright in the fold allows the Vikings to be more creative in how they deploy Harvin within the offense.

We’ll have more on this selection and the rest of the Vikings picks later, so stay tuned to vikings.com.


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Vikings Locked And Loaded For Day 3 Of NFL Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 28, 2012 – 7:45 am

The 2012 NFL Draft has already been a productive one for the Vikings, as they’ve added three players who will make an impact on the team as a rookies, including two – LT Matt Kalil and S Harrison Smith – who will start at their respective positions and the third – CB Josh Robinson – figures to make a run at the starting punt returner job as well as significant playing time on defense.

But the fun has just begun. Rounds 4-7 will go down on Saturday, and the Vikings will be major players in the action. As we stand right now, the Vikings have 9 selections over the final four rounds, including three picks in the 4th and two more in the 5th. In fact, the Vikings next five selections all occur within a 21-selection window. The Vikings also have one selection in the 6th round and three more to cap off the draft in the 7th round.

All of that ammo gives the Vikings some flexibility to move up if there’s a player they covet, especially in the early parts of the 4th round. While the Vikings cannot trade their compensatory picks – 33rd choice and 39th choice in the 4th round – they can consider exchanging their two 5th-round selections - #138 overall and #139 overall – for a chance to move up into the 4th round. Or, the Vikings could stay put and put those picks to use, acquiring several mid-round prospects to beef up depth at certain positions.

A lot can, and will, happen today, so make sure you stay tuned to vikings.com for all the latest information. You can also keep up with all the action by following us on Twitter. You can follow the Vikings (@VikingsFootball) and me (@wobby) to stay up-to-date on all things Vikings.


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