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Secondary Draft Prospects

Posted by cjsiewert on February 21, 2010 – 12:48 pm

Many Vikings enthusiasts would agree that the team needs to focus on the secondary as a primary concern in this year’s NFL Draft.  These feelings are a result of both Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield dealing with injuries this offseason.  With regard to Vikings secondary situation, here are a few possibilities that the team may consider in the early rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft.

If the Vikings draft a CB in the 1st round:

Michigan CB Donovan Warren has good height, excellent speed, and tough physical play that the Vikings would value as a 1st-round pick.  The 6-0, 185 pounder accumulated 4 INTs last season for the Wolverines, returning 1 for a TD.

If the Vikings draft a safety in the 1st round:

At 6-4, 225 pounds, USC S Taylor Mays has extremely rare height and reach for a S.  Last year, Mays compiled a career-high 88 tackles (45 solo, 43 assist), with 1 INT.  Mays also has the ability to change direction quickly and generate big-play hits.

After researching many of my favorite sites, these 2 individuals stand out as candidates for a starting position in the Vikings secondary.  Certainly, there are many more options that the Vikings may consider during the early rounds of the draft, but either Warren or Mays would be a great addition to the team’s pass defense.

Stay up-to-date on possibilities concerning the Vikings draft options throughout the following weeks on vikings.com.


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Complete Combine Coverage At vikings.com

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 18, 2010 – 2:12 pm

For the 3rd consecutive year, vikings.com will be making the trip to Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine. This year’s Combine will run from February 24-March 2 and vikings.com will be in Indianapolis taking it all in and relaying it back to you from Wednesday the 24th through Saturday the 27th.

The point of the event is for NFL teams to come together in one place and do more due diligence on this year’s draft class. As a consequence, however, the event serves as the NFL epicenter because of the media attention it receives and because most NFL head coaches and personnel executives are available to the media while they’re there.

To make it easy for you to follow our coverage, Ryan has already created the vikings.com 2010 NFL Scouting Combine Content Hub. There are preview videos already posted on the hub page and the content will continue to roll in before the Combine and it will grow increasingly as the event commences and I arrive in Indy.

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress will meet with the national media once during the event and then he’ll also likely meet with Minnesota reporters privately at another time. Also, we’ll do our best to get with Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman while we’re both at the event.


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Williams Wall Intact For At Least One More Year

Posted by cjsiewert on February 18, 2010 – 10:19 am

With yesterday’s report from the Pioneer Press on Viking DT Pat Williams returning for the 2010 season, Vikings fans can rest assured that the defensive front will once again be one of the best in the league.

But what about the years to follow?

Pat will be entering his 14th and possibly last season in the NFL while fellow run-stopper Kevin Williams will be entering his 8th season in the league.  Certainly, Kevin has a few more years left to play, but the Vikings may need to address the DT position in this year’s draft, considering DT Jimmy Kennedy will become a free agent.

The Vikings will likely resolve other position situations in the early rounds, such as CB, S, and maybe even MLB with the injury of E.J. Henderson, but a DT in either the 3rd, 4th, or 5th round would certainly benefit the defensive front for the upcoming years.

Two great DT possibilities for a 3rd or 4th round pick would be Geno Atkins (Georgia) and D’Anthony Smith (Louisiana Tech).  Atkins, a 6-2, 286-pounder, has good quickness up the middle and proved that trait at this year’s Senior Bowl by putting Mike Iupati (top-ranked G at Senior Bowl) on his heels for most of the game with constant pressure on the QB.

Smith, a 6-2, 300-pounder, has comparable size to Pat Williams and is great in one-on-one situations, but needs to improve on double-teams.  This weakness is something that the Vikings would need to consider if drafted, but there is a lot of potential that Smith has to offer.

If the Vikings decide to wait until the later rounds in the draft to address the DT position, watch for Pittsburgh’s Mick Williams as a possible 7th-rounder.  Williams, a 6-1, 280-pounder, is described as relentless in the trenches that thrives as both a run-stopper and pass-rusher, and if progressive, would keep the Williams wall intact for even more years to come.


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Possibilities Concerning The Vikings RB Situation

Posted by cjsiewert on February 17, 2010 – 4:11 pm

Obviously, the main concern the Vikings are faced with for the 2010 season is at the QB position – will the “Silver Fox” (as Jared Allen named Brett Favre) return for a 20th season in the NFL?  This question may not be answered until early September, so, a more prevalent current concern the Vikings must solve for the 2010 season is the back-up RB.

Chester Taylor will be a free agent, thus giving him the option to sign with another team.  If the 9-year veteran is not re-signed, it would leave a large gap to fill behind All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson.

The Vikings have the 30th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft and could select a CB, given that Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield are currently plagued with injuries – but with the possibility of Taylor no longer standing behind Peterson, the Vikings will certainly consider drafting a RB.

With top-prospects such as C.J. Spiller (Clemson), Jahvid Best (California) and Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech) most likely to be drafted in the 1st and early-2nd rounds, the Vikings would be looking for a reliable 3rd-down back that has proven capability to catch balls out of the backfield – just as Taylor provided.

USC’s RB Joe McKnight could quite possibly be the best fit for replacing Taylor (if he’s gone).  McKnight has all the qualities that the Vikings would be looking for – he’s a talented runner and a very capable pass-catcher.  Just this past season, McKnight caught 22 passes for 146 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per reception.  Those numbers fall a little short of Taylor’s  ‘09 campaign – 44 receptions for 389 yards, averaging 8.8 yards per reception – but they are also skewed by the fact that McKnight played in 13 games compared to Taylor’s 16.

Certainly, there are many different factors that may possibly make McKnight unavailable for the Vikings 62nd overall pick, but if the situation calls for it, McKnight would be a great fit in the Vikings backfield.


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Gopher Stand-Out Likely A Mid-Round Pick

Posted by cjsiewert on February 16, 2010 – 1:16 pm

Minnesota Golden Gophers WR Eric Decker has had many “good” problems to deal with during his collegiate career.  Perhaps the most significant problem he has faced is whether or not to play Major League Baseball.  Decker has been a stand-out WR for the Gophers throughout his 4 seasons on the team but he has also been selected in the MLB Draft the past 2 seasons – by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 (round 39) and the Minnesota Twins in 2009 (round 27).

Decker’s athletic performance was highly-noted while attending Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minn. where he succeeded on both the field and in the classroom.  During his high school football career, Decker compiled 2,156 receiving yards and 28 TDs while earning All-State, All-Conference, All-Area, and All-Section performer his junior and senior year.  He was also a member of the National Honor Society and the All-State academic team.

After graduating in 2005, Decker enrolled at the University of Minnesota where he joined the football team.  He was redshirted his 1st year but played in all 13 games in 2006, catching 26 passes for 378 yards and 3 TDs.  Decker recorded a break-through season during his sophomore campaign, compiling a team record 67 receptions with 909 yards and 9 TDs.

In 2008, Decker decided to join renowned coach John Anderson’s baseball team where he batted .329 with 47 runs and 28 RBIs in 161 at-bats while leading his team in walks.  His performance garnered enough attention that the Brewers decided to draft him in the 39th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, but Decker’s focus was solely on football.  Decker continued to put up great numbers for the Gopher football team the remainder of his collegiate career, tallying 227 receptions for 3,119 yards and 24 TDs.

Heading into the 2010 NFL Draft, there is one factor that might affect Decker’s draft value – the injury he sustained in a game at Ohio State this past season.  While running an out-route, Decker tried to plant quickly and suffered what is known as a Lisfranc sprain (tear of ligament that holds first 2 toes in place).  The injury sidelined Decker for the remainder of the season and usually requires an 8-month period of rehab.

With the injury occurring in late October, that 8-month rehab period brings us right up to the beginning of training camp.  Setting the injury aside, Decker is considered one of the top-10 receivers entering this year’s draft and is praised for his size, work ethic and route-running abilities.  Look for Decker to be a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.


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