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No Compensatory Selections For Vikings; Total Picks Stand At 11

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 19, 2013 – 6:29 am

The NFL awarded 32 compensatory picks to 16 teams on Monday, but the Vikings were not among the teams who received the additional draft stock. As such, the Vikings total draft selections for the 2013 NFL Draft remains at 11.

Here’s a breakdown of the Vikings 11 picks:
— 1st round – #23 (#23 overall)
— 1st round – #25 (#25 overall)
— 2nd round – #22 (#52 overall)
— 3rd round – #21 (#83 overall)
— 4th round – #5 (#102 overall)
— 4th round – #23 (#120 overall)
— 5th round – #22 (#155 overall)
— 6th round – #21 (#189 overall)
— 7th round – #7 (#213 overall)
— 7th round – #8 (#214 overall)
— 7th round – #23 (#229 overall)

How do compensatory selections work?
The number of compensatory picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced on Monday will supplement the 222 choices in the 7rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft (April 25-27). This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the 3rd through 7th rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a team is covered by this formula

For the fourth consecutive year, the NFL will hold its annual draft in prime time. The 1st round will be held Thursday, April 25 and begin at 7 p.m. CT. The 2nd and 3rd rounds are set for Friday, April 26 at 5:30 p.m. CT, followed by Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. CT.

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(Re)Making The Grade: Looking Back At 2012 Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 8, 2013 – 7:12 am

We will talk a lot about the 2013 NFL Draft on vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog over the next 2.5 months. But right now, let’s take a look back at how the Vikings fared in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The impetus behind this idea is a piece put together by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. Immediately following each year’s draft, he applies a grade to each team’s effort by reconciling the selections made by each team against that team’s draft positions and specific roster needs. Anyone who does this will tell you there’s a high degree of error involved because it’s typically a 3-year process before you can complete the evaluation of a draft-class. But in order to be fair and to hold himself accountable, Kiper has decided to revisit his post-draft grades for each team and hand out new grades based on how the draft picks and teams fared during the 2012 season.

The Vikings efforts in the 2012 NFL Draft were applauded immediately after, as they came out of the event with a pair of 1st-round picks at positions of need and also peppered the roster with 8 other selections after that. Kiper gave the Vikings a post-draft grade of a “B” and said the following: “The Vikings did pretty well. They got the left tackle they coveted in Matt Kalil, and they moved up to get a safety. Both Kalil and Harrison Smith, their two first-round picks, should be starting in Week 1. Josh Robinson adds speed, if not a lot of polish, at corner, and has the chance to develop into a good player.”

A pretty spot-on post-draft evaluation. Kalil and Smith both started all 16 games this season, and Robinson indeed has the look of a developing player after playing in all 16 games and starting 6 in his rookie season. Plus, he was 3rd on the team with 2 INTs and 7th on the team with 61 tackles.

In revisiting the draft and handing out new grades, though, Kiper has increased that grade by changing it to an A-. Kalil, Robinson and Smith fulfilled his expectations, and then others, most notably Blair Walsh, add significant contributions to cause Kiper to upgrade his evaluation. Here’s what he provided as new commentary:

“Kalil not only started 16 games at left tackle, played well at a significant position and if his run-blocking catches up with his pass-blocking, he’ll become among the league’s best. Smith became exactly what the Vikings had hoped, started all 16 games at free safety and should be there for years to come. The instincts he showed at Notre Dame were on display, and he’ll continue to get better. Robinson is raw, but could ultimately take over for Antoine Winfield. And don’t overlook one of the steals of the draft. Blair Walsh was taken at No. 175 overall, and was the best kicker in the league in 2012. A year later, a pretty good draft looks even better.”

And that’s not even to mention WR Jarius Wright coming on in the second half of the season, Rhett Ellison well on the way to providing the offense with gritty blocking and sneaky-good production in the passing game, and late-round picks Robert Blanton and Audie Cole poised to take on increased roles after serving on special teams from time-to-time in 2012. Including the injured Greg Childs, 9 of the Vikings 10 draft picks from last year are still on the team.

The news gets better from here, too. The Vikings are currently slated to have 8 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which provides GM Rick Spielman and Co. with plenty of ammunition and opportunity to add even more young talent to an already young and talented roster that will continue to get better.

 


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10 Players Already On The Radar At Senior Bowl

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 21, 2013 – 4:52 pm

After 6 months of paying exclusive attention to NFL players during training camp, the preseason, the regular season and the playoffs, it’s now time for the Vikings and Vikings fans to turn the lion’s share of their attention to college players. Teams are pedal to the metal in draft preparation mode, and it’s time for the rest of us to join in on the action.

We’ll be down in Mobile, Alabama this week covering the Senior Bowl and filling you in on what’s going on and who looks good. As I did last year when I made my maiden voyage to the Senior Bowl, I’m sure players will emerge and standout that I had not previously known. It will take a few days for that to happen, but it will happen.

In the meantime, here are 10 players who are already on my radar and who you will hear about as the week goes on…

HB Kenjon Barner (Oregon) – Some say the biggest difference between the college game and the NFL game is speed. I’m not sure if that is indeed the biggest difference – some might argue that point. But I do know there’s a huge difference in the speed of the game between the amateurs and the pros. However, if there’s been a program of late that has closed that gap even a little, it’s been the University of Oregon. They’ve run an up-tempo offense under head coach Chip Kelly (he’s now the Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach), rarely huddling between plays and averaging 49.6 points per game the past season. Yes, 49.6. Points. Per game. The success that LaMichael James, a former Oregon Duck, has had with the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers has me intrigued about the Barner’s chances. He didn’t average below 6.0 yards per carry in any of his 4 seasons at Oregon, and his last season was his best. Barner had 1,767 rushing yards and 21 TDs on 278 attempts to go along with 20 receptions for 256 yards with 2 more TDs.

LB Michael Buchanon (Illinois) – Call me silly if you want, but the reason I put him on this list is that he plays LB and he played at the University of Illinois. The Vikings Director of College Scouting is Scott Studwell, a great player for a long time for the Vikings, and he also played linebacker at the University of Illinois. I know that doesn’t have a practical correlation, but it’s an interesting nugget and it provides a reason to put a kid many of you haven’t heard of on this list.

WR Aaron Dobson (Marshall) – To be honest, this might be the player I’m looking forward to seeing the most this week. He measures in at 6-3, 200 pounds and has the frame you see in prototypical NFL WRs. Dobson made perhaps the catch of the year (look it up as “Aaron Dobson – The Catch”) and he might be the type of receiver this Vikings offense has been missing. Dobson is a solid character guy who has been the face of Marshall’s program of late. Last year (2011) he had 668 yards receiving and 12 TDs on 49 receptions, while his senior season featured fewer TDs (3) but more receptions (57) and receiving yards (679).

DT Jonathan Jenkins (Georgia) – On the ESPN Scout’s Inc. Top 32 board, Jenkins is ranked 16th and Mel Kiper has him going 25th to Seattle in his first mock draft. Georgia’s defense was pretty good this season. The Vikings are a team that could be looking to add depth along their defensive line (you can never have too many good defensive linemen). It all adds up, so we’ll keep an eye on Jenkins this week. For what it’s worth, Kiper describes Jenkins as “an interior defender who can occupy blockers, occasionally penetrate and even wreck the pocket from the inside is a need.” Kiper also says that “Jenkins was a little uneven at times in 2012, but has the upside of an impact interior lineman.”

LB Nico Johnson (Alabama) – He played linebacker for Nick Saban at Alabama. Enough said?

WR Denard Robinson (Michigan) – Robinson played QB for the vast majority of his career at Michigan and was one of the most exciting and electric players in all of college football. At the Senior Bowl, though, he’ll practice and play as a wide receiver. It will be interesting to watch him make that transition. I’m also hopeful the North coaching staff will have him return kickoffs and punts.

TE Michael Williams (Alabama) – I noticed Williams during the Crimson Tide’s title game victory over Notre Dame. He scored a TD early in the game and looked like an NFL athlete in doing so. I’m anxious to see him in person – it’s a whole other ballgame seeing a guy move in person, especially at a position like TE where a player can be asked to do a variety of things.

DT Sylvester Williams (North Carolina) – He makes the list because ESPN’s Todd McShay pegged him as the Vikings selection in his first mock draft of the season, saying Williams “has good speed and range, power at the point of attack, quick hands and solid instincts.” Should the Vikings actually fulfill McShay’s projection, it may provide the defense with another “Williams Wall.”

WR Terrance Williams (Baylor) – For the same reason Sylvester Williams makes this list, we put Terrance Williams on the list – an ESPN draft expert (Kiper) projected he’d be the Vikings pick at #23. Here’s what Kiper says about this Williams: “Last year, we saw both Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright taken out of Baylor, and Williams has the skill set to join them as a player drafted with the potential to make an early impact. Williams is first a player who can use his size and speed to stretch the field and take the top off a defense, but he also can make big plays on the sidelines, where he’ll tiptoe and make the catches as well as any pass-catching target in the draft. Williams also will beat you with the ball in his hands as a nifty runner with good size. Minnesota needs a dependable pass-catcher next to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph.”

All the Quarterbacks – We all like to evaluate QBs, so we’ll put all of them on this list but count them as just one player. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on this crop. The 6 QBs on this year’s Senior Bowl rosters are: Zac Dysert (Miami-Ohio); Mike Glennon (NC State); Landry Jones (Oklahoma); EJ Manuel (Florida State); Ryan Nassib (Syracuse); Tyler Wilson (Arkansas).


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Kiper Projects WR Terrance Williams As Vikings 1st-Round Pick

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 16, 2013 – 11:19 am

No, it’s not time to launch this year’s Mock Madness, where we select a handful of draft prognosticators to follow on a weekly basis. That will happen once we get into March and the 2013 NFL Draft is fast-approaching. But we are in the offseason, so it is time to pay more attention to this year’s NFL prospects and what the prognosticators are, well, prognosticating.

We  got an early jump on this front last month when we pointed out that ESPN’s Todd McShay had already released his first mock draft of the season and projected the Vikings to take DT Sylvester Williams. McShay’s colleague at ESPN, Mel Kiper, Jr., is now officially on the board with his mock draft. Per usual, Kiper disagrees with McShay’s assessment (not surprising, though, at this stage in the process and with the Vikings selecting 23rd). Kiper sees the Vikings addressing the other side of the ball – offense.

Kiper projects Baylor WR Terrance Williams as the Vikings pick at #23 overall. Here’s what Kiper wrote about Williams:

“Last year, we saw both Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright taken out of Baylor, and Williams has the skill set to join them as a player drafted with the potential to make an early impact. Williams is first a player who can use his size and speed to stretch the field and take the top off a defense, but he also can make big plays on the sidelines, where he’ll tiptoe and make the catches as well as any pass-catching target in the draft. Williams also will beat you with the ball in his hands as a nifty runner with good size. Minnesota needs a dependable pass-catcher next to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph.”

Terrance Williams, Jeremy Reeves

The part of Kiper’s analysis that stood out to me was Williams’ ability to make plays on the sidelines. As I stated earlier this week in providing thoughts about Atlanta’s victory over Seattle, a receiver’s ability to make plays along the boundary does a lot for a QB. If a QB knows his receiver has the ability to pull down a pass along the boundary, that presents more opportunities for big plays because that QB will be more willing to throw that receiver a pass even in coverage.

Williams, who measures in at 6-2, 205 pounds, is a senior who averaged 18.9 yards per catch and had 12 TDs last season, and for his career at Baylor he hauled in 202 catches and 27 TDs while averaging 16.5 yards per reception. He is scheduled to attend the Senior Bowl next week in Mobile, Alabama, and I’m slated to arrive on Monday so he’ll be one of the many players we keep an eye on next week.

Anyway, we might be getting ahead of ourselves. But it’s fun to speculate on the draft, and we’re now officially underway for 2013 draft season.


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Clarification On Vikings Draft Picks

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 15, 2013 – 1:44 pm

Some clarification is needed about how many – and which – draft picks the Vikings possess for the 2013 NFL Draft. That clarification has arrived.

Earlier in the week here on the vikings.com Blog, we took at a look at the Vikings draft position, explaining that the Vikings had the 23rd pick in the 1st round but didn’t select 23rd in every round. That was all good, no clarification needed. But as part of that entry, I also listed each of the Vikings draft picks. And that’s where the need for clarification – and correction – arises (it’s not the first and it won’t be the last time I need to be corrected).

In that earlier entry, we noted that the Vikings had: acquired an additional 4th-round pick, traded away their 5th-round pick; traded away their 6th-round picks; and acquired an additional 7th-round pick. It’s partially right, and partially wrong. Below is a correct listing of the picks the Vikings possess for the 2013 NFL Draft. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for your patience.

1st round – #23 (#23 overall)
2nd round – #22 (#54 overall)
3rd round – #21 (#85 overall)
4th round – #5 (#101 overall – from Detroit)
4th round – #23 (#119 overall)
5th round – #22 (#150 overall)
7th round – #7 (#199 overall – from Arizona)
7th round – #23 (#215 overall)


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A Look At The Vikings Draft Position

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 14, 2013 – 11:31 am

After finishing the regular season with a 10-6 record and then losing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the Vikings have been slotted in 23rd position for the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Vikings currently have 7 other choices in the remaining 6 rounds of the draft, though, and they don’t have the 23rd selection in each of the remaining rounds.

Here are the picks the Vikings currently possess for the 2013 NFL Draft:
1st round: #23
2nd round: #22
3rd round: #21
4th round: #5 (Detroit’s) and #23
5th round: #22
6th round: #21 – Traded away
7th round: #7 (Arizona’s) and #23

Let us (try to) explain.

With how the regular season and Wild Card rounds played out for the 2012 season and in conjunction with the NFL’s procedure for determining draft order, the losers of this season’s Wild Card games will select in the 21st through 24th positions in all rounds, according to the reverse order of their (regular season) standing. Essentially, this means that regardless of their regular season records, the four teams that lost in this year’s Wild Card round (Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Washington) will select in the 21st through 24th positions, with their default position being ranked according to regular season record.

[As an aside, it’s interesting to note that even if one of those four teams happened to have a worse record than another team who didn't make the playoffs, they would still be slotted after that team in the draft order. That scenario didn't unfold this year, but it is possible in theory.]

As stated above, while the Vikings hold the 23rd overall pick in this year’s draft, they will not actually have the 23rd selection in each round of this year’s draft.

According to the procedure the NFL uses to determine draft order: “In ties that involve three or more clubs, the club at the top of a tied segment in a given round will move to the bottom of the segment for the next round, while all other clubs in the segment move up one position. This rotation continues throughout the Draft.”

Our interpretation of that language yields the conclusion that the Vikings will then rotate with three o two other teams – the Bengals and Redskins. Indianapolis was the fourth team that lost on Wild Card weekend, but they finished with one more win that Cincinnati, Minnesota and Washington, so they’ll be slotted at 24th.

As such, the Vikings will have the 23rd selection in the 1st round, the 22nd selection in the 2nd round, the 21st selection in the 3rd round, the 23rd selection in the 4th round, the 22nd selection in the 5th round, the 21st selection in the 6th round (which was traded away) and the 23rd selection in the 7th round.

In addition to those choices, the Vikings also have the 5th pick of the 4th round (from Detroit) and the 7th pick of the 7th round (from Arizona).


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Williams Wall 2.0? Mock 1.0 For ESPN’s McShay

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2012 – 10:57 am

As it goes for NFL-related websites, there aren’t many events that generate more buzz, traffic and discussion than the NFL draft. So it’s never really too early to start talking about the upcoming draft. With that said, let’s take a brief break from Vikings-Rams talk to look more than 4 months ahead to the 2013 NFL Draft.

ESPN’s Todd McShay has released his initial mock draft. As we know, mock drafts are an inexact science even in their best form. So to try and conduct a mock draft before the season is over, before we know who will enter the draft and before we even know where each team will select in the 1st round is obviously premature. But it’s still fun.

McShay notes that defensive linemen have dominated his draft board all year and that the trend continued in his first mock draft. In fact, 14 DEs and DTs are included in this first projection. By virtue of their 7-6 record, the Vikings select 18th overall in McShay’s first mock draft, and they contribute to the DL-heavy trend.

With the 18th overall pick, McShay projects the Vikings to select University of North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams. Here’s what he says about Williams…

“Williams is the best player available here by a long shot. He has good speed and range, power at the point of attack, quick hands and solid instincts. The Vikings also could go with massive Georgia DT Johnathan Jenkins to play alongside the aging Kevin Williams, but Jenkins was not as consistently dominant this season and doesn’t present nearly as much value.”


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