2011 NFL Draft - Minnesota Vikings
Florida State QB Christian Ponder
Florida State QB Christian Ponder
Posted Apr 30, 2011

Minnesota Vikings - NFC North, 2011 Draft Selections & Prospects

Minnesota Vikings

2011 NFL Draft Analysis
1st Round (1-5) | 1st Round (6-10) | 1st Round (11-15) | 1st Round (16-20)
1st Round (21-25) | 1st Round (26-32) | 2nd Round | 3rd Round
4th Round | 5th Round | 6th Round | 7th Round | Top Free Agents

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay 

- 2010 Minnesota Draft Breakdown

First Round
QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
6-2, 229
Overall Pick No. 12 CFN Overall Ranking: 72

(Heavy sigh.) I know he's a mellonhead, but with defensive tackle a need and Nick Fairley right there, why reach for Ponder? Des-pa-ra-tion (clap, clap … clap clap clap). The Vikings wanted Jake Locker, tried to trade down, and then panicked that everyone was overpaying for marginal quarterbacks. Enter Locker, who can't throw a fastball half as well as Brett Favre did on his worst day. This is a big, BIG reach for such an average player, and this is Minnesota blowing off real, live talents to help out right away for a third-to-fourth round talent.

CFN Analysis: The athleticism is there, the tools are there, and the toughness is there. Ponder shows nice touch, is a playmaker, and is a fiery, old-school leader who acts the part. There's nothing phony about him; he's a baller who just seems to like being the main man for an offense. As tough as he is and as hard-nosed as he is, that's also his problem as he takes too many shots and gets hurt way too often. While he has a nice arm, it's nothing special and he'll likely need to work in a timing attack. The problem is that he thinks he has Brett Favre's gun at times and he can't seem to make the throw he's able to see. While he's not a fastball pitcher, he does a decent job of putting a nice touch on his deeper throws. It would be nice if he was a little bit taller, and it'll be tough to count on him for a full season, but he should be more than just a nice No. 2 option.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round
Second Round    
TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame 6-6, 259 (Jr.)
Overall Pick No. 43 CFN Overall Ranking: 48

Christian Ponder needs someone to throw to, and the Vikings give him a safety valve. Had Rudolph been healthy all last year, he would've been a top 20 pick, maybe even higher, and he's a good value pick for an offense that needs another tight end. An upgrade on the defensive line would've been nice, Marvin Austin or Stephen Paea would've been great, but it's hard to argue with the top tight end in the draft. By the way, Minnesota, you could've had Ryan Mallett here.

CFN Analysis: Has all the tools to be a terrific all-around NFL tight end with great size and excellent speed. A good blocker who isn't afraid to get dirty for the ground game, he's not just a big wide receiver. The problem is his durability with a hamstring injury a few years ago before missing most of last year injured. While he might not last a full season and he'll always be dinged, he's the most complete tight end in the draft and will be counted on to be a big part of the passing game right away.
CFN Projection: Second Round
Fourth Round   
DT Christian Ballard, Iowa (DE) 6-4, 283
Overall Pick No. 106 CFN Overall Ranking: 79

CFN Analysis: Quick and athletic enough to work as an end, and with the toughness to work inside, he works in any scheme. He's a fast playmaker who can get to the ball and into the backfield in a hurry, and he's slippery enough to avoid staying blocked for too long, and he upped his stock in a big way proving to be even better than expected during offseason workouts. He doesn't have the raw bulk and the mass to be a run-stuffing brick wall, and he has to show he wants to destroy blockers and kill the ball-carrier, but he's so athletic and so quick that he could be one of the steals of the draft with the right coaching.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Fifth Round    
CB Brandon Burton, Utah 6-0, 190 (Jr.)
Overall Pick No. 139 CFN Overall Ranking: 70

CFN Analysis: With enough size and enough toughness to hang with the stronger receivers, and just enough speed to get by against the faster ones, he's a good all-around prospect. Not great, but good. The 4.51 40 at the Combine was a problem, and for some, the 8 ½" hands are considered a major negative, but he has the right attitude, is quick, and seems to play faster than he times. Not quite a good enough hitter to move to safety, he could be locked into being a No. 3 corner with his less than ideal athleticism. Even so, he's a good football player who can be a nice part of a secondary that's already full of good playmakers.
CFN Projection: Third Round 

Fifth Round
OT Jason Pinkston, Pitt (OG) 6-3, 317
Overall Pick No. 150 CFN Overall Ranking: 134

CFN Analysis: A great pass protector with good bulk on a decent frame. While he's not a prototype tackle, he looks like an NFL player and can mash well; he could end up being better suited as a quicker guard than a clunkier tackle. He's not a left tackle and he's not going to handle any speed rushers, but he could play on the right side and could be a decent starter if he can stay healthy and get past a shoulder problem.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

Sixth Round   
OT DeMarcus Love, Arkansas (OG) 6-5, 318
Overall Pick No. 168 CFN Overall Ranking: `10

CFN Analysis: With a great frame and good bulk, he could work as a guard if absolutely needed. He's always fighting and always looking to bury his man. However, he doesn't look the type of an NFL guard and he's not quite athletic enough to be a top tackle. After a rough off-season of workouts, looking overmatched in the Senior Bowl practices, he's not a great fit for any pro attack. He'll be a decent part of a line, but he won't be a great starter to rely on to do much shoving around.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round 

Sixth Round
FSB Mistral Raymond, South Florida  6-1, 185
Overall Pick No. 170 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked

CFN Analysis: With decent size and good working habits, he has the ability to work as a free safety or a nickel back. Good against the run, he's always looking to make the hit and he's not afraid to be physical. He's not afraid to get his nose dirty, and the only way he makes a roster is by standing out on special teams. He's nothing more a free agent practice squad player, though.
CFN Projection: Free Agent 

Sixth Round
C Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock (OG) 6-4, 302
Overall Pick No. 172 CFN Overall Ranking: 208

CFN Analysis: Obviously the lower-level competition is an issue, but he more than held his own during Senior Bowl practices and was terrific at the Combine. One of the most athletic interior linemen in the draft for his size, he's an intriguing prospect who's worth drafting and worth giving a long, long look for somewhere in the interior. He might be just scratching the surface. With his size and his raw skills, he'll make someone's starting lineup.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round  

Sixth Round
OLB Ross Homan, Ohio State 6-1, 240
Overall Pick No. 200 CFN Overall Ranking: 96

CFN Analysis: A normal hard-nosed, athletic Buckeye linebacker with good smarts and nice workout numbers. A pure football player, he's always in the right position and he's solid in pass protection when he doesn't have to cover a large area. While he has decent size, it's a fake weight bulking up ten pounds in a hurry this offseason, and now he's more of a middle linebacker but without the durability to hold up for the job. While he'll get from Point A to Point B, he's not going to cut on a dime and he'll get outjuked at times. He's going to be a good pro, but there's a limit on whether or not he can be a special one.
CFN Projection: Third Round

Seventh Round   
DE D'Aundre Reed, Arizona 6-4, 261
Overall Pick No. 215   CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked
Extremely strong for an end, he came up with a good Combine and has been good enough in workouts to get a long, long look. It took a little while to get the chance, and then he took the opportunity and was solid. Unfortunately, he was a part of a rotation and didn't stand out enough to earn a full-time gig; the stats weren't there. He needs plenty of work on his technique and he's not going to be ready to go out of the box, and if he's not a great pass rusher in camp he'll be a quick cut.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

Seventh Round
WR Stephen Burton, West Texas A&M  6-2, 221
Overall Pick No. 236  CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked

CFN Analysis: An intriguing developmental prospect, Burton has excellent size and could be a good H-Back with a little bit of time. Fast, he can get down the field and potentially grow into a midrange deep threat as well as a safety valve. He doesn't catch as cleanly as you'd like and he needs a lot of route running work, but there are skills to make him worth looking at in a camp. 
CFN Projection: Free Agent