2012 NFL Draft - Minnesota Vikings

Posted Apr 28, 2012

Minnesota Vikings - NFC North, 2012 Draft Selections & Prospects


Minnesota Vikings

2012 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

2012 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   

- 2011 Minnesota Draft Breakdown
- 2010 Minnesota Draft Breakdown

The Draft Was ... outstading where it needed to be. There's lots of filler in the fourth round, and LB Audie Cole was a phenomenal value pick in the seventh, but trading down a spot to get OT Matt Kalil with the fourth pick; moving up to get S Harrison Smith late in the first; and getting a total steal in CB Josh Robinson in the early third all worked. The Vikings apparently like the Arkansas passing game taking receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs in the fourth.
Best Value Pick: CB Josh Robinson, UCF, 3rd round
Worst Value Pick: WR Greg Childs, Arkansas, 4th round
They Should've ... stayed put in the early second round and hoped for Smith to slide down to the 35th pick overall. In a worst case scenario, someone would've taken the safety and the Vikings would've gambled on greatness by taking CB Janoris Jenkins or WR Stephen Hill.
Division Draft Ranking: 1
Overall Draft Ranking: 10

First Round

OT Matt Kalil, USC (Jr.) 6-7, 306
Overall Pick No. 4 CFN Overall Ranking: 3

CFN Analysis: Minnesota moved down one spot and got its man. Kalil is a left tackle who can sit on the line for the next ten years. Yes, of course you take the starting left tackle over the top corner or wide receiver, and Kalil is the rare athlete and talent who can be a fixture. If you believe Christian Ponder is the main man to carry the franchise forward, then you need to protect him. Kalil has almost no down side and should turn out to be one of the locks among the top five picks.

There's a case to be made that a top-shelf left tackle is harder to find than a good quarterback, and while Kalil isn't the overall prospect that Andrew Luck is, he's a special prospect who is every bit as safe. When trying to put together an NFL offensive tackle, Kalil has tools and the talent to be in the Jake Long/Joe Thomas franchise-making mold.

If there were any question marks about his ability, they were all answered at the Combine with a nearly-perfect workout. He broke the 5.0 barrier in the 40; flew through the short drills; and coming up with an excellent 30 reps on the bench, even though he's not quite built for the drill with his long arms. Not only does he have all the raw tools, but he also has the work ethic and the drive to continue to improve and continue to make himself into a star.

A fit for any system, he's a good run blocker, great at getting to the second level, and a peerless pass protector; it's all there. If there's a downside, he's not massive and he'll always be more lean than thick. He's not going to destroy his man as a power blocker, he might have a few problems against the bull rushers, and there's nothing flashy about his style, but like all great tackles he goes long stretches without being noticed. Be shocked if he's not a perennial Pro Bowl performer and the star of a line for at least the next decade.
CFN Projection: First Round

First Round

S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
(SS/FS) 6-2, 213
Overall Pick No. 29 CFN Overall Ranking: 33
CFN Analysis: In a disastrous draft for safeties, Smith is a value pick. No, he might not be the 29th best player in the draft, but considering the Vikings need more help just about everywhere, especially in the secondary, getting one of the few good safeties is fine. However, considering Alshon Jeffery was still on the board, and receiver is a must at some point, there will be some major second-guessing if Smith isn't great.

While he's not going to see a Pro Bowl and he's not going to be a star, he's a versatile talent who came up with a very productive, slightly underappreciated career and will be a good fit in any system. Fast enough to get by, he's more quick than speedy and always seems to be around the ball when needed. If he has any success early on, he'll make the secondary his; he'll be the leader and the quarterback who'll know everything that needs to be done. A team might try him out as a free safety, but he'll be at his best closer to the line and when he gets to come up with pops against the run. There might not be a huge upside, but there's a high floor, too. He'll be a safe pick who'll be an immediate starter.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Third Round

CB Josh Robinson, UCF (Jr.) 5-10, 199
Overall Pick No. 66 CFN Overall Ranking: 46
CFN Analysis: The Vikings had to get better and stronger in the secondary, and after moving up to get Harrison Smith in the first round they got a tremendous value pick in Robinson in the second. A steal considering how teams were starting to talk about him, he's a pure cover-corner with the athleticism to shine on an island. He should be the team's lock-down corner for years to come.

One of the high-rising prospects over the draft process, he went from being a good mid-range prospect to a must-have after a tremendous set of workouts. With a blazing 4.33 at the Combine, he showed off the raw wheels lacking in several of the top corner prospects, and he was smooth as glass running through the short and quickness drills. Throw in the corner-best 11'1" in the broad jump and a 38.5" vertical and he proved he had all the raw tools. Not afraid to step up to a challenge, he seemed to like the big games and the big moments; confidence isn't an issue. However, he's not a big tackler – but he doesn't whiff - and he got by a bit too much on his speed and athleticism. If he's willing to work for it and is ready to take on the challenge of wanting to be a top defender, the upside is limitless. Some team will be ecstatic to get him for a relatively cheap draft pick after the first round.
CFN Projection:
Second Round  

Fourth Round

WR Jarius Wright, Arkansas 5-9, 182
Overall Pick No. 118 CFN Overall Ranking: 82
Joe Adams was the Hogs' most dangerous all-around playmaker because of his return ability, but Wright was the best receiver on a devastating passing attack. While he's a pipsqueak, he's an excellent all-around route runner and isn't afraid to go across the middle. Fast, he has 4.4 wheels and is great at getting separation and is even more dangerous in the open field when he gets to make one cut and go. Not physical at all and without any ability to get bigger, this is it, but it might be enough. Smart and with the want-to and character to own a niche as a No. 3 receiver in a high-powered offense, there's no bust potential.
CFN Projection: Third Round 

Fourth Round

TE Rhett Ellison, USC 6-4, 251
Overall Pick No. 128 CFN Overall Ranking: 188
Part tight end and part fullback, he's a strong blocker who can be utilized in a variety of roles. Line him up at H-Back, in the backfield, or as a true tight end; he'll do whatever it takes to make a team. While not much of a receiver, he wasn't used much in the USC offense and he never stretched the field. While he's a good blocker, he's not quite built to be a true NFL fullback on a full-time basis. There are plenty of reasons to not draft him, and he might be more of a luxury item, but he'll find a role for anyone who makes the pick.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

Fourth Round

WR Greg Childs, Arkansas 6-3, 219
Overall Pick No. 134 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked
CFN Analysis: With a nice blend of size and speed, he has the look of an NFL receiver and can be a tough, physical target if he's used in a complementary role. He'll block and he won't have a problem getting dirty for the running game and doing all the little things needed to spring a big play. However, he's not a blazer and he's not a polished route runner and needs some technique work. The bigger concern is his inability to come back and shine after getting hurt. He was a good receiver, but he never got better and was just a guy in the Hog receiving corps instead of the star.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

Fifth Round

CB Robert Blanton, Notre Dame 6-1, 208
Overall Pick No. 139 CFN Overall Ranking: 212

Is he a corner or a safety? Corner is his natural position, but the 4.69 40 might make him a free safety from the start. However, he only came up with 12 reps on the bench at the Combine. No, he's not great in the weight room, but he beats up receivers and he's not afraid to get his nose dirty. While he doesn't have the best of tools, he's a good athlete and he's quicker than fast when he has to deal with the speed receivers. Can he be a better pro than a collegian? He was okay for the Irish, but he was never really a standout star, more functional than special. With his smarts and his skills he can eventually become a good nickel back, but he'll be tried out at corner early on.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

Sixth Round

PK Blair Walsh, Georgia 5-9, 187
Overall Pick No. 175 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked
Phenomenal a few years ago with a fantastic 2009 season, he struggled to close out strong and had big problems as a senior. He has the leg and he has the NFL ability to be a great kicker for a long time, but it seems to be all mental. There's no questioning the tools, but can he be counted on to be consistent enough to rely on? After 2009 he was a sure-thing draft pick, but now he's not worth anything more than a free agent flier.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

Seventh Round

ILB Audie Cole, NC State 6-4, 246
Overall Pick No. 210 CFN Overall Ranking: 65
A great tackler with a nice frame and the potential to add more weight, he had a good college career and might be just scratching the surface on what he can do. Versatile at the collegiate level, he worked a bit both on the outside and in, but he was far better inside and proved in offseason workouts that he's destined to hang out in the middle of someone's defense. Slow, he hovered around the 4.8 mark in the 40 and came up with a mediocre 19 reps on the bench. On the football field, though, he plays strong, doesn't miss a tackle, and is as tough and competitive as they come. The lack of quickness will be a problem, but he could be used in a variety of spots as a backup if he doesn't stick as a starting inside defender. More of a football player than a workout warrior, he could be a steal.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round