Saturday, January 31, 2015

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Once upon a time, I wrote an article at Vikings Gab that sparked a very interesting and heated discussion in the comments section because I, at least a little, ripped apart Rick Spielman’s history of making perfectly good draft picks disappear with little to show for it.

This upcoming Draft worries me because Spielman could once again find himself in a position to move around, and acknowledged as much when discussing having the third overall pick.

“[W]e’ll be looking at all the options,” Spielman told the NFL Network on Wednesday.  “If someone wants to come up and get our pick, we’re going to be more than willing to listen.”

Of course, this should come as no surprise, as it would be disappointing to hear the General Manager say he has already made his mind up in January.  For me the statement did, however, bring all those same fears bubbling back to the surface.

After finding modest success in signing CFL players like linebacker Kenny Onatolu and wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux, I had good reason for paying such close attention to which CFL players Rick Spielman was checking out this offseason.

Not shockingly, those efforts have proven to be of worth.

On Wednesday, the Vikings reportedly signed BC Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian to a two year contract.

At age 25, six feet tall, and 227 pounds Elimimian has made a name for himself by delivering big hits north of the border.  He was named the CFL’s hardest hitter in a polling of fellow players and won the rookie of the year award in 2010 with BC, after going undrafted out of Hawaii and being cut by the Buffalo Bills.

Last season he had 98 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions.  He was named as an All-Star and his team won the Grey Cup.

Elimimian could provide some much needed depth at the linebacker position if he can stick to the Vikings roster.  He has some decent upside, but don’t expect much more than a special teams player in 2012.

The Carolina Panthers and St. Louis Rams were thought to have also made an offer to the young linebacker.

A look around the web at how the Vikings coaching staff, and certain prospects, are faring in Mobile during the Senior Bowl practices that took place on Wednesday:

  • Some of the best prospects on defense appear like they could be coming from Texas if these practices are an accurate indication.
  • Mike Singletary got very involved with the linebackers on Wednesday.  Outside linebacker Lavonte David has had a great week and could be a consideration in the second round.  Boise State outside linebacker Shea McClellin drew a lot of praise from Singletary on Wednesday, and could also be a consideration in the second or third round.
  • Offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz out of California is showing some athleticism to go with his big frame.  For those of you particularly interested in seeing the O-line improve, Schwartz could be a prospect to keep an eye on as the Draft approaches.
  • Leslie Frazier gave some insight as to what exactly he is looking at during these Senior Bowl practices.  “Say a guy makes a mistake,” Frazier said. “You get a chance to challenge him on that mistake and then see how he responds. You want to see if he’s going to sulk, if he’s going to blame someone else or is he going to be a guy who says, ‘You know what. I’m going to work to fix that. I want to get that right.’”
  • The Vikings are expected to have interviewed over 100 prospects in Mobile this year.  Offensive tackle Mike Adams is having to answer tough questions about the Ohio State jerseys-for-tattoos scandal while former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins is answering for his multiple arrests and being kicked off the team.
  • The Vikings coaches are making an impression.  Defensive backs coach Joe Woods drew a huge crowd as he barked out orders.  Leslie Frazier has really made an impression on Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.   “The Minnesota coaches are real,” said Dennard. “Coach Frazier put a lot of fire in our eyes. I like the way he talks. He let us know this was a big step and that we need to go hard every play all day long to stand out.”
  • “You have to be careful because you’re trying to measure, ‘Can they translate this to the next level where the best of the best are playing?’ ” Frazier said of this extra scouting experience. “That’s one of the reasons sometimes the wide receiver position is misgraded.”

[Note From Adam:  For previous “Offseason Preview” features feel free to click the following:  The Passers and the Runners.]

At the time of this posting, the Vikings are currently at Senior Bowl practices searching through piles of prospects, and there is no doubt that wide receiver will be a high priority as the team enters their second season of the Christian Ponder era.

Let’s take a closer look.

I continue my endeavor to point you towards all the interesting notes coming from Mobile, Alabama as the Vikings coaches work with the North squad.

  • Defensive tackle Mike Martin (Michigan) and middle linebacker Audie Cole (North Carolina State) fit positions of need for the Vikings, and have taken advantage of their opportunity to impress the coaching staff.
  • Another linebacker that has made an impression is Lavonte David out of Nebraska.
  • Think the Vikings could use another guy like Percy Harvin?  Kendall Wright out of Baylor is drawing comparisons to Harvin and may be a steal if he is still around at the beginning of the second round.  Wright is not present at the Senior Bowl, but he is still generating plenty of discussion.
  • The Vikings interviewed 45 players in four hours on Tuesday.  Rick Spielman allowed four reporters incredible access, including sitting in on Spielman’s interview of Auburn long snapper Josh Harris, and discusses the interview process in depth.  Great article!  Check it out here.
  • Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN offers up five players to watch when the game rolls around.  Good stuff, but somebody should tell Tom to back away from the camera a bit.
  • A potential surprise looming in April could be the Vikings decision to select a rookie kicker, especially after Ryan Longwell’s rough season.  If the Vikings are planning such a pick, they are keeping it pretty close to the vest by reiterating their faith in Longwell.
  • Leslie Frazier places a lot of value in the interview process teams put prospects through.  “The fact that we can interact with them in meetings, we can go to the dining hall with them, we can stand on the practice field and talk about things, it’s an ongoing interview,” Frazier said. “Unlike at the combine when you may get them for 15 or 20 minutes, this is a week-long interview we have with these players.
  • One Vikings assistant coach was very complimentary of Virginia linebacker Cam Johnson.  Johnson has had a good couple days of practice and earned some extra credit by expressing enthusiasm of watching film of Tuesday’s practice.  Johnson projects as a mid-round prospect and would probably be moved to defensive end in the Vikings defense.
  • According to Leslie Frazier, the Vikings are not going to completely ignore the running back position throughout the scouting process.  “We do have to be conscious of some of the running backs that are in this draft,” Frazier said.

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