Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Monthly Archives: April 2012

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Last week was supposed to be a week in which we wrote articles strictly pertaining to the upcoming NFL Draft.

Instead, we were bombarded with news surrounding the Vikings quest for a new stadium in Minneapolis and this week looks to be no different.

After a late Friday revival of the stadium bill there are plenty of hurdles left to clear and much of that work is expected to take place on Monday and Tuesday.

In the Senate, the bill will need to travel through the Senate Rules Committee and then the Jobs and Economic Growth Committee.  The Vikings are hoping to see both hearings concluded by Tuesday.

Things are a little more sketchy in the House.  Somehow, the Vikings need to see the bill revived in the House and it is unclear as to how exactly that can happen.

The end goal is for the entire thing to culminate in a general vote, forcing legislators to put their vote on record, and to see where exactly the team stands.

The State’s decision is expected to essentially make the Vikings decision for them as to whether or not they will remain where they are or move elsewhere.

[Note From Adam:  Darren Campbell of Kick Ass Blog (formerly of Grant’s Tomb) is at it again.  Darren has been kind enough to do yet another guest post here at VT and this one is certainly worth the cost of admission (which is nothing, but still…).  Make sure to give it a read and head on over to his site (by clicking here) and let him know what you thought!]

Am I obsessed with whom the Vikings will pick Thursday night with the #3 overall draft pick? Not at all. But I have devoted a few posts to the subject this winter and spring. It is an important pick. And if Vikings general manager Rick Spielman gets it right, Minnesota will get an impact player for the next decade.

He could get it wrong, too. It happens every year with teams picking high in the draft. They miss on guys. That’s why every draft pick is important and the Vikings (so far) have 10 of them. If (heavy emphasis on “if”) the team uses those picks well in this week’s college draft, the Vikings rebuilding effort will be helped enormously.

A week ago, Viking Update had two columns listing the team’s top five best and worst #1 draft picks in the past 25 years. I wanted to take that idea in another direction. Who have been the best late-round draft picks the Vikings have made during their 52 years in the league?

What follows is that list.  For the readers who are wondering what a “late round draft pick” means to me, I decided all fifth-round and beyond to be the late rounds. Not everyone will agree with that decision. We are dealing with two different types of drafts in this list. From 1961-1992 the college draft was 12 rounds. But starting in 1993, it became a seven-round draft. Perhaps the fifth round isn’t quite late enough for some people when the draft is 12 rounds. But you’ve got to start somewhere. So I started at the fifth round.

Anyway, let’s do this.

If you read our comments section and have done so recently, you have surely noticed that a new Vikings site called Vikings Draft Card has a very staunch supporter (highly unlikely to be the writer of the site, right?  Right.) that loves dumping links from that site onto ours.

The site appears to have just been started this month and, by all appearances, has a main purpose of persuading Vikings fans that Matt Kalil is not worth being drafted in the three spot that the Vikings currently hold and should instead draft Morris Claiborne.  I am all about opposing views and going against the grain, so I really do recommend checking out the site.  However, we won’t be adding them to our blogroll until/unless the site owner decides to put his or her name (or any name) to the words they write.

Still, I have to give that site credit (and the person posting links in our comments section) for pointing us towards a report coming out of Green Bay that essentially leaks Wonderlic scores of a number of top prospects in this Draft class.

Much has been made of the reports that Claiborne scored an astonishingly low Wonderlic grade of “4” which would assuredly rank him amongst the lowest scores ever.  Even Vince Young did better.

However, the latest leaks suggest that maybe Kalil isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree either.

The score is lowest amongst the reported scores for offensive tackles, and second lowest of all offensive linemen reported on.  He scored 11 points less than the average score for offensive tackles, but is still 11 points ahead of Claiborne’s score which can allegedly be written off to a learning disability.

So, there you have it, some evidence that might suggest the Vikings should pass on the USC left tackle that yours truly rates as the second best player (yes, including quarterbacks) in this class.  For me, this just more evidence that the Vikings instead should take any trade offers very seriously.

A Wonderlic score may or may not be any sort of indicator of a prospect’s future as a football player, but I still think the Vikings must take Kalil if they remain at the three spot.

Jerome Simpson’s visit with the Minnesota Vikings apparently went “incredibly well” and the Vikings are still in the process of doing their due diligence regarding his felony conviction, 15 day jail sentence, and probable league-imposed suspension.

The Rams have also expressed some interest in Simpson and the Bengals are reportedly still open to seeing him return, but Simpson has been a pretty toxic free agent following the incident involving drugs being delivered to his home.  Some are questioning the wisdom of even entertaining the idea publically of bringing in a felon when the stadium situation in Minnesota seems to be at the tipping point.

Simpson left Minnesota on Sunday without a deal in place, according to the Pioneer Press.  The Vikings presumably want to know exactly what kind of suspension Simpson is facing, and possibly waiting until after the stadium situation has (hopefully) been solved, before signing the athletic receiver.

With a suspension almost certain, it will be interesting to see what type of contract Simpson gets on the open market this offseason.

I can’t help but notice a trend.

Today, the trend that is glaringly obvious if you are bouncing around Vikings sites and looking at the “Twitter Thing” at the bottom of our page involves the Vikings passing on USC left tackle Matt Kalil.

Morris Claiborne is at the center of the speculation, despite weeks of media types labeling this as “smoke” and dismissing it as gamesmanship.  I, myself, still find it hard to believe that this is anything but “smoke” and still believe that Kalil is the obvious choice if the Vikings stay at the three spot.

I do, however, fully buy into the idea that Rick Spielman wants to trade down.  He wants that right deal to present itself so that he can load up on picks to help expedite his plan to rebuild the roster.  Of late, it seems a trade partner might be more interested in jumping up to snag Trent Richardson at the three spot, and I would recommend keeping an eye on the Bengals who have a clear need at running back and are armed with two first round picks.

In our debate last week, it was clear that most of you sided with Brett’s judgment that staying at three and selecting Kalil was far better than my feeling that trading back for as big of a ransom as possible is the best route to take.  For better or worse, I think Spielman’s thinking is more in line with mine and he will be eager to trade back on Thursday, if even just a few spots.

Regardless, something that has seemed like a “sure thing” since February is no looking iffy.  With local beat writers and connected insiders starting to doubt Kalil as the Vikings prospect of choice, the drama for Thursday night should be through the roof.

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