Saturday, November 28, 2015

Monthly Archives: April 2012

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Despite all of the Draft excitement and stadium drama, we would be remiss if we neglected to update you on of this offseason’s other most important storylines.

On Tuesday, Leslie Frazier gave us an update on the progress of Adrian Peterson following his December 30th knee surgery.

“He’s doing great. He’s been here throughout this week and had a chance to run with our players on Tuesday,” Frazier said of Peterson. “He was off to the side working with our trainer, Eric Sugarman, and he looked out and saw the guys doing their wind sprints and he said, ‘You know, I don’t think they’re running hard enough.’ Eric allowed him to go out and run with them and he passed them four different times. He finished in first four different times. I remember Joe Webb saying, ‘I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.’ He’s doing great and we’re optimistic that he’s going to be ready for that first game. I know that’s his goal and we’ll just see how he continues to progress, but he’s doing great.”

“He’s begun some cutting, but that’s the next step. He has to get to the point where he’s comfortable cutting. Straight ahead he’s doing great,” Frazier said. “Now he has to get to the point where he’s comfortable with being able to go left to right or right to left and stopping and starting. One step at a time. Right now it’s cutting.”

In addition to the Peterson update, Frazier also pointed out that Percy Harvin’s shoulder surgery went well and that Harvin is at home recovering.  Harvin is almost certain to be ready to go for OTA’s.

Frazier also expressed excitement about the team’s attendance at their offseason conditioning program.  Three players are missing, one of which is Jared Allen, but it sounds like there is nothing to be concerned about there.

A quick look at what our NFC North foes did on Day One of the NFL Draft:


The Bears owned the 19th pick and, despite the presence of Julius Peppers, decided that pass rusher Shea McClellin was their guy.  With the incredible offensive line talent that was available at that time, I was a bit surprised to see Chicago choose a defensive end that many argue wasn’t even the best guy available at his position.  Meanwhile Chicago’s miserable offensive line is still, well, miserable.  Even so, it is hard to argue with a pass rusher considering that they too have to play Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford multiple times each year.


After years of harping from the media and some fans, the Lions may have finally invested into Stafford’s health by investing significantly into the tackle position.  Iowa tackle Riley Reiff was an incredible value for the Lions and Jeff Backus should finally be replaced for good with this addition.  Great pick for the Lions who just seem to get better and better under their new regime.


By taking USC pass rusher Nick Perry, the Packers may have finally found a consistent compliment to Clay Matthews, and NFC North quarterbacks are surely taking note.  Perry was not widely regarded as a 3-4 type of player, but I think he has all the tools to be just fine no matter what the scheme.  It will be interesting, as the years to go by, to see the Pack ends up regretting their decision to pass on Harrison Smith and allow the Vikings to move up and snag him with the next pick.

Matt Kalil admitted that he was keeping an open mind regarding where he might end up being drafted and also where he might end up living.

“I think that I had an idea that’s where I might end up,” Kalil said Thursday night. “But the way the draft works, and especially right now, all these trades going down and everything, I was trying to keep open-minded.”

He also said he was relieved to see his cell phone light up once the Vikings were on the clock after the team indeed dropped backwards one spot in a trade with Cleveland.

“Out of all the visits I took,” Kalil continued, “Minnesota was the only place where I could really see myself living and spending the next 10 years and finishing out my football career there. I knew some people that went to Minnesota and a lot of players that played there. They said there’s no other place like it, especially the fanbase that Minnesota has — it’s probably the best in the NFL. So, as soon as I was picked there, I knew I was going into a great place and a great team as well.”

Way to pander Matt, way to pander.  We don’t mind, especially with our team’s future hanging in the balance from a relocation standpoint.

Kalil seemed like a humble yet confident guy in his introductory press conference, and I for one am glad to have him on our team.

On Thursday, the Vikings weeks of posturing ended up right back where everyone assumed it began, with them selecting USC left tackle Matt Kalil with their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  The only caveat was, after picking up three extra picks, he was selected one spot later than we all expected.

While Rick Spielman had enough media types bamboozled into thinking they might take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, but instead they took the player they likely targeted all along.  Then, they snuck into the end of the first round and selected Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.

Following the Draft I will dust off my old “Welcome to the Big Show” features and we’ll look at every prospect selected very closely.  For now, however, I want to provide some instant reaction to the selections and give you an idea for how I feel on each guy.


The Vikings expect that they have found themselves a cornerstone for the organization that will be around for at least a decade, protecting quarterbacks and paving paths for runners.

Kalil’s real strength matches well with the weaknesses of the Vikings current tackles.  He is a superb pass protector who utilizes his athleticism and quick feet to ensure that if the quarterback gets hit, it won’t be from his side.  USC often left Kalil by himself and he held up great despite the lack of help.

His run blocking has been pointed out by many analysts as needing improvement, but somewhere along the line “needing improvement” turned into “a huge weakness” within media circles.  The truth is, Kalil’s smaller frame and upright style seldom affected his game negatively in college, and his ability to get to the second and third level in the run game to take on linebackers and safeties far outweighs any negatives.  Sure, he can add some bulk and a little strength (which he probably will) but there is no denying that this kid is an elite prospect as a left tackle.

Left tackle is where he will immediately be plugged in.  With Kalil manning that spot, the Vikings then plan to slide Charlie Johnson inside to left guard, thus upgrading two positions with one choice.

I couldn’t be happier about this pick and while he won’t single-handedly win Minnesota a Super Bowl, he should prove to be a huge step in the right direction for this offense that needs to be built around Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson.

Adam’s Grade:  A+


The Vikings desperately needed help at the safety position.  If they went into the season with Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond as their starters, well, I just wouldn’t be expecting much… we’ll put it that way.

To me, the top two safety prospects in this Draft were clearly Mark Barron from Alabama and Harrison Smith from Notre Dame.  After that, I felt like there was a great disparity between them and the second tier of safeties.

Barron went to the Bucs very early on in the Draft and the Vikings gave up a fourth rounder to move to the 29th spot from their original second round position and grabbed Smith.  In doing so, they filled a huge need with a very solid prospect.

Smith has a nice, big frame and is known to be kind of a jack-of-all-trades type of player.  The Vikings liked the versatility from what they saw of him at the Senior Bowl.  His athleticism and range should be of benefit to a Vikings secondary that needs some positives added to it.  He truly is a sideline-to-sideline type of player.

Having even played some linebacker in the past, the Vikings surely like Smith’s tackling abilities and physical style of play.  He is at his best when playing downhill and is plenty capable of delivering a jarring hit.  Smith will event present the Vikings with a good ability to blitz on occasion.

Most attractive, however, were the leadership abilities he displayed within Notre Dame’s defense.  He is known as an ultra-competitive guy that is going to give you everything he’s got and then some.

There has been some knocks on his coverage ability, however, which would be why he never was considered a “blue chip” type of player.  His tape reveals some stiffness in his game and his interception totals went from seven as a junior to none as a senior.

Overall, Smith seems like a day one starter, especially for the Vikings.  He has room for improvement, but looks to be like an investment that could be well worth it.  I am looking forward to seeing him matchup against some of those big tight ends in our division.

The Vikings filled a need and got a very promising prospect.  Tough to find many complaints about this one, other than perhaps the fact that they had to trade up to get him.

Adam’s Grade:  A-

Well, the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft turned out to be quite exciting for us Vikings fans.

Our live chat was a blast and a huge thanks to Brett, Malte, and Gil from for all of the hard work keeping things running smoothly!

Here is the transcript from the live chat so that it can always be a part of our permanent record and also to let you review some reactions if that interests you:

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