Friday, November 27, 2015

Monthly Archives: April 2014

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On Monday, writer Mike Wobschall posted an article and accompanying video that covered the Top 5 Draft Choices in Vikings History.

Wobby’s list included the following players in the respective order:

          5. LB Scott Studwell (9th round, 1977)

          4. WR Randy Moss (1st round, 1998)

          3. DT Alan Page (1st round, 1967)

          2. QB Fran Tarkenton (3rd round, 1961)

          1. RB Adrian Peterson (1st round, 2007)


While I certainly can’t disagree with these names, it got me thinking about other players not on the list that would be a close runner-up.

For me, I can’t help thinking Cordarrelle Patterson.

I know I’m premature here, and I’ll probably get some serious flack for it… although we’ve only been able to see Patterson in one season of action thus far, the numbers–and pure speed–speak for themselves! During the 2013-14 season, Patterson grabbed 45 receptions for 469 yards. It can also be argued that, had Minnesota had a more consistent QB situation, the rookie would have delivered even stronger numbers.

Had the Vikings not traded up to get the receiver in the first round, the offense would have a very different look.

I would love to get some reader feedback on this one … which Vikings draft pick would you add to this list?



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I apologize in advance for posting about something that isn’t that original, but it’s something I think is important to rehash in the coming weeks before the draft.

The word “upside,” and it’s more familiar cousin “potential,” get thrown around a lot when talking about prospective NFL players, especially in the context of evaluation (this is not limited to the NFL of course, but I thought I’d write about something I’m a bit more comfortable with). As a rule, it’s better to get a player with “upside” than a similar player who lacks that quality, but the difficulty comes in determining what to do with potential when player quality “out-of-the-box” differ.

This talk about potential and upside is incomplete, partially because our understanding, or at least the context by which we’ve come to understand the NFL, has functionally created a separate meaning for upside: athletic ability.

Scouts are almost always actually saying that a player has upside if he has athletic ability and a prototypical body shape. Usually this player is “raw” in some way (another term that we generally understand to mean deficient in a capacity, almost always technique related). Often these players are contrasted against “pro-ready” players, who for many have reached their “ceiling” as players.

Excuse the excessive use of quotation marks, but there are a lot of terms we’ve come to accept in the NFL, particularly as it relates to scouting. In this case, a ceiling is a reference to the theoretical upper limit of players as it relates to their on-field ability. If they are at or near their ceiling, what you see of their on-field play is about what you’d get in the NFL.

Too often it seems, scouts, media, coaches and fans are enthralled by the chance of landing a player with unlimited potential and unheard-of athletic talent at the position. It becomes nearly impossible to imagine what a limitless player can do. Maybe he could earn ten sacks a game? Throw 10 40-yard+ passes with perfect accuracy in a half? Grab 5 interceptions in a quarter?

No, he can’t.


Audie Cole’s first NFL start began with a sack on the very first play of the game against the Greenbay Packers in week 12 of 2013. Cole finished the game with 13 total tackles earning him three more starts before a high ankle sprain sidelined him for the season finale versus the Detroit Lions.

Cole is a difficult player to evaluate because his production can be very good, but his overall athleticism and disruptive impact or “wow factor” is often underwhelming. Nonchalant, ho-hum, vanilla, old-school, tough nosed, instinctive and fundamentally sound are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when watching Cole’s style of play.

 Audie Cole is a 6’4” 245 pound middle linebacker that the Vikings selected in the seventh round of the 2012 draft. Cole had a productive 4 year career at North Carolina State recording 276 total career tackles, 14 sacks, 7 forced fumbles and 1 interception.

 Unfortunately for Cole, his good production on the football field will get deluted in today’s measurement hungry and workout centered talent evaluation process. Athleticism, explosive burst, and big play potential are some intangible factors that can help tip the scale favorably for certain players… Cole is not one of those players.


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As we get closer to the NFL Draft, it’s critical that fans and media alike find ways to aggregate the mountains of information they have and concisely explain what we need to know about the top prospects about to enter the NFL. In the interest of doing so, I’ve compiled one sentence scouting reports on the Top 40 players as determined by CBS’ draft rankings—among the best in the industry.


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