Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman held a pre-Draft press conference Tuesday and he touched on a number of hot topics.
The whole thing can be viewed by clicking here.
I have watched it a few times now, and here are my notes:
January 20-25 - Senior Bowl
January 26 - Pro Bowl
February 17 - First day of franchise / transition player designation
February 19-25 - Scouting Combine
March 11 - Free Agency begins
March 23 - Owner's Meeting
April 7 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with new HC
April 17 - 2014 Schedule Released
April 21 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with returning HC
May 2 - Deadline for RFAs to sign offers
May 8-10 - NFL Draft
[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.
Apparently everyone here at Vikings Territory loves it when Adam and I disagree on something. Our post a week ago where we went back and forth about whether or not the Vikings should trade down in the draft started quite the discussion between readers. Luckily for you all, Adam and I have different opinions quite frequently. And as such, we’ve decided to make this a recurring column where we duke it out over various topics.
As most of you probably know, Adam and I have been participating in a series of online, community mock drafts where groups of people act as the war room for NFL teams. Obviously, we’ve represented our beloved Vikings. Throughout the process, Adam and I have differed over the primary need of this franchise. A week ago, Adam ranked the Vikings needs from most desperate to not an issue. According to him, the position of safety is the #1 need of this team. In my opinion, left tackle is our most pressing demand, which is at #3 on Adam’s list. With the most important Vikings draft in recent memory literally right around the corner, what ever will Vikings management do if Adam and I can not agree on what should be the team’s priority?! Luckily for the franchise, I am blessed with the ability to persuade and argue. So, getting Adam to see the light should take no time at all.
Continue reading to see this epic battle go down.
After having roughly 30 seconds to digest the Vikings regular season schedule, I wanted to pass along some of my initial thoughts. Be sure to chime in yourself in the comments section!
Don’t Sleep In!: Not too surprisingly, the 2012 schedule makers didn’t see the Vikings as an attractive option for prime time matchups. In fact, the only nighttime game scheduled is the week 8 game against Tampa. That will be on the NFLN’s Thursday Night Football. 13 of their games are scheduled to be played in the early time slots.
Hopes Up: Jacksonville and Indianapolis aren’t exactly the world’s most dangerous football teams. Even with the additions of high draft picks, such as Andrew Luck, the Vikings might be able to get our hopes up by starting the season 2-0 against a soft beginning to the schedule.
Resting Late: The Vikings have a week 11 bye week. I personally like the late byes, as that is when most rosters could really use the opportunity to rest and heal.
In The Hunt Until Late: Things would have to go very poorly for the Vikings in the first half of the season in order for us to feel fully eliminated from the playoffs heading into week 10. Of the last seven games of the season, five of those will be played against divisional opponents. Beating our NFC North foes is the best way to climb into playoff contention, so hope is likely to cling for quite some time this season.
Bring Your Boot Warmers: In the winter months of November and December the Vikings will be playing outdoor football at Seattle, Chicago, and Green Bay. This equates to a pretty darn good chance that they will need to prepare themselves for some cold old fashioned snow bowls.
Last Ever?: The Vikings are not expected to be playoff contenders. They also aren’t expected, at this point, to have a stadium deal in place in 2012. That could (could) mean that the December 30th game would be the last Vikings game ever to be played in Minnesota. Who do we play? The Packers. How nice.
Owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay is suddenly no stranger to the “Quarterback Carousel” game that haunts many NFL teams.
For the first time in a very long time, he has had to evaluate this Draft class’ top quarterback prospects after giving away the identity of his franchise, Peyton Manning. While it is widely expected that Irsay and company will ultimately select Stanford star Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, he recently made comments about Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill that would suggest the Vikings will at least receive some inquiries about the availability of the third overall selection.
Irsay’s recent tweet said, “Tannehill is a hidden gem in this draft, a quiet secret who was always sneaking up to #3..you want him, you better talk to Zigi The Biggie!”
Former Colts G.M. Bill Polian also took to the airwaves to suggest that the path to Tannehill will run through the third overall selection. He predicted that the Miami Dolphins would trade up to the third spot giving the Vikings their eighth overall selection, their second rounder, and their third rounder to secure Tannehill.
Since trade speculation is starting to pick , Brett and I, who have somewhat different opinions on the topic, decided to create a debate post to start the conversation. We hope it will continue into the comments section with opinions from you all.
According to this post-lockout chart, the Vikings third overall selection is worth 401.3 points of value. The eighth overall pick (318 points), second round pick (159.1), and third rounder (119.4) total 596.5 as a package which suggests the Vikings would be getting the better end of the deal.
Okay, on to the debate!
Reports are surfacing that the Vikings have worked out Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe.
Poe (6’ 4” – 346 pounds) solidified his status as this Draft’s top nose tackle with a superb display at the NFL Scouting Combine which included a 4.87 second forty time. He is expected to come off the board in the first round, but it would be a stretch to call him a candidate to be drafted in the third spot currently occupied by the Vikings.
The team’s interest in top prospects outside the top three is not unsurprising, however.
The Vikings appear to have genuine interest in moving backwards if the right offer presents itself and they need to be prepared to pull the trigger on other top prospects should that situation become reality. Secondly, since they own the 35th pick too, they need to be prepared to select a top prospect that happens to fall into their lap.
The Vikings have also visited with Boise State defensive tackle Chase Baker.
I am a big fan of drafting best player available, regardless of need, and building your team around solid, young players instead of reaching to fill a void. After all, there is nothing wrong with having good depth at a position and/or getting better at something you are already good at.
Still, teams have needs and the Minnesota Vikings are quite obviously no exception.
With that, I present you with my rankings of how the Vikings needs stack up going into this year’s Draft:
There is perhaps no positional group on any team in the NFL that needs upgrading more than the Vikings need to upgrade their safeties. Heck, at this point I would say the Vikings have a greater need at safety than the Dolphins do at quarterback. The thought of Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond being starters instead of depth players, especially in our division, should worry even the most enthusiastic optimists.