Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Blog Page 119

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I doubt the Vikings will select any of the targets I choose today or any of the targets I mentioned yesterday. Regardless, it’s clear the kind of picks the Vikings have made so far have been relatively blind to “need” in a traditional sense—or at least in the sense of having any real level of predictability. That said, it will be fun to track a number of players and see if the Vikings attempt to pick them up. The Vikings have been making almost purely “board” picks—choosing the best player available, regardless of their perceived need.

Spielman was fully willing to acknowledge the problem at defensive back when I asked him about it, but he was also ready to point out that you don’t just build a team in the first two days of the draft and that the process isn’t over—there’s still an opportunity to sign players after the draft as well.

That said, there are a few prospects to target on Day 3 that might intrigue Vikings fans, even if they’ve been too unpredictable to project so far.

 

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Without a second-round pick, the Vikings have enough ammo in the form of two third-round picks and four picks in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds to move up into the second round or at least make the middle of the day interesting. Should any number of intriguing prospects at positions of need fall for the Vikings, expect them to be aggressive in picking them up. The Vikings will enter today with a number of frameworks already in place for a trade, and expect them to pull the trigger if their potential trade partners lose “their guy” earlier in the draft while the Vikings see “their guy” fall. Who should “their guy” be?

No clue, but I’m willing to speculate because this is a blog.

 

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Anthony Barr may be known to you as an explosive pass rusher with off-ball potential as a linebacker, but in other circles he is food.

I don’t mean he is prey for other players on the field, I mean there is literally a bust made of food of him.

As part of a Subway promotion to unveil Anthony Barr as a “Subway Famous Fan” along with Eric LeGrand (of Rutgers fame), they created a “life size” bust of food (which looks a little larger than life size).

He is made of food
He is made of food

 

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At this point, it’s well known that general manager Rick Spielman loves to draft in pairs. Getting players from the same school eases the transition in training camp and allows players to feel comfortable in a completely new environment—which translates into focus and effectiveness. Last year, Spielman selected two players from Florida State (Xavier Rhodes and Everett Dawkins), UCLA (Jeff Baca and Jeff Locke) and Penn State (Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges). The year before it was USC (Matt Kalil and Rhett Ellison), Notre Dame (Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton) and Arkansas (Greg Childs and Jarius Wright).

In a rare moment of clarity, Spielman even told gathered reporters that this was a goal every year and later signed a number of undrafted free agents from like schools (Rodney Smith and Anthony McCloud from Florida State, Erik Highsmith from North Carolina to pair with Travis Bond the draftee, Colin Anderson and Jerodis Williams from Furman, and so on).

That in mind, it creates some very specific potential targets for the Vikings; they drafted a player from UCLA and a player from Louisville. The Vikings currently have UCLA alum on their roster so it may not be as important (both Baca and Locke), but it still deserves a look. Who are the potential prospects from those schools? I’ve listed them below, ranked in order of importance (most to least) for the Vikings (a combination of talent and need).

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 Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has a great track record of getting the most out of his linebackers. After the Vikings selected Anthony Barr with 9th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Zimmer is certainly excited to get an opportunity to mold Barr into the dynamic playmaker he thinks he can be. Zimmer has never had a linebacker with the size, speed and athleticism of the 6-5 255 pound UCLA product. Barr has extreme potential but he is very raw and still learning the linebacker position. Barr was not used as an off-the-line backer nor was he asked to drop into coverage often. 

Anthony Barr had some monster hits and big plays last season, but for the most part he didn’t show up on tape as often as expected. Part of that is because he spent a good chunk of time lined up on the line of scrimmage, sometimes in a three point stance trying to bull rush offensive tackles. Barr is not a strength power player, he is more of a finesse speed guy that will benefit when moved to a more traditional linebacker position.

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