Thursday, February 11, 2016

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“I texted him right before the pick came in, and he thought I was just joking.”

That’s what newest Vikings addition Eric Kendricks said about texting his former teammate Anthony Barr that they would be reunited in Minnesota.

Kendricks and Barr each made conference calls to the Winter Park media room following Minnesota selecting Kendricks at No. 45 overall. One thing is for sure…the teammates (and UCLA roommates) are equally enthusiastic to play alongside each other once again.

“When I got the call […] it took me at least a minute to realize what was happening, where I was going, and who I was playing with,” Kendricks said. “I really felt like it was kind of disrespectful because I wasn’t saying much, but once it finally clicked, I got so happy and the rest just took off from there.”

Barr, drafted by the Vikings last year, expressed his excitement through several tweets directly after the pick was made. Barr admitted he never thought it was realistic that Kendricks would play in Minnesota, saying he never talked to Mike Zimmer or Rick Spielman about the fellow linebacker. However, he has no doubts that Kendricks is NFL-ready and will bring a huge amount of upside to Zimmer’s already-strong defense.

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Cheerleader Hug
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings were again at the center of trade speculation as pick number 45 approached Friday evening.

However, unable to strike a deal, the Vikings instead filled one of their most pressing needs with a player largely considered to be a first round talent.

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks is the newest member of the Mike Zimmer’s defense, joining cornerback Trae Waynes as part of a continuing effort to dominate the defensive side of the football. Kendricks projects as an instant starter within the Vikings defense presuming his knee is healthy.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Because my first round mock draft was so successful (5 of 32, baby!), I thought it’d be a great idea to do a Day 2 Mock Draft. Really, this is just a fun exercise to see what players might be available when the Vikings are on the clock in rounds 2 and 3. Sort of an exhibit to an article I posted earlier today looking deeper at potential Vikings targets.

After selecting Trae Waynes in the first round, the Vikings biggest positions of need remain linebacker, safety, guard and maybe wide receiver. Luckily for us, there are so exceptional prospects still available and some are surely to fall.

Check out the full simulation of Round 2 below as well as a little bit of Round 3 until the Vikings are back on the clock.


Second Round

1 (33) Titans / T.J. Clemmings, OT – Pittsburgh
2 (34) Buccaneers / Jake Fisher, OT – Oregon
3 (35) Raiders / Owamagbe Odighizuw, Edge – UCLA
4 (36) Jaguars / Benardrick McKinney, ILB – Mississippi St.
5 (37) Jets / Brett Hundley, QB – UCLA

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Not everyone was a fan of the Minnesota Vikings selecting cornerback Trae Waynes with the 11th overall pick last night, but the readership here at VT weighed in on a poll last night and the results are mostly favorable.

In the poll below, with 392 votes placed as of this posting, 87% of our readers gave the selection either an “A” or “B” grade. Instant reactions are, of course, not an accurate reflection of how a player might actually produce in the NFL, but who doesn’t prefer a little optimism over sincere disappointment?

 

Lindsey has done a great job of getting the immediate reactions from Rick Spielman and Mize Zimmer at Winter Park, in addition to Waynes himself this afternoon, but I wanted to look outside of the team here at VT and see what kind of draft grades are floating about.

This is pretty much a random sampling of what people are saying about the selection.

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Following a football season overrun with off-the-field issues, it seemed appropriate that GM Rick Spielman would open Friday afternoon’s press conference with a story to demonstrate Trae Waynes’ strong character.

According to Spielman, his brother-in-law lives in Chicago and has a friend whose daughter underwent cleft palate surgery earlier this week. Prior to the surgery, Waynes spent time with the child, taking a picture holding the infant. Spielman said the following:

I know what he can do on the football field, I know what kind of family he comes from, and right now I know what kind of person he is. 

When Waynes took the podium for the first time as a Minnesota Viking, he also paid credit to his family and his upbringing.

“My parents were hard on me and my brother,” he said. “My dad was actually my guidance counselor. They kept us out of trouble and raised us right. I owe all that to them.”

Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer both reemphasized their excitement for having Waynes here in Minnesota and the impact he will have on the team. Zimmer said that it seems most all players with outstanding athletic ability play offense nowadays, so it can be tough to find really good CBs in the Draft. The coach believes Waynes is an exception to that rule, however.

“Trae has excellent ball skills, he’s a great competitor, big heart,” he said.

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