Tuesday, May 24, 2016

harrison smith

Bad first round picks for the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The first round of the NFL Draft is a marquee of top prospects and college football’s best players. Over the past five years, the Minnesota Vikings have taken advantage of the talent pool, selecting nine players in the first round since 2011. And while most of those picks have been successful for general manager Rick Spielman, some failed to pan out. Names like Christian Ponder and Cordarrelle Patterson come to mind, if only because the price Spielman paid doesn’t match the return on investment.

Ponder was the 12th-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, while Patterson went 29th-overall in 2013 behind a trade that sent four Vikings draft picks to the New England Patriots. Minnesota can’t afford to make a similar mistake this year, especially when tantalizing names like Jaylon Smith and Josh Doctson may be available when the Vikings select 23rd-overall. But other, more trendy players may fall; players the Vikings shouldn’t draft in the first round. Who are they? Well, I asked the VT Team, and the answers may surprise you!

Who is one player you DO NOT want the Vikings to draft in the first round?

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[This Darian Thompson Scouting Report, with a Vikings slant, has been provided to Vikings Territory by Draft Season. Be sure to check back for more and also be sure to visit Draft Season to quench your NFL Draft thirst. All previously published scouting reports can be found by clicking here.]

Darian Thompson | Safety, Boise St.

Measurements

Height – 6’2″
Weight – 210 lbs.
Age – 22

At First Glance

All-Mountain West First Team

Projected Round

2nd Round

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Will the Cincinnati-Minnesota pipeline continue for Mike Zimmer?

George Iloka a top free agent safety for the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Building an NFL defense is a lot like putting together an intricate puzzle. Some pieces fit perfectly within the frame, like Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith in Minnesota. Others, unfortunately, are square pegs in a round hole. They have a place somewhere, but not with the Minnesota Vikings.

For Mike Zimmer, the picture is nearly complete — a top-five unit in 2015 has a chance to become even more dominant next season. But one of those pieces has long been a blemish in what should be Mike Zimmer’s masterpiece — strong safety.

From Andrew Sendejo to Robert Blanton, and even Terence Newman, no one player has been a perfect fit beside Smith in the secondary. Despite the revolving door at the position, general manager Rick Spielman does have options. The draft is chock full of potential contributors, and players like Anthony Harris will continue to develop, but the safest path to the perfect puzzle may begin in March.

That’s when free agency opens. And that’s when safeties like Eric Berry, Reggie Nelson, and Eric Weddle will hit the open market. They’re fine pieces to add to the puzzle, but they’re not the right piece for Zimmer’s defense. Enter George Iloka, current Cincinnati Bengals strong safety and soon-to-be free agent target.

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The much discussed (and minimally respected) Pro Bowl took place Sunday giving us our last glimpse of Vikings football until August. Five Vikings Pro Bowlers made an appearance in the game and here is a quick recap of what went down:

ADRIAN PETERSON

Peterson, the only Vikings to originally be voted into this Pro Bowl, got a few carries on the first drive of the game with mild success. His best play came on a catch and run the resulted in a first down inside the redzone which set up a Travis Kelce touchdown.

Peterson ended the day with four yards on five carries, three catches for 20 yards, and no fumbles.

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Michael Caputo | Strong Safety, Wisconsin

As a three-year starter for the Badgers, Michael Caputo served as the heart of a stout and stingy Wisconsin defense. Caputo takes pride in his intensity and tackling ability and it shows on the football field. Caputo put his skill on display in the 91st East-West Shrine Game picking off a pair of passes, including one from former Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave, and logging three tackles en route to claiming defensive MVP honors helping the West claim a 29-9 victory.

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