Draft Grader: Minnesota Vikings
Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale
(-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
Up next? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Minnesota Vikings
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
No such luck …
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Phil Loadholt, OT (54th overall pick in 2009): Since the Vikings selected Loadholt with the 54th overall pick in 2009 many tackles have come into the league and failed. Loadholt? Well he’s arguably become the premier right tackle in the league. More than solid in pass protection he gets about as much push in the run game as any of his peers.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Percy Harvin, WR (22nd overall pick in 2009): The team did well to get a first round pick in the trade with Seattle which in itself pushes this up a grade. Harvin was as explosive a playmaker as there has been in the league, but his troubles staying on the field (he managed 2,288 snaps for the team) mitigate his impact somewhat. Clearly an incredible threat while running, receiving or returning.
Brandon Fusco, OG (172nd overall pick in 2011): A year earlier I’d be writing that Fusco was in over his head, keeping a more talented Geoff Schwartz on the sideline. Now? Now I see the method to the Vikings madness, letting him take his lumps in his first season starting so that he could develop into the player he became in 2013. He’s finish the season as our third ranked right guard.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Jamarca Sandford, S (231st overall pick in 2009): Sandford has become a slightly below average starting safety in this league that can help on special teams. If all your seventh round picks turned out like that you’d cope.
Everson Griffen, DE (101st overall pick in 2010): Has the chance to show he’s worth more than this with a Jared Allen sized roadblock now out of his way. A versatile talent, Griffen has spent most of his career backing up Allen and Brian Robison while picking up snaps at defensive tackle in nickel. That has seen him amass 1,739 snaps for the team and a +3.3 career grade.
Kyle Rudolph, TE (43rd overall pick in 2011): He might not be the best tight end in football as he claims, but there’s no reason to think he won’t be one day. One of the rare tight ends who can have an impact as a receiver and blocker, with a career +15.3 grade the envy of many of his more one dimensional peers.
0.0: It could have been worse
Jasper Brinkley, LB (150th overall pick in 2009): Would play 1,157 snaps for the team, including a 2012 that saw him start. Unfortunately, he missed too many tackles (21) and wasn’t stout enough against the run to edge into the positive category.
Chris DeGeare, OG (162nd overall pick in 2010): Would get on the field for 328 snaps, but despite the team pushing to develop him they would give him on him before the 2012 season started.
Joe Webb, QB/ WR (200th overall pick in 2010): An inaccurate thrower who would finally convert to wide receiver. Webb was a developmental prospect who the team spent four years trying to marry his natural athletic abilities with some taught NFL skills. It didn’t really work out though as there were some exciting moments along the way.
Mickey Shuler, TE (215th overall pick in 2010): One of those seventh round pick you likely want to get on your practice squad, the Vikings were denied this opportunity when the Dolphins claimed him off waivers.
Ryan D’Imperio, FB (238th overall pick in 2010): Converted to fullback and would play 161 snaps for the team and make six special teams tackles. Little else to say here.
Christian Ballard, DT (106th overall pick in 2011): Impressed as a rookie at various points, working his way into a rotational and sub package role that saw him land 244 snaps. More of the same in his second year which saw him generate more pressure, but personal issues saw him miss all of 2013. It could go either way depending on whether he returns to the NFL or not.
Brandon Burton, CB (139th overall pick in 2011): Spent two years with the team and featured on 80 defensive snaps. Burton has never developed into anything more than just a guy.
DeMarcus Love, OT (168th overall pick in 2011): Continuing the trend of the Vikings taking a late round flier on an offensive lineman which has tended work out quite well in recent years. Love, who would never play a snap on offense, was the exception though he would hang around for a couple of years before being released during the 2013 season.
Mistral Raymond, S (170th overall pick in 2011): A late fifth rounder, Raymond was given opportunities to start but failed to take them. Firmly on the roster bubble heading into his fourth season after earning a career -15.0 grade in his 1,007 snaps.
D’Aundre Reed, DE (216th overall pick in 2011): This seventh rounder saw limited action in his first two years (21 defensive snaps) before the team cut him before the start of the 2013 season.
Stephen Burton, WR (238th overall pick in 2011): Would play 217 snaps for the team but his ratio of two drops to seven Vikings receptions didn’t win over a coaching staff that got rid before the 2013 season.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Asher Allen, CB (86th overall pick in 2009): A third rounder who would end up playing a largely horrible 1,450 snaps. Allen was put in position to start and was clearly not up to the task. Allen would eventually retire after his 2011 season ended with a concussion.
Chris Cook, CB (34th overall pick in 2010): Cook has at times looked the physical part, but playing in a rather bland Vikings coverage scheme never seemed to get the best out of him. That coupled with off the field problems meant he never delivered on his potential.
Toby Gerhart, RB (51st overall pick in 2010): When you have a workhorse back like Adrian Peterson, it was always questionable selecting a back with a premium pick. After all you want to keep “Purple Jesus” on the field as much as possible, so it’s only really injury that will get your backup carrying the load. Gerhart would therefore only feature 1,131 times and was hardly electrifying when he was getting carries.
Nathan Triplett, LB (168th overall pick in 2010): If you don’t know this by now then realize I don’t like fifth round picks that get cut before the start of their rookie season.
Ross Homan, LB (200th overall pick in 2011): Heck, I don’t even like sixth round picks who don’t make it.
-1.0: What a waste!
Not quite …
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Christian Ponder, QB (12th overall pick in 2011): When you pick up a quarterback in the first round it’s likely to either be a big win or a big loss. Ponder? Well, he hasn’t lived up to his draft slot in three years. Poor as a rookie, he’s shown minimal improvement on gameday. The most complimentary thing that can be said is that he has shown flashes of solid play, only to bounce back to form with a horror show the week after. Surrounded by a great line and rushing attack, he and his receivers really haven’t helped each other.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
No thank you …
Here are links to the teams that have been through the Draft Grader to date:
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