The Vikings added three potential starters in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Just like last year, the Minnesota Vikings moved back into the first round for an extra pick.
General manager Rick Spielman favored the defense in the first round selecting defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
He then worked his magic back into the first round for a third pick to select wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. The move cost him any selections on Day 2 of the draft.
In the end, after moving back in the sixth round, and re-acquiring a seventh-round pick, the Vikings ended up with eight draft picks.
Spielman has done a great job in the draft over the past two years with 18 of 20 picks still with the team. After getting two starters in the first round from last year's draft, the expectations will be just as high this season.
Here are the final grades for the Vikings' eight selections.
Draft grades are be based on how well each pick fills a specific need for the Vikings. The grade will also consider if the Vikings jumped the gun, and selected a player too soon, or got a steal on a player that fell to them at the right time.
With their first pick in the draft, number 23, the Minnesota Vikings plugged a hole in their defensive line. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd from Florida, a player ranked in the top 10 by both CBSSports and B/R NFL draft lead writer, Matt Miller.
Floyd was Miller's top DT in the draft, and the fourth-ranked player in the draft. The junior, a two-year starter for Florida, finished with 92 tackles, 19.5 for a loss. He only had 4.5 sacks, but don't let that fool you. At 6'3" and 297 pounds he will help improve the Vikings running game.
Grade: A—a player that will start at a position of need.
The Minnesota Vikings doubled down on defense in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
After filling a need at defensive tackle, general manager Rick Spielman filled another need on defense by selecting cornerback Xavier Rhodes, a junior from Florida State.
It's the second year in a row the Vikings have selected a cornerback out of a Florida school. Last year is was Josh Robinson from Central Florida.
The 6'2", 210-pound junior led the Seminoles with three interceptions this past season, and finished with eight—including leading the team with four as a freshmen.
Grade: A—Spielman fills another need.
Like last year, Rick Spielman makes a deal to move back into the first round. This time, in a deal with the New England Patriots, the Vikings received the 29th pick in the draft.
After two defensive picks, the Vikings addressed their biggest need on offense. With the selection of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at 29, they got a top player in the draft.
B/R Lead NFL draft writer, Matt Miller ranked Patterson the sixth-best player in the draft, ahead of his team mate Justin Hunter.
Patterson finished with 46 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns. At 6'2" and 216 pounds he brings some size to wide receiver.
The only downside to this deal is what it cost the Vikings. Spielman gave up a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th-round pick for the Patriots' 29th.
Grade: B—Spielman is 3-for-3 in the first round, a passing grade.
The Vikings trade with New England moved them out of the second and third rounds of the 2013 NFL draft
The Minnesota Vikings went into the 2013 NFL draft with 11 draft picks. It was the most selections for Minnesota since 1991. That year they had 12 picks, of course the draft lasted 12 rounds.
Perhaps the pressure of two very successful drafts the past two years, with 18 of 20 players drafted by the team still on the roster, that general manager Rick Spielman wanted to shed a few picks.
He did just that by moving back into the first round by trading the Vikings' second (no. 52), third (no.83), a fourth (no.102) and a seventh (no. 229) round picks to New England for the 29th overall pick.
The deal resulted in the Vikings drafting Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. On its own, the pick certainly filled a need for the Vikings, but perhaps a too high a cost.
With a couple of holes to fill at linebacker—both on the outside and the middle, the Vikings must wait until the fourth round.
Grade: D—With a draft deep in wide receivers, the Vikings did not need to move back into Round 1.
The Minnesota Vikings addressed another need with their first pick outside of the first round. With the 23rd pick of the fourth round they selected outside linebacker Gerald Hodges from Penn State.
Hodges led the Nittany Lions with 109 tackles last season and was third with 8.5 tackles for a loss.
According to Walter Football, Hodges has the potential to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL. Hodges is 6'1" and 243 pounds, he finished with 249 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks in fours years at Penn State.
It's curious that the Vikings selected an outside linebacker. Returning are starters Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson.
The bigger need is in the middle where they currently have Marvin Mitchell (only three starts in six years) and second-year player Audie Cole on the depth chart.
Grade: C—It provides some depth for the outside. The grade goes up if Hodges can make the move to MLB.
Last year the Minnesota Vikings surprised a lot of people by drafting Georgia kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round. This year they made an even more surprising pick, selecting UCLA punter Jeff Locke.
The pick sends a message to veteran punter Chris Kluwe who the Vikings signed out of UCLA as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2005. Now, potentially the third punter on the roster, it almost certainly means Kluwe's days in Minnesota are numbered.
Walter Football rates Locke as the third-best punter in the draft, and projected him to go no higher than the sixth round. In his four years at UCLA he averaged 44.2 yards per punt. He also converted 6-of-9 PATs and 2-of-3 field goals his junior season in 2011.
At the Senior Bowl he averaged 45 yards per punt, placing two inside the 20-yard line.
Still, with a huge need to find a middle linebacker, this picks seems to be at least one round too early, and the wrong position.
The Minnesota Vikings moved back seven spots in the sixth round in a deal with Tampa Bay. In return they received an additional seventh-round pick.
After failing to address the need at middle linebacker in the fifth round, the Vikings decided to ignore it again in the sixth. They did however address another need by drafting guard Jeff Baca from UCLA with the 28th pick in the sixth round.
The departure of Geoff Schwartz, who backed up Brandon Fusco and Charlie Johnson last season, left the Vikings thin at guard.
Like last year, when the Vikings drafted three sets of teammates, they took their second UCLA player in consecutive picks.
NFL Draft Scout had him rated as the eighth-best guard in the draft, and projected him to go between the fourth and sixth round. Walter Football ranked him 14th, but also projected the between the fourth and sixth rounds.
During his career at UCLA he played at both guard and tackle on both sides of the center. As a freshman he started eight games at left tackle. As a sophomore he moved to guard, starting 13 games. In his career he started 25 games at guard and 20 at tackle.
He showed his determination in 2011 by coming back from a broken ankle suffered during spring practice. He only missed one game that year.
6"3" and 302 pounds he has the size and versatility to provide some much needs depth on the offensive line—until he takes over for another starter, most likely Charlie Johnson.
Grade: B—It's a good pick that addresses a need. Baca should develop into a future starter.
Just like last year, the Minnesota Vikings have selected multiple set of college teammates in the draft.
After taking Penn State outside linebacker, Gerald Hodges in the fourth round, they added his teammate, inside linebacker Michael Mauti.
This is the second consecutive season the Vikings have drafted an inside linebacker in the seventh round—last year it was Audie Cole from North Carolina State.
Last season Mauti finished second to Hodges with 96 tackles. He had four tackles for a loss, 2,5 sacks and led the Nittany Lions with three interceptions. Over three seasons at Penn State he finished with 183 tackles, 12.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions.
One very giant red flag for Mauti is his health. In 2009 he suffered a torn ACL to his right knee, In 2011 he tore the ACL in his left knee. Walter Football believes, that if not for the injures, he could have been drafted in the second or third round.
NFL.com identifies great instincts and poise in both the running and passing games. At 6'2" and 243 pounds he has a thick build that helps him to stand his ground against linemen.
Grade: C—A little late to address a need. Here's hoping he's not the next coming of Greg Childs.
The Minnesota Vikings added some beef with their second selection in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft. With the 214th pick they selected North Carolina guard, Travis Bond.
Bond is a big man that stands 6'6" tall and is a slim and trim 329 pounds. After the 2011 Independence Bowl he weighed in at 375 pounds. His teammates at North Carolina called him Tree Top.
Despite his size, he did not become a starter until his junior season, starting all 13 games at right guard. According to the analysis from NFL.com, his weaknesses include playing too tall, allowing the defense to get underneath and drive him backwards, and slow hands.
Bond will be a bit of a project for the Vikings, most likely landing on the practice squad for 2013.
Grade: B—It's a good pick for the seventh round for a player with Bond's potential.
The Minnesota Vikings closed out the 2013 NFL draft with the way they opened it—by drafting a defensive tackle. But, don't expect any competition between the two for a starting position.
The Vikings first pick, Sharrif Floyd is projected to be a starter, their last, Everett Dawkins from Florida State looks to be a future starter.
Walter Football ranked him 20th among defensive tackles, and projects him as a backup in the NFL. The overview from NFL.com is that, with a coach willing to work with him, Dawkins has the potential to be a starter "down the line."
In four seasons at Florida State he finished with 106 tackles, 15 for a loss and only seven sacks.
At 6'2" and 292 pounds, Dawkins measures about the same size as John Randle (6'1" and 290 pounds). Randle went undrafted in 1990 out of Texas A&I University.
It would be great if Dawkins had a similar motor as Randle—it would be a huge surprise.
Grade: C—It's the last pick in the draft at a position the Vikings could use some depth.