The Triangle of Authority no longer has one man with final say. That ended when Brad Childress left town. While he was here Childress made the final call on any and all player personnel additions, and he had his moments (Percy Harvin), and his other moments (Randy Moss), but that is all over now.
This season is going to be different with VP Rick Spielman and Head Coach Leslie Frazier having to agree upon certain players. The Vikings plan to find their future of the franchise quarterback in this draft.
While also attempting to refortify their once dominant, but now flimsy defensive line.
If Minnesota can manage to accomplish this goal they will be in a good position to make a playoff run in the near future, if the rookies play well right away they could do that this coming season.
Look for the Vikings to make some trades. If the player they covet is there at number 12 they will most likely stay put, despite their expressed desire to add a third round pick.
Minnesota has no chance of landing the quarterback they want, or any quarterback, with their current second round pick. So once the second round starts they will start contacting New England, Denver and Cincinnati in hopes of jumping up to grab their man.
This draft needs to be a winner for the Vikings to get back into playoff contention. They are not far from that level, just far enough to make this draft one of the biggest in team history.
Follow the slides as we go through some of the late round gems and learn more about what the team can get for their buck. Be sure to sound in if you know of other late round picks that fans should put on their homemade draft board.
Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Bowers is a very impressive athlete who could go first overall if it was not for injuries.
As it is he may go a lot higher than 12, but most scouts and analysts feel he has lost too much stock value. Getting him at 12 is a big time steal for Minnesota.
The Vikings will line him up next to their star linemen Kevin Williams and Jared Allen to create a fearsome group. If his knee holds up Bowers could become the best right side defensive end since Michael Strahan.
The Vikings could go with an offensive lineman here also. Popular ideology is to find a left tackle so Bryant McKinnie can go to the right side. But Frazier hasn’t sounded positive about this idea so I believe the pick will be defensive line. Too early for a quarterback outside of Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton.
Notable statistics from 2010: 15.5 sacks (led nation) and 24 tackles for loss.
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
“I really feel this is a place where I could thrive.” Ryan Mallett during his visit to Minnesota, April 10th.
Mallett will most likely have to be traded up for. The team really likes him. Besides scouting him at the Combine, attending his pro day and having him in for a private workout, the team also invited him for their annual pre-draft dinner for top prospects. for more on that click here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/658618-nfl-draft-2011-vikings-to-add-qbs-ryan-mallett-or-andy-dalton-in-early-rounds
The Vikings have hired longtime quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave to be their offensive coordinator. Musgrave prefers tall strong armed quarterbacks and the 6 foot 6 inch Mallett suits that perfectly.
While in Atlanta Musgrave was able to help another less than athletic quarterback named Matt Ryan develop his art into game winning magic.
The issues about drug use and mobility concerns are exactly what legendary quarterback Dan Marino faced out of college, the similarity between the two is uncanny and I expect Mallett will also put doubts to rest with great seasons.
Mallett’s cockiness should not be mistook as anything besides confidence.
Notable statistics from 2010: 3,869 passing yards and 32 touchdown passes.
Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee
The 6 foot 6 inch Stocker fits what new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is looking for in a tight end, which is a tall strong red zone target for his quarterback.
The Vikings have been linked to drafting a tight end since NFL Network analyst Steve Wyche said he knew for certainty that the team is planning to draft one this April.
Arkansas TE D.J. Williams has been tied to the Vikings but his short stature makes him unlikely since Musgrave is looking for a large target to be a safety net for his QB.
Stocker has all the size to be successful and will complement Visanthe Shiancoe in two tight end sets. Particularly when the team is down by the goal and needing to pass.
Notable statistics from 2010: 39 receptions and 417 yards.
Ahmad Black, S, Florida
This is one of my favorite players in the draft. I’ve mentioned numerous times how similar he is to Antoine Winfield and how well he could learn under Winfield while playing together.
What makes Black so special is that he is constantly finding where the ball is and he takes it. An excellent tackler with great speed, Black could play corner on nickle defense.
The knock on Black that has hurt his stock is that he can’t seem to get off blockers very well. Also his small stature and a miserable Combine performance have caused him to slip from a third round grade to fifth. The Vikings can make a huge steal here.
Notable statistics from 2010: 2 forced fumbles, five interceptions and 1 touchdown.
Lawrence Wilson, LB, Connecticut
Wilson is a name that most fans probably don’t know about. But the fact of the matter is Wilson is a playmaking machine and will be a perfect fit for the Vikings Tampa Two defense.
His range is good and he can cover distance. The Vikings will be parting ways with Ben Leber this offseason and want to get younger at linebacker.
Wilson will be a big asset for new defensive coordinator Fred Pagac. Pagac has shown that he likes to blitz more often than Frazier did as defensive coordinator, Wilson tallied up 4 sacks last season.
Notable statistics from 2010: 123 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception (returned 55 yards for touchdown).
Dwayne Harris, WR, East Carolina
Harris comes from a smaller school and when you come from a small school you don’t get picked high. It’s just awesome!
The Vikings will be able to replace Sidney Rice and the threat he was able to create downfield with a sixth round prospect.
Of course if Rice returns then the team can pair Harris with him and that would be even better. Harris is on the smaller side at 6 feet even. But his speed and sure hands make him a Steve Smith (Carolina version) type of receiver.
Notable statistics from 2010: 101 receptions, 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns.
2nd pick: (Compensatory)
Darius Morris, OT/OG, Temple
Frazier has only mentioned one area of the offensive line that he feels isn’t set and that is right guard.
Of course there are plenty of people who could argue with that. Point being, the Vikings know they must address the line at some point. Morris played tackle in college but is most likely better suited for a life at guard.
Stature: 6’4 and 318lbs.
Zane Taylor, C, Utah
The Vikings need to add depth and competition to challenge struggling starter John Sullivan. Taylor isn’t bigger than Sullivan but is definitely stronger, while at Utah he bench pressed 225lbs 41 times, a school record. He’s one of those overachiever types and his strength will help him against bigger defenders inside.
Notable statistic: Has started 38 games at center over the last three seasons.
2nd pick: (Compensatory)
Cedric Thornton, DT/DE, Southern Arkansas
Thornton is fast enough to play outside but will probably be used at defensive tackle to add depth. He can be relied upon for pass rushing downs and will be a strong body to have in goal line situations.
Stature: 6’3” and 310 lbs.