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1. (12) QB Christian Ponder, Florida State: I’m not a fan of this pick at this spot, but I understand why they did it. They needed to find a franchise quarterback, but I think that they majorly reached for Ponder here. I just hope that the Vikings don’t start him before he is ready, as that could really screw up his development.
2. (43) TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame: Rudolph is an excellent pick here, and he has very good value. I don’t think that this position was the biggest need for the Vikings, but they added a new dimension to their offense.
4. (106) DT Christian Ballard, Iowa: I loved this pick for the Vikings. I had rated Ballard very highly, and I think he’s a perfect fit for the Vikings defense. He should be a nice replacement for Pat Williams at defensive tackle.
5. (139) CB Brandon Burton, Utah: This is another excellent value pick for the Vikings, and it gives them good depth at cornerback. Burton was rated as a late second-rounder by me, and he should be a good addition to the Vikings’ defense.
6. (168) OT Demarcus Love, Arkansas: This is three picks in a row where the Vikings have received excellent value. Love could challenge for a starting offensive guard spot right away in 2011.
6. (170) CB Mistral Raymond, South Florida: This gives the Vikings even more depth in the secondary, but I don’t see Raymond as the best corner available here.
6. (172) C Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock: This is a solid pick, as Fusco can develop into a solid starting center for the Vikings in a few seasons.
6. (200) OLB Ross Homan, Ohio State: Homan is a good player who will be a solid backup next season. He could eventually become a starter.
7. (215) DE D’Aundre Reed, Arizona: I can’t believe that they waited this long to take a defensive end. Reed was stuck behind Brooks Reed and Rick Elmore in college, so he doesn’t have a lot of experience.
7. (236) WR Stephen Burton, West Texas A&M: This is another position that I thought they’d address before now. Burton will struggle to make the roster.
Final Grade: B
The Vikings shocked a lot of people when they selected Christian Ponder so early in the first round. He becomes their franchise quarterback who may get thrown into the fire too early next season. I loved the next four picks the Vikings made, as they got excellent value in Rudolph, Ballard, Burton, and Love. All three of them could be starters in the future. The rest of their draft picks were uneventful, but they could add some depth to multiple positions.