1st Round (#4) OT Matt Kalil, USC
1st Round (#29) FS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
3rd Round (#66) CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida
4th Round (#118) WR Jarius Wright, Arkansas
4th Round (#128) FB Rhett Ellison, USC
4th Round (#134) WR Greg Childs, Arkansas
5th Round (#139) CB Robert Blanton, Notre Dame
6th Round (#175) K Blair Walsh, Georgia
7th Round (#210) ILB Audie Cole, North Carolina State
7th Round (#219) DE Trevor Guyton, Cal
Analysis of Notable Selections:
Matt Kalil: The selection of Kalil by Minnesota was one of the draft’s easiest decisions. The Vikings did not spend a high 1st round pick on Christian Ponder to have their young quarterback take a beating. Kalil has the athleticism, technique and work ethic to develop into an outstanding left tackle. The Vikes took advantage of Cleveland’s desire to not potentially lose Trent Richardson by trading down one spot and receiving a 4th, 5th and 7th round picks from the Browns. The Vikings have their left tackle and some extra selections.
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Harrison Smith: The former Notre Dame safety was widely regarded as the second best safety in the draft. However, was Smith really worth a late 1st round selection? Smith is a bit stiff in the hips and may not be able to defend the pass as well as many expect. He was not a game-changer at Notre Dame. Minnesota traded up (2nd and a 4th for the Ravens’ 1st rounder) with Baltimore to pick Smith. Minnesota needed help in the secondary, but also at wide receiver. In addition, Matt Kalil helps the offensive line, but he does not complete it. There were numerous prospects (Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffery, Rueben Randle, Cordy Glenn and Amini Silatolu) with more upside than Harrison Smith that the Vikings passed on.
Josh Robinson: The Vikings surrendered 34 touchdown passes last season and need an overhaul in the secondary. Robinson made sense in the 3rd round for Minnesota. He has the raw athleticism to develop into a good cornerback, but his technique and professionalism need work.knowproz.com/wp-adminhttps://knowproz.com/
Jarius Wright: The Vikings have Percy Harvin at wide receiver and not much else. Wright has a small frame, but is very quick and fast. He brings a playmaking element to Minnesota’s passing attack. Wright is a versatile receiver who should be able to play outside or in the slot. He was
Greg Childs: The former Razorback was a shell of himself during his senior season due to major knee injury sustained during his junior year. Childs ruptured his patella tendon in his right knee. His ability to regain his form and stay healthy are a major concern. The Vikings need wide receiver help in a big way, but passed on Juron Criner for Childs. They are both good-sized possession receivers, but Criner is healthy. Childs ran well at his pro day and that likely convinced Minnesota to take a chance on him. He still has much to prove in terms of handling contact. Criner made more sense because he does not have Child’s injury history and is a major threat in the red zone.
Audie Cole: The selection of Cole provides Minnesota with depth at linebacker and someone who can contribute on special teams. Cole was productive at North Carolina State at outside and inside linebacker. He looked stiff in combine drills and this really hurt his draft stock. However, Cole has excellent size (6′ 4″ and 250 lbs) and good instincts. The game is not played in shorts and a T-shirt. Cole is a better football player than athlete and represented terrific value late in the draft.
2012 NFL Draft Grade: B
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Bottom Line: Minnesota found a critical piece with the selection of Matt Kalil as their future left tackle. The rest of their draft was just decent. Harrison Smith may not defend the pass well enough to be worth a late 1st round investment. The offensive line needs more help and so does the secondary. The wide receiver position also has a long way to go. Jarius Wright can help, but Greg Childs’ durability is a major question mark. The Vikings are in a major rebuilding mode. They had a solid draft, but not an exceptional one.