The Mall of America Field was full of Minnesota Vikings’ faithful gathering to see what the future held for their favorite National Football League team. Viking nation would not be disappointed. You can see the 6,000+ fans at Mall of America Field at The Minnesota Sports Report.
Heading into the draft the consensus among many sports media personalities was that the Vikings needed help in the wide receiver and defensive back positions.
Vikings cut their veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield in their bid to change his role on the team. Winfield has since signed in Seattle with the Seahawks and so the Vikings entered the draft needing to fill the gaping hole vacated by Winfield’s absence. The Seahawks also were the recipient of the trade that sent Vikings’ receiver Percey Harvin. Harvin, before a season ending injury in 2012, was in many experts’ discussions of being an MVP candidate.
The final area of concern, although not an immediate need, for the Vikings was an aging interior defensive line concern. The Williams Wall, an interior force for a number of seasons, lost half the team when Pat Williams retired. The other half, Kevin Williams, is going to be entering his 11th season in the NFL and will not be around forever.
The draft proved to be an opportunity for the Vikings to, in the first round, address all three needs.
The Vikings’ first pick of the draft, came at the 23rd spot, overall and the team selected Sharrif Floyd from Florida. Floyd was a top ten favorite in many mock draft boards and was not even considered by many to be on the Vikings’ radar but when he fell to the 23rd pick Floyd was an opportunity the Vikings’ could not pass up. Sharrif, a defensive tackle, will be able to be mentored by veteran Kevin Williams and play alongside Brian Robison and veteran leader Jared Allen. The hope is that he will fill the hole in the Williams Wall and become the future face of the Purple People Eaters.
With their next pick in the draft the Vikings’ chose Xavier Rhodes, a cornerback who was highly ranked by many mock drafts. Rhodes will have very big shoes to fill, the shoes of fan favorite Antoine Winfield. The Vikings hope that he will be able to grow into his shoes but look for Minnesota’s young secondary to go through some growing pains this year.
The Vikings then did something that was completely unexpected by trading up to select the 29th overall pick, giving up four picks to the New England Patriots, to select Cordarrelle Patterson to fill three needs. Patterson, a wide receiver was one of the receivers that Vikings’ pontificators were high on leading into the draft but were not sure he would make it all the way through the previous 28 picks.
First, third year quarterback Christian Ponder needs a group of receivers around him that can get open. Other than Percey Harvin the Vikings have had mediocre, at best, wide receivers. It is hoped that a deep threat will lift some of the load off of MVP running back Adrian Peterson by spreading out the defense.
In review the Vikings, having selected an impressive three picks in the first round, have set the bar for the future with this draft. In addition general manager Rick Spielman has tied his future to the drafts of the last three years with some bold moves, up and down the draft, and filling this team up with a cast of young, highly talented, individuals that will have to come together as the team, The Minnesota Vikings. It will be up to head coach Leslie Frazier and the rest of the coaching staff, not to mention the buy-in of the young players, to see if this bold vision can carry the Vikings to a deep playoff run and hopefully a Superbowl.