Whew, another draft is in the books! What a wild and long three days it was. Next up for the 10 draftees by the Minnesota Vikings is rookie mini-camp this coming weekend. Before they get on the field, let’s look back on who the Vikings selected:
1st Round, Pick 4 — LT Matt Kalil (USC)
Overview: Started his final 26 games at left tackle. As a starter, he registered 206 knockdowns and 20 TD-resulting blocks. He did not allow any quarterback sacks or pressures on 937 pass plays.
What does it mean for the Vikings: Likely to be the Vikings’ LT for the next decade. It allows the Vikings to better their offensive line by moving Charlie Johnson to LG and have Joe Berger, Chris DeGeare, Brandon Fusco and Geoff Schwartz compete for time at RG.
Any concerns entering the NFL: “Not so much of a concern, but I’m more anxious for the opportunity to compete at the highest level which is the NFL. I’m excited to go against the best defensive end in the NFL day in and day out in Jared Allen. I think he is definitely going to make me a better player and to go against a lot of other good defensive ends in the NFL. I think it’s more excitement for the challenge to really test my skills.”
Fun fact: He earned the nickname “The Hammer” at USC following his performance in blocking 2 field goals in 2 games (both blocks saved the Trogan wins)
Round 1, Pick 29 — S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame)
Overview: Smith started 47-of-51 games at ND. He totaled 309 tackles (187 solo), including 3.5 sacks (-26 yards), 18.5 stops for a loss of 61 yards and 3 QB pressures. He tallied 7 interceptions for a return of 54 yards and deflected 28 passed.
What does it mean for the Vikings: A 2-year captain at Notre Dame known for his intelligence, leadership, consistency and tackling ability. Smith will start from Day 1 at safety, therefore, immediately helping with the Vikings weak secondary.
Why Smith thinks he will be great: “I think being a versatile guy. Especially now with all of these tight ends, so athletic, so big. You know they can do it all. Can you come down and cover those guys and make them less of a threat? And then just the simple things, like a good open field tackle. Do you fit within the defense? Do you do your job every play and be one-eleventh of your defense? Just the little things, I think, make great players. Instead of trying to focus on these outstanding plays that might happen every now and then, but then you give up a homerun every other snap. I think just doing my job every play and making the plays that I get the opportunity to make.”
Fun fact: Smith was a dual-threat in high school. During his senior season, he rushed for 1,340 yards with 19 touchdowns, in addition to to 23 catches for 453 yards and 6 touchdowns. Heading into college scouts thought Smith could succeed on offense or defense at the next level.
Round 3, Pick 66 — CB Josh Robinson (Central Florida)
Overview: Started 35-of-38 games at UCF, recording 176 tackles (138 solo) with 1.5 stops for loss. He deflected 36 passes and intercepted 10 others. He totaled 335 yards on 27 punt returns (13.15 avg.) and 94 yards on 4 kickoff returns.
What it means for the Vikings: The fastest player at the Combine, Robinson will compete for time at both CB and punt returner in his rookie season. Goal is for him to develop and to hopefully become a starter at CB.
What are Robinson’s strengths: “I can react quickly. I have a quick reaction, and of course everyone has speed at the next level so I never really say that as a strength, but I always tell everybody that I’m versatile. I can do whatever you want me to do, whether it’s be a safety, or guard the flat, whether it be man, zone, anything. That’s something that I’ve done at UCF, the ability to play all the special teams, that’s just something that has helped me throughout my career.”
Fun fact: At UCF, Robinson limited now-Falcons WR AJ Green to 77 receiving yards during his team’s victory in 2010 Liberty Bowl.
Round 4, Pick 118 — WR Jarius Wright (Arkansas)
Overview: Started 44-of-50 games. He totaled 168 catches for 2,934 yards (17.46 ypc) and 24 touchdowns. He also gained 47 yards on 8 punt returns (5.88 ypc) and 19 yards on 2 carries.
What it means for the Vikings: Wright provides depth behind Percy Harvin at slot receiver.
Slot or outside: “I’m pretty comfortable playing either or. Being at Arkansas I had the chance to move around and play a lot of different positions, so I’m pretty comfortable playing inside or outside.”
Fun fact: Joins fellow Razorback Greg Childs as a Vikings draftee — Wright and Childs have played with each other since elementary school.
Round 4, Pick 128 — TE Rhett Ellison (USC)
Overview: Rhett was used in a tight end/full back role at USC, gaining a starting position his junior year. He totaled 54 catches for 471 yards and 6 touchdowns.
What it means for the Vikings: Seems to be a player who can fulfill the role of blocking TE and FB, which was lost after Jim Kleinsasser retirement.
What was his role at USC: “I would do whatever they needed me to do. A lot of movement and motion stuff for defensive recognition. I did a lot of pass protection to protect Barkley. A lot of outlet passes. They liked me at the point of attack in run blocking, so they kind of just used me wherever they could.”
Fun fact: Whether he was being modest or not , he didn’t believe he was going to get drafted. His dad told him to prepare for another career. He had intended to finish his communications management master degree.
Round 4, Pick 134 — WR Greg Childs (Arkansas)
Overview: He started 19-of-44 games, totaling 133 receptions for 2,066 yards and a total of 15 touchdowns.
What it means for the Vikings: Childs has prototypical size for an outside WR at 6-3, 219 pounds, and he also has great speed and ball skills IF he is healthy.
Strengths: “Overpowering the defender. Making plays on the ball, catching the ball at its highest point. Basically put, I’m just a playmaker.”
Fun fact: During his junior season, he was regarded as a 1st round pick before tearing his patella tendon and having a rough senior year.
Round 5, Pick 139 — CB Robert Blanton Jr. (Notre Dame)
Overview: Started 26-of-50 games at ND. Recorded 195 tackles (125 solo) with 2.5 sacks for a loss of 2o yards and 20.5 stops for a loss of 66 yards. He deflected 16 passes and intercepted 8 other passe for a return of 128 yards and 1 touchdown.
What it means for the Vikings: Blanton will likely switch to a safety position and may earn time beside former-Irish teammate Smith on the field. Good position flexibility here for Blanton, plus he can be a special teams contributor right away as well.
Where does he feel more comfortable on the field: safety or corner back: “I am comfortable out on the field and being a player. At the end of the day there is no real big difference between safety and corner. You still have to cover a guy and you still have to tackle when it comes time to tackle. You have to make plays on the ball in the air and you have to be a football player. You’ve got to be great to play either one”
Fun fact: According to Scout.com, professional scouts compare his style of play to now-teammate Antoine Winfield. He is described to have a savvy, yet aggressive demeanor on the field.
Round 6, Pick 175 — K Blair Walsh (Georgia)
Overview: Made 70-of-103 FGs (73.79%) and 184-of185 extra points for a tally of 412 points. Made 10-of-17 from FGs of 50+ yards.
What it means for the Vikings: Provides competition for Ryan Longwell, who saw a drop off in production last season.
Explanation for down senior year: “Yes, my senior year didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I ended up missing early on in the season, I missed a couple kicks and I started pressing a little bit. I’m my own worst critic. I just want to be there for the team, and help the team out. I feel like I got it back on track in the middle, end of the season. I learned from it, and I think I’m a better man and kicker for it. ”
Fun fact: Named to Georgia Bulldogs All-Decade team
Round 7, Pick 210 — LB Audie Cole (NC State)
Overview: Started 38-of-51 games at NC State. Finished with a career total of 276 tackles (147 solo). He recorded 14 sacks for -108 yards. He produced 32 tackles for a loss of 149 yards. Recorded 7 more QB pressures, 8 pass deflections, 1 interception, and 3 fumble recoveries.
What it means for the Vikings: Cole adds competition to his position and has the ability to play any of the three LB spots in the Vikings defense.
Inside vs. Outside LB: “You know I don’t know. I’ve been told by people that I’ll play outside and that I’ll never play inside again, and I’ve been told by people that I’m an inside linebacker. Honestly I don’t know. It’s up to the coaches in Minnesota now for what I will be doing. What I do know is that I’m going to have to work my tail off on special teams every day, and do whatever I can do to help them out.”
Fun fact: Former Gold Gloves boxer
Round 7, Pick 219 — DE Trevor Guyton (California)
Overview: Played in 42 games at Cal, including 17 starting the final 17 of his career. Recorded 91 tackles (34 solo), including 11 sacks for -75 yards, 24.5 stops for a loss of 104 yards, and 3 QB pressures. He forced 3 fumbles and recovered 2 fumbles, including 1 for a touchdown.
What it means for the Vikings: Guyton can play DE or DT, will add competition to the defensive line, and could contribute as a special teams player as well
Comfort position: “I feel comfortable playing everywhere. I played everywhere at Cal. That’s one of the best things I bring to the table is my versatility. The Vikings like what I can do. I’ll wait and see what position they want me at. I’m just going to go up there and work hard and show why I deserve to be there.”
Fun fact: Played behind Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu at Cal, therefore, not getting as much time on the field as he wanted.