2013 NFL Offseason: Minnesota Vikings
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Minnesota Vikings (Last Year: 10-6)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: A-
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: It's all about replacing recently departed players for the Vikings. Percy Harvin was traded, so a receiver is needed despite the signing of Greg Jennings. Antoine Winfield was released on March 12, so a replacement has to be found. Pat Williams hasn't been around since 2010, but Minnesota still hasn't found his replacement. Jasper Brinkley leaving for Arizona has created an even larger hole at middle linebacker, but this was an area that had to be addressed when he was on the roster.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: I don't think the Vikings ever imagined that Sharrif Floyd would be available to them at No. 23. Expected by many to go third overall, Floyd's draft-day tumble was inexplicable. Minnesota now has the potential to be as strong in the interior as it was in the Williams Wall days.
The Vikings' other two first-rounders were also solid. Xavier Rhodes fills a need at corner, while Cordarrelle Patterson has tons of upside. Patterson could very easily be deemed a bust in the future - and he'll never reach his full statistical potential because of Christian Ponder's limitations - but he's worth the risk. I'm normally not crazy about teams moving up, but Minnesota could afford it because it had tons of other picks.
Speaking of the other selections, I was a huge fan of what the Vikings did on the third day, save for their pick of punter Jeff Locke. The best choice was Michael Mauti. He was regarded as a second- or a third-round prospect prior to tearing his ACL. If he can recover, he could definitely be in the starting lineup come 2014.
Minnesota did a very good job this weekend. It fill needs with quality talents and only really reached for one player.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
23. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: A+ Grade
Wow, I forgot Sharrif Floyd was available. I feel like some of the other teams like the Bears, Giants and Cowboys did as well. This is the best pick in the 2013 NFL Draft thus far. Floyd is a stud interior pass-rusher who could have easily gone No. 3 to the Raiders. But as we see every year, great prospects fall because dumb teams are picking at the top of the draft.
Follow @walterfootball for updates.
25. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: B Grade
Xavier Rhodes was mocked as early as No. 12 throughout this process, so he definitely provides good value at No. 25. However, the Vikings run the type of defense that allows teams to pass on corners in the first round. Minnesota probably should have filled other needs like receiver. That said, this is still a solid selection because Rhodes could be considered the best player available.
29. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: B- Grade
The 29th and 52nd choices are swapped between Minnesota and New England, so the Vikings are essentially giving up third- and fourth-rounders for this choice. They better make it count, so why not go for the home run with Cordarrelle Patterson? Minnesota desperately needed receiving help after losing Percy Harvin. Patterson is raw - which is why he dropped to No. 29 - but he has so much potential. The problem is that the Vikings don't have a quarterback to get him the football.
120. Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State: B Grade
The Vikings haven't picked in nearly 100 selections, but they continue to draft well. Gerald Hodges fits the range and definitely fills a need, as Minnesota's linebacking corps needs major retooling.
155. Jeff Locke, P, UCLA: D Grade
I'm not a fan of drafting a punter in the first five rounds, especially when a punter isn't needed. Maybe the Vikings have grown tired of Chris Kluwe's Twitter antics, but it's still not a reason to take a punter at this point. It's like drafting a kicker in the 11th round of your fantasy league.
196. Jeff Baca, G, UCLA: B Grade
Pegged as a sixth-round prospect, Jeff Baca should compete for a starting guard job eventually. The position is very weak for Minnesota, so Baca could be an upgrade.
213. Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State: A Grade
Maybe I'm biased as a Penn State alumnus, but I love Michael Mauti. He's an instinctive linebacker with tremendous leadership ability; he kept the team together in the wake of the sex scandal. He would have been a second-day pick had he not torn his ACL. It wouldn't surprise me if Mauti eventually emerged as the starter.
214. Travis Bond, G, North Carolina: B Grade
Another guard? Well, Minnesota needed two of them. Travis Bond makes sense in the seventh round.
229. Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida State: A Grade
Kevin Williams will likely be gone next year, so another defensive tackle makes sense. Everett Dawkins was considered a mid-round prospect, so he's a bit of a steal here.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
Adrian Peterson took the Vikings on a magical ride in 2012, reaching the playoffs and falling just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season record. Unfortunately, it quickly came to an end when Christian Ponder was ruled out of the wild-card postseason matchup at Green Bay. As great as Peterson is, the Vikings' Super Bowl hopes depend on Ponder because this is a quarterback-driven league.
- Two Wide Receivers: Percy Harvin was traded to the Seahawks, so two of these will have to be obtained. Christian Ponder needs someone to throw to. He won't ever develop as well as Minnesota would like if he has to keep airing it out to bums like Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins. The front office should have plenty of receivers to choose from at Nos. 23 and 25 overall. Signed Greg Jennings; re-signed Jerome Simpson
- Two Linebackers: Jasper Brinkley is one of the worst starting middle linebackers in football. He's a free agent anyway, as is Erin Henderson, who is just an average starter. Re-signed Erin Henderson
- Defensive Tackle: Letroy Guion did not get the job done next to Kevin Williams. The Vikings could go after a nose tackle early in the 2013 NFL Draft. Johnathan Jenkins would make sense with the 23rd pick.
- Cornerback: Antoine Winfield has been released. Some corner depth will have to be added. The Vikings, who considered Morris Claiborne at No. 3 overall last April, will have to find a new corner.
- Two Guards: It's amazing that Adrian Peterson nearly broke Eric Dickerson's record running behind two pedestrian guards. Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco can both be upgraded. Signed Seth Olsen
- Safety: Harrison Smith deserves Rookie of the Year consideration, but he's the only talented safety on Minnesota's roster.
- Right Tackle: Phil Loadholt's contract is up. He's a forceful right tackle who should be retained. Re-signed Phil Loadholt
- Quarterback: The Vikings need to bring in someone to at least challenge Ponder. Joe Webb has no future as an NFL signal-caller. Signed Matt Cassel
- Fullback: Jerome Felton is one of the top fullbacks in the NFL. He must be re-signed. Re-signed Jerome Felton
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Greg Jennings, WR, Packers. Age: 29.
Signed with Vikings
Greg Jennings is a talented receiver, but he may be overvalued because he's always worked with either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers. Plus, he tends to get banged up quite frequently.
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs. Age: 31.
Signed with Vikings
Matt Cassel has proven that he can take a team to the playoffs if he has terrific coaching and great personnel around him. Everything has to be perfect. But even then, he can't advance in the postseason because of his physical limitations. All Cassel should have been this whole time is a top-notch backup.
- Seth Olsen (RFA), G, Colts. Age: 27. -- Signed with Vikings
Minnesota Vikings Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Jerome Felton, FB, Vikings. Age: 27.
Arguably the top fullback in all of football, Jerome Felton paved the way for Adrian Peterson's near-record-breaking season.
Phil Loadholt, OT, Vikings. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Vikings
Phil Loadholt was one of the most penalized linemen in the NFL this past season (11 penalties), but he made up for it with his powerful run-blocking and sound pass protection.
Antoine Winfield, CB, Vikings. Age: 36.
Signed with Seahawks (1 year)
Antoine Winfield has enjoyed a great career, but it's quickly coming to an end. Turning 36 in June, Winfield was demoted out of full-time duties at the end of this past season even though he had been playing well. Winfield may still have one strong year left in the tank, but as we saw in the AFC divisional round with Champ Bailey, old corners could fall off without any warning.
Chris Kluwe, P, Vikings. Age: 31.
Signed with Raiders (1 year)
Some will say that Chris Kluwe was released because he was just 17th in net punting last year, but the reality is that his controversial tweets were viewed as a distraction.
Erin Henderson, OLB, Vikings. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Vikings (2 years)
A quality run-defender, Erin Henderson should be limited to two downs because he can be exposed in coverage.
- Jamarca Sanford, S, Vikings. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Vikings (2 years)
- Jasper Brinkley, ILB, Vikings. Age: 28. -- Signed with Cardinals (2 years)
- Jerome Simpson, WR, Vikings. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Vikings (1 year)
- Geoff Schwartz, G/OT, Vikings. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chiefs
- A.J. Jefferson (RFA), CB, Vikings. Age: 25. -- Tendered by Vikings (original)
- Michael Jenkins, WR, Vikings. Age: 31. -- Signed with Patriots
- Devin Aromashodu, WR, Vikings. Age: 29.
- Marvin Mitchell, ILB, Vikings. Age: 28.
- Joe Berger, C, Vikings. Age: 31. -- Re-signed with Vikings (1 year)
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 20
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 15
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 3
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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