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With their final selection in the 2011 National Football League Draft, the Minnesota Vikings finally took a wide receiver, but they took one that most certainly fits the definition of a project.
With the 236th pick in the draft, the Vikings selected wide receiver Stephen Burton out of West Texas A&M University.
Burton has decent size for a receiver, being 6'1.5" and weighing around 220 pounds. As a senior, he caught 70 passes for 1,021 yards and 11 touchdowns, which is fairly impressive at any level. He's more of an underneath/possession receiver, which you can never have too many of. The knock on him is that he isn't a great route runner and isn't known for his blocking, either. He has a shot to make the Vikings' roster, but in all likelihood it's a long shot.
And, with that, the Minnesota Vikings are done for the 2011 National Football League Draft. I would like to give a big thank you to all of you folks that have followed our coverage over the past three days, and we will continue to bring you perspective on the Minnesota Vikings' draft class of 2011.
The 2011 NFL Draft has come to an end from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. There’s bound to be mixed reactions to the weekend’s proceedings for the Minnesota Vikings. We’ll get to a comprehensive recap of the Vikings’ Draft a bit later, but let’s first take a look at the team’s first of two picks in the seventh and final round — D’Aundre Reed, a defensive end from the University of Arizona.
Taken with the 215th overall pick, Reed stands at at 6’4 and just over 260 pounds — classic ‘tweener’ size for prospects trying to make the transition to the bigger and faster NFL game. He’s not quite big or strong enough to be a starter at defensive line, and he’s not quite fast or athletic enough to play as a pass-rushing outside linebacker.
Because Minnesota is still running a 4-3 base defense, Reed will be a reserve defensive lineman if he were to make it through camp and earn a helmet in ‘11. He does provide some upside as a run stopping gap clogger. Having been dominant against the run for the better part of the previous decade, the Vikings will have to re-tool their roster in the trenches as the Vikings’ triumvirate of Kevin Williams, Pat Williams and Jared Allen aren’t getting any younger. Of course, the Vikings’ third round selection, Christian Ballard, was drafted to bolster the team’s defensive line. Consequently, Reed will likely find his way to the practice squad to undergo a rigorous year of strength and conditioning work before having much of a shot at earning a helmet even in a reserve capacity on the Vikings’ defense.
For more reaction to the Vikings’ pick, as well as the rest of the team’s haul in this year’s Draft, be sure to head on over to Daily Norseman for complete coverage, analysis, and fan discussion.
Homan is one of those "constant motor" players that coaches love so much and usually ends up playing a big role on special teams. He stands at about 6'1" and weighs in at around 240 pounds, and led all linebackers at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine with 33 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. He was an all-Big Ten first-team selection, and was also the guy that made the defensive calls for the Ohio State defense.
Sounds pretty good to me.
I'm not totally sure where Homan will fit into the Vikings' defense. . .whether he'll play inside or outside. . .but Homan just strikes me as one of those guys that football coaches tend to find room on their football team for. If you're a linebacker on the Vikings' roster right now, don't underestimate this guy's ability to possibly take your job.
With the 172nd overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings looked again to the offensive line, as they tabbed Slippery Rock center Brandon Fusco as their selection, presumably to provide competition for incumbent center John Sullivan.
Fusco is bigger for a center, standing at 6'4" and weighing in at around 305 pounds. He was one of three Division II players to get invited to the Senior Bowl, and in fact was the first football player in the history of Slippery Rock University to garner an invitation to both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. He was also the recipient of the 2010 Gene Upshaw award for being the best lineman in Division II football this past season.
Fusco was graded on many boards as one of the top five centers available in this year's draft, and the Vikings served themselves well, in this writer's opinion, to get him at this point in the draft.
Now, I can take a little while to let my keyboard cool off, as the Vikings aren't scheduled to select again until their sixth-round compensatory selection at #200 overall.
Continuing along in the 2011 National Football League Draft, the Vikings have used their second of four sixth-round picks, the 170th selection overall, to tab safety Mistral Raymond from the University of South Florida.
Raymond is a taller safety, measuring in at 6'2" and weighing in at around 190 pounds. The scouting report on him says that he's aggressive on the field, but isn't quite as polished or fluid as you might like. Of course, those are things that can be worked on at the NFL level, it didn't stop him from being a second-team all-Big East selection as a senior.
Raymond met with tragedy as a youngster, as this story details. Raymond's cousin had killed someone in self-defense, and the friends of that victim said they were going to get revenge. They did so by firebombing Raymond's childhood home, and shooting at the people that were inside as they tried to escape, which included Raymond's mother, his older sister, and his younger sister (who was pregnant at the time). His older sister was killed, having been shot four times, and his mother died six months afterwards from a lung issue that may or may not have been a result of the fire.
He seems to have done an outstanding job of overcoming this tragedy thus far, and hopefully he can continue doing so as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
Love, a big guy at 6'4.5" and 315 pounds, has lined up at both tackle positions for the Razorbacks, as well as at guard. He was an All-Conference performer in the Southeastern Conference in 2010, and helped clear the way for the Ryan Mallett-led Arkansas offense that took them to the Sugar Bowl this past season.
Love projects as a guard at the National Football League level, and could have a shot at contributing right away, as incumbent Anthony Herrera had a rough 2010 season before tearing his ACL towards the end of the season. He will likely have to compete with 2009 sixth-round selection Chris DeGeare, but Love's versatility might be a benefit to him in any sort of competition for roster space.
The Vikings have three more sixth round picks as well, so we will have more on them as those picks come in.
The Minnesota Vikings now have four picks in the sixth round of the 2011 National Football League Draft.
After selecting Utah CB Brandon Burton at #139, the Vikings traded the 150th overall selection to the Cleveland Browns for a pair of sixth-round selections, picks #168 and #170 overall.
That means that the Vikings now have four sixth-round selections in this 2011 NFL Draft. They have #168 and #170 in the trade just completed with Cleveland, #172 as their own selection, and #200 as a compensatory selection.
The Browns used the 150th overall pick to select Pittsburgh offensive lineman Jason Pinkston.
It looks like the Vikings see some values that will potentially fall into the sixth round, and in their efforts to get younger and try to fill some holes, they've decided to accumulate picks so they can grab those players later on.
Whoever it is that they select, we'll have news about it both here and at The Daily Norseman. Check both sites for the latest news on the Minnesota Vikings' 2011 NFL Draft.
The Vikings have addressed their need in the secondary with the first of their two fifth-round selections in the 2011 National Football League Draft.
Minnesota has tabbed Brandon Burton, a 6', 190-pound cornerback out of the University of Utah, to be their selection with the 139th overall pick of the league's annual selection meeting.
This past season, Burton had two interceptions and seven passes defended, as opposing teams spent a lot of time throwing away from him due to his coverage abilities. The scouting reports on Burton say that he's a solid tackler and an outstanding athlete. He also has some potential on special teams, as he had this blocked field goal to help the Utes knock off their rivals from BYU in the game that has been dubbed the "Holy War."
Brandon is regarded as someone that has somewhat raw coverage skills, but it looks like he's got a world of potential, and was a third-round selection on many boards.
Yes, another good pick for the Minnesota Vikings. . .they're having a pretty fine draft so far, in this writer's opinion.
Here's what Dan Kadar has to say about the selection:
Some though Iowa defensive lineman Christian Ballard was going to be picked in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
For the Minnesota Vikings to get him in the fourth round defines a steal. The Vikings needed a defensive tackle to replace either Pat or Kevin Williams. While Ballard isn't quite as big as either, he projects similarly to Kevin Williams.
They have a full scouting report on Ballard right here as well.
The more I read about the Ballard selection, the more I like it, to be honest. It sounds like he can play either inside or outside (even though the Vikings have told him he'll primarily be an inside player), and sounds like he's the kind of guy that Vikings' defensive line coach Karl Dunbar has a tendency to get the best out of. Getting a borderline first round pick in the fourth round is an outstanding get for the Vikings.
It's nice when people are complimentary of you when you're selected in the National Football League draft. It's even nicer when you're complimented by the defensive coordinator of the team that just selected you.
Vikings' defensive coordinator Fred Pagac seems to be very happy with the Vikings' selection of Iowa's Christian Ballard in the fourth round of this year's National Football League draft, according to a statement he gave to the Vikings' official website.
“He’s a total player,” Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said when I asked what he liked about Ballard in evaluating the University of Iowa product. “He comes from a program that plays good defense and produces a lot of NFL players and we’re excited about getting him.”
On a conference call, Ballard has said that the Vikings have told him that he will most likely be playing on the interior of the Vikings' defensive line, and that he's bulked up to between 290 and 295 pounds after weighing in at 285 at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Ballard, a converted tight end, moved to defense as a freshman for the Hawkeyes, and was an Honorable Mention for the All-Big Ten team in 2010. He stands at 6'4" and weighs in at around 285 pounds. At the combine, he ran a 4.70 40-yard dash, which is awfully impressive for a guy that size.
Ballard has a chance to make an immediate impact for the Vikings, as it is highly unlikely that Pat Williams will not be back and Kevin Williams will almost certainly be suspended for the first four games of the 2011 NFL season now that there are no more legal remedies for him in the StarCaps case.
Ballard was also NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock's best player available going into the draft's third day. Mayock said that Ballard is a second-round talent that slid into Round Four because of an undisclosed off-field issue.
Seems like another solid pick for the Minnesota Vikings to me.
The Minnesota Vikings have had a pretty productive 2011 NFL Draft thus far, in this writer's opinion. The Christian Ponder pick wasn't terribly popular with "experts," but I still feel it was a good pick, and a necessary one from the Vikings' perspective. They then got the consensus best tight end in this year's draft with the selection of Kyle Rudolph.
The Vikings have seven picks remaining. . .one selection in the fourth round, and two selections in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds. . .and they still have some needs that have to be addressed.
The Vikings have a couple of areas of need on defense, specifically in the secondary, and even more specifically at the safety position. Fortunately, there is still a lot of value out there at the safety spot this late in the draft, and the Vikings might feel compelled to use their fourth-round selection on a player like Florida's Ahmad Black (who is a great playmaker but is also undersized), Clemson's Deandre McDaniel, or Iowa's Tyler Sash.
They could also look at some outside linebacker help in the event that Ben Leber leaves in free agency and they need some depth behind guys like Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson opposite Chad Greenway. North Carolina's Quan Sturdivant and Oregon's Casey Matthews might be guys to keep an eye on there.
If the Vikings want to continue to look to the offensive side of the football, the interior of the offensive line could use some help. The most intriguing name to fit that bill would be Texas Christian's Marcus Cannon. Cannon is huge, tipping the scales at over 350 pounds, but was diagnosed just before the draft with lymphoma. I would still like to see the Vikings roll the dice on the big guy, as he reminds me a lot of former Viking . Georgia's Clint Bolling has some potential at that spot as well.
There are even some decent wide receivers left if the Vikings want to go that route. Names still on that list include Abilene Christian speedster Edmond Gates. . .great last name, by the way. . .Indiana's Tandon Doss, and Hawai'i's Greg Salas.
The action will resume again from Radio City Music Hall in approximately half an hour, so the wait to see how the Vikings conclude their 2011 NFL Draft is getting shorter.
The Minnesota Vikings had nine picks in the 2011 NFL Draft, but have only gone to the podium two times thus far, selecting Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder in Round One, and Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph in Round Two.
That means that they have seven selections remaining for the draft's final four rounds, barring any trade movement by the Vikings through the course of the day. Here are the Vikings remaining selections at this point in time.
Round 4, Pick 9 (#106 overall)
Round 5, Pick 8 (#139 overall)
Round 5, Pick 19 (#150 overall; acquired from New York Giants in Sage Rosenfels/Darius Reynaud trade)
Round 6, Pick 7 (#172 overall)
Round 6, Pick 35 (#200 overall; compensatory selection, can not be traded)
Round 7, Pick 12 (#215 overall)
Round 7, Pick 33 (#236 overall; compensatory selection, can not be traded)
The Vikings still have some pretty significant needs, and we will be updating you from start to finish today on everything that happens.
As it stands now, the final day of the 2011 NFL Draft starts in about eight hours. . .we'll see you then!
The New England Patriots ended the free fall of quarterback Ryan Mallett, who was one of the most polarizing figures in this year's National Football League draft. Some of the experts thought that the big man from Arkansas was the best pure passer in the Draft this year, while others wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot pole due to alleged off-field problems.
Well, Mallett now finds himself in a place with a quarterback and a coach that are pretty well-established. That team is the New England Patriots.
Yep, the Patriots. . .the team that has a fellow named Tom Brady with three Super Bowl rings calling the signals, and Bill Belichick as the head coach. If there's a better situation for a quarterback that could potentially present off-field issues than the Patriots, it would be hard to name it. The Patriots have been well-known for their ability to take troubled players and make them conform to the "Patriot way."
Speaking of Moss, the pick that the Patriots used to select Mallett was the 74th overall selection, a pick that came in the third round.
Yes, that was the pick that the Vikings sent to the Patriots in October in the ill-fated deal for Moss.
Good thing the Vikings got their quarterback of the future well before that, isn't it?
The Minnesota Vikings made a somewhat surprising pick with the 43rd selection in the 2011 National Football League Draft on Friday evening. The Vikings, rather than looking towards the defensive line or the secondary as many expected, instead attempted to bolster their offense, tabbing Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph as their selection.
Rudolph is an outstanding physical specimen, standing 6'6" and weighing in at around 265 pounds. He and Visanthe Shiancoe will make an interesting tight end tandem for the Vikings, as they both have the ability to move out wide if necessary and create match-up problems for opponents.
Since the Vikings will, in all likelihood, have a rookie starting at quarterback in 2011, having a couple of "safety blankets" like Rudolph and Shiancoe will be a good way to help the youngster along and allow him to get comfortable in Bill Musgrave's new offense. . .particularly if there is no Sidney Rice on the outside to get the ball to.
So, unless something changes, the Minnesota Vikings don't have any more selection until pick 106 overall in Round Four. We'll keep an eye on things and see if that changes, but for now, things might be a little quiet at Winter Park for a while.
The second day of the 2011 National Football League draft is underway. Unfortunately, as it stands now, the Minnesota Vikings only have one pick between Rounds Two and Three, but that could change if they decide to trade down a bit. . .if they can find any takers.
The Vikings addressed what was, realistically, their biggest need on the draft's first day as they selected Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th overall selection. The pick has been widely panned by critics, which makes me, personally, laugh a little bit. After all, there were critics that thought that the Vikings should have passed on Adrian Peterson back in 2007 to select Brady Quinn. . .it's really hard to find those people right now.
So, keep it right here in order to find out exactly what the Vikings are doing on Day Two of the 2011 NFL Draft. . .we'll have updates as soon as anything happens.
Q: Were you surprised to be selected with the 12th pick?
A: I really had no idea what was going to happen with the draft. You know how crazy it is. I am overly thrilled about it.
Q: What feel did you get from the Vikings after you worked out for them?
A: I felt the whole interview went great. The whole process was good. I was really impressed with Coach Musgrave and what he was doing on offense, Coach Frazier and Rick Spielman came in as well. I wasn’t sure how interested they were going to be but I thought the whole process went well.
Q: What did you do with the Vikings when they were visiting you on campus?
A: We spent probably an hour in the film room, drawing on the board and going over plays. Went and did a 45-minute throwing session. We grabbed dinner the night before. We spent a decent amount of time together.
Q: Did you get any sense on what the Vikings want to do on offense and how you will fit in?
A: Me personally, I don’t know what role I’m going to have going in. Obviously they have two quarterbacks on the roster right now and I don’t know if they are going to bring anyone else in. Whatever role I have, I will be prepared for. Offensively, the stuff we were going over on the board when they came in was very similar to what we were doing at Florida State, conceptually. That is a good thing for me as I feel like I am really prepared for what is going to go on in the next level with what we did at Florida State.
Q: How important to you was it to show teams that the arm issues you had were no longer a problem?
A: I think it was huge. I knew it was a big concern. Definitely my health was what guys were worried about. I think I was mislabeled as injury prone. I mean everything was bad luck. I had a third degree separation on my AC joint in my junior year and that was from throwing an interception and tackling the guy cause I was mad and then with the forearm elbow injury I had this past year was just a freak deal that wasn’t a major injury, it was just a nuisance but I will tell you once the season was done and going into the senior bowl, going into the combine and then the private workouts and the pro day, I knew that I had to show that I was healthy and that my arm was back and I was fine.
Q: Did you have three surgeries during the season on the elbow or when were the surgeries?
A: No, well first it wasn’t my elbow, it was my forearm. It was probably four inches below my elbow so it was never my elbow and it wasn’t anything structural, it was basically fluid kept building up so I’d go drain it and I’d probably get it drained once a week with a needle but then at the end of the season they went in surgically and cleaned it up and got it ready to heal up after the ACC Championship Game and by the bowl game I was healed. I was fine.
Q: What do you think you were able to do in the draft process to prove that the durability and the arm strength issues were not an issue for you?
A: Well I think the biggest thing was the Senior Bowl and be able to get out in a live game and show that I was healthy and show that I could perform and make all the throws and even with the week of practice, going into the game and earning MVP, I think that was the start of it and after that just showing the guys during individual workouts what they wanted me to throw and at the pro day, what they asked me to throw and I threw everything and I thought it went well.
Q: With the labor situation going on right now, how important is it to get up here while you can and at least get the playbook and talk to Bill Musgrave and rest of the offensive coaches?
A: Yeah, it’s going to be huge and for me as a rookie quarterback, it’s all about putting in my time and getting myself prepared for whatever role I’m going to have this coming season. So I know I’m going up there tomorrow and I already asked coach if I was going to have a playbook and he said yeah, there will be one ready for me and we’re going to talk some ball once I get up there so I’m excited about it, that starting tomorrow I’ll be working on getting myself prepared.
Q: Does it make it a little easier for you knowing that you have Adrian Peterson behind you?
A: Yeah, you know one of the best running backs in the league is definitely not a negative to have and along with Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, I mean there are definitely a lot of weapons at my disposal.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to any of your future teammates yet?
A: No, I haven’t. From the moment I’ve been drafted this whole thing has been crazy so I will definitely try to get in touch with a lot of guys as soon as possible. Hopefully I will see some guys at the facility tomorrow.
Q: They talk so much leading up to draft about finding a franchise quarterback. Do you sense the kind of the pressure that’s going to come with that, that you’re walking in to?
A: I dealt with being the face of Florida State and handling the pressure there. Obviously, it’s a whole other level in the NFL. I don’t think anyone puts as much pressure on me, than I will myself. I’m a perfectionist and I know I’m going to put my time in to prepare. When I make a mistake, I’m going to learn from it. Nobody’s expectations exceed mine.
Q: Did you have any idea where you might have gone? Was it late first round or maybe early second? What were you thinking?
A: I wasn’t sure. I heard from basically the number eight pick to anywhere to middle of the second. So, I really had no idea. I’m just happy it worked out this way.
Q: Did you have any idea what teams might have chosen you?
A: You know I heard basically I talked to 10 to 15 teams during the whole process. I wasn’t sure and I really had no clue? Just talking to my agent, we talked about Minnesota. We weren’t really sure? I’m loving every minute of it. I’m extremely excited to be a Minnesota Viking.
Q: How many teams did you have private workouts with?
A: I probably had seven or eight workouts with a bunch of different teams.
Q: As an owner of an MBA what do think of the NFL’s labor situation?
A: I don’t know, I’m just ready for it to be resolved and I’m ready to get to work and get prepared for next season.
Q: Were you invited to New York for the draft and why didn’t you go?
A: I was invited.
Q: Why didn’t you attend the NFL Draft in New York?
A: I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. My view was that I would rather be home with my family in a relaxed environment and get picked in the first round and be a little disappointed that I didn’t go to New York then be in New York, you have to wait until the second. I’m excited about the decision to stay home and be with my close friends and keeping it low key.
The Minnesota Vikings have drafted their quarterback of the future.
It wasn’t Cam Newton.
It wasn’t Jake Locker.
It wasn’t Blaine Gabbert.
It wasn’t Andy Dalton.
It wasn’t Ryan Mallett.
No, the Vikings surprised just about everyone by picking Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. Surprised? Because I sure am.
Most people had Ponder pegged at the end of the first round or the beginning of the second round. Apparently, the Vikings had him graded much higher.
Ponder had a very good career with the Seminoles, racking up 49 touchdowns and nearly 7,000 yards in his college career. He passed for just over 2,000 yards in 2010 despite missing two games. At 6’3" and 227 pounds with lots of athleticism, Ponder is fairly close to the prototypical build for an NFL quarterback.
Stay tuned for much, much more news and reaction. We are live at Winter Park covering Leslie Frazier’s press conference—I’m guessing he’ll have quite a few questions to address.
If you’ve got a couple hours to kill, head out to Vikings Team Headquarters at Winter Park in Eden Prairie. Matt Blair is signing autographs, Carl Eller is wandering around, and KFAN is on the air broadcasting live. The Vikings cheerleaders are here, and there is plenty of food and beer. Excitement is building, and the general consensus among the fans is that the Vikes either get Prince Amakamura or Jake Locker.
Mike Morris wants the Vikings to draft a long snapper. Just kidding.
It's the day that NFL fans have been anticipating for months, and the day that dozens of young men from across the country will remember for the rest of their lives.
The 2011 NFL Draft will kick off this evening at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and with it the rebuilding and/or reloading of the NFL's 32 teams. The Minnesota Vikings are no exception, as they have nine picks spread out over the course of this year's selection meeting, and fans of the Beloved Purple everywhere are eager to know which players will be coming to Minnesota in 2011 in the hopes of making an impact.
Rest assured, we have you covered for the draft. Our own Ted Glover is on the ground at Winter Park, and he will be getting plenty of good information for you from Vikings headquarters throughout the course of tonight's proceedings. Eric Thompson will be helping out with that here, as well as over at The Daily Norseman, where Eric will be keeping a running draft diary, as well as keeping up with any moves the Vikings might make.
Then, as we move on to Friday and Saturday, the team will be out in full force, as we will have up-to-the-minute information on everything the Vikings are doing and all the players the Vikings are selecting.
What will the Vikings be doing in this year's National Football League draft? Your guess is as good as ours at this point. . .and, in a few hours, the guessing will end and the actual selecting will begin. Be sure to join us for all of the coverage!
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