2011 NFL Draft Grades: What Others Thought Of The Vikings' 2011 Draft

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Fox Sports Doesn't Like Vikings Draft

One of the lower marks for the Vikings' 2011 NFL Draft came from Fox Sports, as they gave the Vikings just a C+ grade for their efforts over the past three days. They do have some solid logic behind their criticism, however.

The Vikings failed to address their weak offensive line until the sixth round, which was a big mistake. They will have to look toward free agency to improve in that area on offense.

This is true. . .they didn't do anything with their offensive line until towards the end of the draft. However, the Vikings have quite a few members of the offensive line that dealt with injuries in 2011 (Bryant McKinnie, Phil Loadholt, Steve Hutchinson, and Anthony Herrera), and they might feel that the unit might be better in 2011. In addition, Bill Musgrave has said that he's going to be ditching the zone blocking scheme that so many people didn't think Minnesota's big maulers were suited for anyway, which might help them as well.

The Vikings' offensive line was, obviously, offensive in 2010. . .but the expectations for 2011 are going to be different, and the Vikings still have the talent on the offensive line to meet those expectations.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Another CBS Sports Perspective On The Vikings

We've already documented what the tag team of Pete Prisco and Jon Love thought of Minnesota's picks over at CBS Sports, and their counterpart, Rob Rang, has released his 2011 NFL Draft grades as well. Rang also thinks very highly of what the Vikings did in this draft, giving the team a B+ mark for their efforts.

The explanation from Rang is as follows:

Full disclosure: I am higher on Christian Ponder than most, so if you're thinking I'm going to knock them significantly for their perceived "reach" of him at No. 12, you're wrong. I will certainly admit that the No. 12 overall pick higher is higher than a quarterback a quarterback coming off two arm surgeries should go, but the Vikings needed a passer who could play right away and Ponder is, in my opinion, the most pro-ready passer in this draft. If -- and it is a big if -- he can stay healthy, he'll prove worthy of this pick. Arm-strength, intelligence and mobility are not questions, in my mind. The Vikings found solid talent throughout the rest of the draft, as well. The selection of Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph was a surprise considering the emergence of Visanthe Shiancoe. Versatile defensive lineman Christian Ballard (4th round), competitive cornerback Brandon Burton (5th) and developmental center Brandon Fusco (6th) highlighted a busy Day Three for the Vikings.

Rang has much the same perspective on Christian Ponder as I have, so naturally I like what he has to say. I'm not sure who the quarterback is in this year's draft that you can definitively tell me is better than Christian Ponder, because I'm certainly having trouble seeing them. I don't think there's any reason to dismiss his notion that Ponder is the most NFL-ready passer in this year's draft.

As far as the Rudolph pick being a surprise, it was. . .until you remember that this is the last year of Shiancoe's deal, and Bill Musgrave has said that the Vikings will be running more multiple tight-end sets. A pair of tight ends like Shiancoe and Rudolph on the field will pay big dividends for the Vikings.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Walter Football Likes Minnesota's Draft. . .Mostly

Walter Football is a very good resource site for draft information. . .it gives a very different perspective that, for the most part, isn't biased for or against particular teams. The folks over there simply give the facts as they see them about the various NFL teams.

While they haven't issued grades for the draft as a whole, they did grade the individual picks as they went along, and the folks at Walter Football loved Minnesota's draft, for the most part. Of the ten selections the Vikings made, seven of them were given an A-grade by Walter Football.

The pick that they had as the worst Vikings' selection? Well, like many others, it was the selection of quarterback Christian Ponder, a grade that only received a D.

A reach that would make Inspector Gadget proud. I can't believe this draft class is so bad that it forces Christian Ponder up to No. 12. I know the Vikings need a quarterback, but, wow.

I'm not saying Ponder is going to bust, by the way. He could be OK. But to take a second-round prospect at No. 12 is pretty crazy.

Like I said, I like Walter Football a lot, really I do. But Christian Ponder was not a second-round prospect, and there's no way he would have been available at 43. The Vikings also didn't have the ammunition to trade up, what with not having a third-round selection, and if they had traded up they probably wouldn't have done as well as they did the rest of the way.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Vikings Get Good Grades From NBC Sports

Some people around the internet think much more highly of the Minnesota Vikings' 2011 NFL Draft, like the folks at NBC Sports. The folks from the peacock network gave the Vikings an overall grade of a B+ for their selections over the past three days.

Here's what they had to say about the picks.

Todd McShay bashed the Ponder pick. Still, Minnesota needed a quarterback, Ponder played in a pro-style offense at FSU, and he is NFL-ready with perhaps the draft's most accurate arm. It's not bad. Behind Ponder, you can't question the value of any of G.M. Rick Spielman's remaining selections. DeMarcus Love won't stay at tackle in the pros, but he could be a mauling right guard. Kyle Rudolph is a starter in two-tight end sets. Brandon Burton and Christian Ballard were second-day prospects, at least according to draftniks. Brandon Fusco is a developmental center. Ross Homan, De'Aundre Reed, and Stephen Burton are great late-round fliers.

Can't help but agree with the folks from NBC on this one. The Ponder pick is still a good one, and Rick Spielman spent the rest of the draft grabbing guys that should have been long gone by the time the Vikings selected them. There was a reason the man traded and stockpiled those four sixth-round picks, because he saw value, and he got good value at all four of those selections.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Mel Kiper Grades Minnesota Vikings Draft

When it comes to grading the 2011 National Football League Draft, the one name that so many people want to hear from is that if Mel Kiper. . .draft expert.

Well, Kiper's grades are out for this year's selection meeting, and he really didn't think very highly of what the Minnesota Vikings did in this year's draft, giving the team a C+ mark overall. Only four teams. . .the Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Seattle Seahawks. . .received lower grades than that, while seven other teams got the same C+ mark as Minnesota did.

Here's what Mel Kiper had to say about Minnesota's 2011 NFL Draft.

The Vikings clearly need an answer at the quarterback position, but they reached for Ponder at No. 12. They clearly believe he's their guy long-term, but the draft is about value too. When you saw Dalton land all the way down at No. 35, you had to wonder if Ponder could have been had later. The Rudolph pick was a pretty solid value and Ballard could be a good defensive lineman. The Vikings also landed some needed help at cornerback and along the offensive line. Minnesota reached for a quarterback, in my opinion, and like Tennessee, still doesn't know who will start the season at quarterback. However, the Vikings rebounded nicely on Days 2 and 3.

So, he dings the Vikings a lot based solely on their selection of Christian Ponder, which I still don't think I understand. The Vikings needed a quarterback, they spent three months researching all of the available quarterbacks, and they took the guy that they think fits their offense. I was sort of under the impression that that's what the NFL Draft was all about.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Pete Prisco Likes The Vikings' Picks. . .Yes, Really

Many people that have been reading the site for a while know that I've had my issues with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. I know he generally doesn't think very highly of the Vikings, and I'm still convinced that his Power Rankings, and the Vikings' place within them, are done by pulling names out of a hat.

Which made it that much more surprising that Prisco gave many of the Minnesota Vikings' draft picks very high marks. He, unlike many other "experts," actually had some pretty high praise for the Vikings' selection of Florida State's Christian Ponder.

I love this pick. I think he will be the best in this class. Smart. Tough. Sees the field. Great move, Vikings.

That's more compliments than I've seen Prisco give the Vikings in about the last five years. Combined.

But that wasn't all. . .he also gave an B+ grade to Minnesota's second-round selection of Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph.

For the third day of the draft, Prisco gave way to Jon Dove of Mocking the Draft (SB Nation represent, and such), and the praise for the Vikings continued. The Vikings' got an A from Dove for their pick of Iowa defensive lineman Christian Ballard in the fourth round, and a B+ for their fifth-round tabbing of Utah defensive back Brandon Burton.

The fairly high marks continued as we moved into the sixth round, as Arkansas offensive lineman DeMarcus Love got Minnesota a B+, and Slippery Rock center Brandon Fusco got the Vikings another B. Ohio State linebacker Ross Homan was given a B- grade by Mr. Dove, with South Florida defensive back Mistral Raymond getting a C.

The seventh round was not quite as kind to the Vikings, with Arizona defensive lineman D'Aundre Reed getting a C+, while West Texas A&M wide receiver Stephen Burton garnered only a C-, the lowest grade of any of Minnesota's ten picks.

Still, that's a pretty darn good report card for a ten-man draft, I think.

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