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.