Draft analysts love Vikings’ picks

The Minnesota Vikings rated at or near the top on nearly every analyst’s assessment of the draft.

The 2015 draft is over and the grades are coming in, and some of the top hired-gun analysts are in unanimity that the Vikings had one of the best drafts of any team in the NFL.

Analysts tend to disagree on a lot of things, but there is very little not to like from the praise that Rick Spielman and his staff have been receiving for what they accomplished last weekend.

Scout.com’s Jamie Newberg gave the Vikings an A-, the only team in the NFC to grade out that high. “I like this haul a lot by Minnesota, as they filled needs, grabbed some really good athletes and picked players with lots of upside,” Newberg wrote.”

Other analysts were similarly impressed. Here is a cross-section of grades given out by the draftniks who represent some of the heavy hitters in the draft analysis world.

Charley Casserly, NFL Network – He loved the Trae Waynes pick, calling him the best cornerback in the Class of 2015. He called Eric Kendricks “a terrific linebacker.” The T.J. Clemmings pick he also loved. He gave the Vikings an A grade.

Mel Kiper, ESPN – The man of the permanent coiffeur gave the Vikings a B, giving them solid grades on Waynes and Kendricks, but adding that, if he was making the choice at No. 11, he would have selected wide receiver DeVante Parker. He added that he graded sixth-round pick Tyrus Thompson as a second-round talent.

Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com – Citing the top three picks of the draft (Waynes, Kendricks and Danielle Hunter), Rang said, “Given Zimmer’s track record of developing defenders, this is a trio that could pay big dividends in Minnesota soon.” He gave the Vikings an A- grade, the highest of any team in the NFC North.

Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated – He gave the Vikings an A grade, citing Waynes as the “perfect bookend” to go along with Xavier Rhodes. He also said that Clemmings, if he stays healthy, could be the best offensive tackle from the 2015 draft in the next few years.

Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News – He gave the Vikings an A grade – tied for the highest of any team, saying “There’s a lot to like about this class. They filled needs with arguably first-round talents in Waynes, Kendricks and Clemmings. Hunter could end up being a freakish pass rusher and (MyCole) Pruitt and (Stefon) Diggs give Teddy Bridgewater sneaky good help as versatile targets. Minnesota is itching to be back in the playoffs very soon.”

Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports – He gave the Vikings an A- grade, saying, “A strong defense gets stronger with the addition of Waynes and Kendricks, two likely immediate starters. The offensive line, which needed help, saw three players drafted.” He closed out his comments by saying, “We can’t help ourselves … we love what they did here.” His grade for the Vikings was the highest given to any team.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports – Prisco ranked teams by best pick, questionable move, third-day gem and overall analysis. He loved the Kendricks selection, thought Hunter has hit or bust potential and called the Clemmings selection “a major steal” in the fourth round. In his analysis, he wrote, “General Manager Rick Spielman had another good draft. He has done so the past couple of years and has a good young team on the rise,” giving the Vikings a B+ draft grade.

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com – He gave the Vikings a B+ grade, saying they certainly improved their defense with this year’s draft class.

FOX Sports (no author cited) – They gave the Vikings the lowest grade at B-, but said Zimmer “is building a beast on the defensive side of the ball” and adding that Spielman “hit a home run” with the Clemmings pick.

The Vikings are still a little shy of two months from reporting to training camp in Mankato, but it would appear that with the improvements they showed late last season the 2015 draft has the Vikings on the fast track to becoming a trendy playoff pick this year.

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