Lurtsema's Reaction: All-Around Players

The Vikings got talented athletes in the draft, but they also got smart football players who show almost as much off the field as they do on it.

Wow, what a refreshing draft. I was at the Minnesota Vikings Draft Party, and for the first time in my life I saw 100 percent of the true Vikings fans excited about their No. 1 draft choice, Kenechi Udeze. The fans were educated enough to realize the Vikings were in desperate need of a pass-rushing defensive end. And to the surprise of many draftniks, he was still available with the 20th pick.

Speaking of refreshing, not once did Udeze complain about being dropped from a top-10 prospect to being the 20th pick of the Vikings. He was truly excited. And being a former defensive lineman myself, of course I love the kid — but for other reasons. First, he has a great sense of humor. Talking to him, he constantly delivers a positive attitude. And having a total grasp of old-school upbringing, he is so respectful to each and every person he talks with. On the field during practices, his pass-rushing style often brings a two-combination move, and rookies rarely come into the league that advanced.

Working down the draft board, second-round pick Dontarrious Thomas, a college graduate already, shows respect and intelligence on and off the field, saying "Yes sir, no sir" constantly during an interview. And yet when I talked with fourth-round running back Mewelde Moore, a member of the National Honor Society in high school, it was the same result. On top of all this, right after the draft, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said the Vikings had the No. 1 draft of all 32 teams. Now that's refreshing.

Immediately following the draft, the Vikings signed Blake Elliott, a wide receiver from the Division III national champion St. John's Johnnies who is identical in attitude and work ethic to the three draft picks I mentioned. And here's the kicker for you — Randy Moss and Antoine Winfield, the best offseason acquisition in years, were out on the practice field during seven-on-seven drills going against each other and critiquing each other's technique at their respective positions. This type of veteran attitude carries over to the rookies and is contagious, creating a tremendous locker room atmosphere. With that in writing, I hope you can feel the energy I have right now, because it's a slam dunk that the Minnesota Vikings will win the NFC North division.

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