Lurtsema's Reaction: Draft and Minicamp

Former Vikings defensive lineman Bob Lurtsema continues our conversation about what will make the 2006 draft successful for the Vikings and what he wants to see out of the coaches and players in their minicamp this weekend.

VU: When we talk about grading drafts and people say it is hard to judge until three or four years down the line, what do you think makes a draft a good one for a team? What should the expectations be for a team – if you get two starters three years down the road is that a good draft?

Basically, you work off the percentages for your first-rounders. Only a third of those are successful, and those are the cream of the crop. A third of them are total busts. If you get two starters out of your draft choices per year, I think you're doing very well. The interesting part, and I'd have to do some research on this to be sure, but the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, of the 22 starters I believe 17 of them were brought up in their system. They're getting the players to fit their system, they're getting the players that fit the type of attitude they want on their team and they seem to be doing everything well. That would be the cream of the crop for getting the best results for drafting.

If you get two per year you're doing very well. It's amazing because in college it's so hard to predict. They may kick butt against certain competition, but the player they are going against is terrible. A lot of times a player they draft might have had one or two bad games, but those bad games were against a quality player where the other 10 were against a lesser caliber that will never have the opportunity to play in the NFL. The one or two that kicked this guy's fanny are the ones that will be in the NFL. You have to really know the competition each player goes against, and that's difficult.

VU: What are you going to look for in minicamp? What do you want to see out of both the players and the coaches?

As far as the players go, I want to see strong body language. When they get down, how do they get up? I can read so much so fast on the defensive line with body language. Then, as far as coaches go, with our 21 new coaches, I want to see that when they are talking with the players that they don't over-coach the players. If you talk too much and too long with a player, they will shut out the coach. I want to see how these coaches deal with them and fine-tune the players, and I want to see if they coach different players different ways, which I firmly believe in. I don't believe everybody buys the same pep talk and I don't believe everybody buys into one person or system.

VU: When we're talking about minicamps, do you expect players to come in with middle-of-training-camp form or do you think they need the time off and they can get in condition in August when training camp comes around?

If you don't take care of your body, you're not a professional. I expect them to come in in decent shape. These guys that come in and they're overweight, if they're nursing an injury, then don't eat as much food. I've never in my life seen so many players have an excuse why they're not in shape. You're a professional, and the last time I read the salary reports, I believe they were making a couple dollars more than what I did and that's fine. With that type of salary and you take a couple months off, that's fine, but to let your body go to hell in a handbasket, you're not a pro. You're the type of person that I know will take plays off — you're letting your body down, you're letting yourself down, you're letting your fans down, you're letting everybody in your system down because of your laziness with your lack of commitment to conditioning.

  • Bob Lurtsema was a 12-year veteran defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his column appears in the magazine.

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