Vikings Draft Capsules

If you've digested half of the information VikingUpdate.com has put out on the team's draft picks, you could be on information overload. We step back and take a cursory look with the basics of draft weekend.

The Vikings' selection of Adrian Peterson with the seventh pick in the NFL draft was met with nearly unanimous approval. But as the Vikings brass talked about how pleased it was to land the running back from Oklahoma there remained questions about the status of his fractured right collarbone.

It should come as no surprise that most of these queries were side stepped the same way Peterson side steps would-be tacklers. The reality is that Peterson's injury continues to be evaluated and he still might need surgery. If that ends up being the case, a plate would be inserted into Peterson's shoulder.

Peterson suffered the injury last October - he missed the final seven games of the regular season - and was re-injured in the Sooners' loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. He said the shoulder is "90 percent" right now and that he would not need surgery.

That might be wishful thinking.

The plan is to have Peterson take part in the team's minicamp for rookies this weekend, Vikings coach Brad Childress said. Childress, however, also acknowledged that Peterson will have "a pretty good physical," this week.

"I think he feels pretty good," Childress said. "You let your doctor determine that. You let the orthopedic guys get another look at him. (But) it's not like we haven't looked at him already. We're satisfied with him right now."


DRAFT REVIEW

The Vikings landed a big-name running back and also weren't afraid to wheel and deal, helping the franchise get some-much needed positive publicity coming out of the draft.

The selection of Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson with the seventh-overall pick was met with approval from the Vikings' fan base at the team's draft party. This was important considering the team was coming off a 6-10 finish in 2006 and fan apathy has been on the rise.

It was later in the draft that Vikings' vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman really got busy.

The Vikings made one trade in the second round and two deals in the fourth round. This enabled them to move down in round two (they took South Carolina receiver Sidney Rice), move up in round four (to grab Texas defensive end Brian Robison) and then accumulate two picks from Denver this year and a third-rounder next year.

Spielman had spent the 2006 draft working as an analyst for ESPN and it was clear he enjoyed being back in the thick of things.

Despite obvious needs at receiver and defensive end, Spielman and coach Brad Childress had said from the outset that the team would stay true to their draft board. Often executives are simply blowing smoke, but that wasn't the case when it came to Peterson.

Running back clearly was not one of the Vikings' needs. The team already has Chester Taylor, who ran for 1,216 yards last season. The selection of Rice was interesting because the Vikings traded down when Southern Cal receiver Dwayne Jarrett was available and then passed on Jarrett when he remained available at No. 44 overall.

The Vikings then began to address defense by taking Fresno State cornerback Marcus McCauley and Robison with their next two selections. Both were coming off disappointing 2006 campaigns but were highly regarded entering the season. Rice was joined by East Carolina's Aundrae Allison (fifth round) and Florida International's Chandler Williams as receivers picked.

It was clear the Vikings wanted to at least attempt to add some play-makers to an offense that had far too few in 2006.

In all, the Vikings drafted five players on the second day, including quarterback Tyler Thigpen in the seventh round. Last year, with former Vikings executive Fran Foley helping to run the show, the Vikings had only two second-day picks.


BEST PICK: Considering how anemic their offense was last season, the Vikings were in no position to pass on Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson with the seventh pick of the draft. Peterson will have to share time with Chester Taylor but having two top-flight running backs isn't a rarity among the NFL's elite teams these days.


COULD SURPRISE: After a disappointing 2006 season in which an ankle injury slowed him, receiver Aundrae Allison saw his stock tumble. But the Vikings are in desperate need of quality receivers and the fact Allison caught 145 passes for 1,732 yards in 22 games at East Carolina make this an interesting pairing.


A closer look at the Vikings' picks:


Round 1/7 - Adrian Peterson, RB, 6-1, 217, Oklahoma

Despite questions about a collarbone injury suffered last season, the Vikings took the former Big 12 standout. The addition of Peterson, provided he can remain healthy after battling injuries the past two seasons, will help to lighten the workload for veteran Chester Taylor. Taylor had 346 touches last season and wore down in December. Coach Brad Childress said he could see using Peterson and Taylor in the same backfield at times. Peterson said he is about "90 percent healed" from the broken left collarbone he suffered in 2006.


Round 2/44 - Sidney Rice, WR, 6-4, 202, South Carolina

After swapping second-round picks with Atlanta and gaining an extra pick in the fourth round, the Vikings took Rice one selection before the Carolina Panthers grabbed Dwayne Jarrett. Rice played only two seasons of college football and won't turn 21 until September, but the Vikings were impressed by his play-making ability. Yes, Rice attended the same school as Vikings receiver and current NFL disappointment Troy Williamson (the No. 7 overall pick in 2005) but that did nothing to dissuade Minnesota. Rice had 142 receptions for 2,233 yards and 23 touchdowns in 24 games over two seasons.


Round 3/72 - Marcus McCauley, CB, 6-1, 200, Fresno State

Many scouts thought McCauley would be a first-round pick at the beginning of the season but that changed as he and his team struggled through a sub-par 2006 season. McCauley was removed from the starting lineup for the final four games but still played and finished with 56 tackles, seven passes broken up, two forced fumbles and no interceptions in 12 games. The Vikings like McCauley because he plays a physical style - something teams that play the Tampa-2 want from their corners - and also because of his ability on special teams. He could get a chance to compete for a job in the nickel defense.


Round 4/102 - Brian Robison, DE, 6-3, 259, Texas

The Vikings swapped fourth-round picks with Tampa Bay, moving Minnesota up four spots, and also gave up a sixth-round selection to take the two-sport athlete from Texas. Robison earned All-Big 12 honors and qualified for the NCAA Finals in the discus and shot put, winning the conference shot put title in 2005 and 2006. On the field, the Vikings are hoping Robison can regain the form he showed in 2005. He started 12 games at right end that season and led the team with seven sacks, 15 stops for a loss and had a career-high 58 tackles. Injuries slowed Robison in 2006 and he finished with a career-low 37 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 12 games. Robison said he can play either end position.


Round 5/146 - Aundrae Allison, WR, 6-0, 198, East Carolina

Allison played two seasons with the Pirates, catching 145 passes for 1,732 yards and 11 touchdowns in 22 games. He started every game in which he played after spending two seasons at Georgia Military College. Play fell off last season in part because of an ankle injury.


Round 6/176 - Rufus Alexander, LB, 6-0, 228 pounds, Oklahoma

Alexander should be a good fit as a weak-side linebacker in the Vikings' Tampa-2 scheme. He became the first Sooner to lead the team in tackles in consecutive seasons (2005-06) since Rocky Calmus accomplished the feat from 1999 to 2001. Last season he had 118 tackles, 14 stops for losses and four forced fumbles while starting on the weak side. Considered a bit undersized and not all that physical.


Round 7/217 - Tyler Thigpen, QB, 6-3, 220 pounds, Coastal Carolina

This pick didn't come as a complete surprise because the Vikings did bring Thigpen to Minnesota for a pre-draft visit. He wasn't among the players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but obviously the Vikings were concerned another team might grab him in the seventh round. Will spend the season learning behind Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger.


Round 7/233 - Chandler Williams, WR, 5-11, 184 pounds, Florida International

The third receiver to be taken by the Vikings in the draft, Williams also has experience as a return man. He doesn't have deep speed and probably is a long shot to make the roster. Could end up as a member of the Vikings' practice squad after being a two-year starter in college. Had 67 catches for 664 yards and a touchdown last season.

NOTES

  • Adrian Peterson will wear No. 28 with the Vikings; it's the same number he wore at Oklahoma. Cornerback Patrick Body, who spent much of last season on the Vikings' practice squad, had been assigned 28.

  • Peterson became the 10th running back the Vikings have selected in the first round of the draft. He joins Wisconsin's Michael Bennett (2001); Ohio State's Robert Smith (1993); Penn State's D.J. Dozier (1987); Stanford's Darrin Nelson (1982); North Carolina State's Ted Brown (1979); Miami's Chuck Foreman (1973); Ohio State's Leo Hayden (1971); Michigan State's Clinton Jones (1967); and Tulane's Tommy Mason (1961).

  • Rick Spielman, Vikings' vice president of player personnel, said character issues were so important to the team that 90 of a possible 750 players were dropped from the team's draft board. Some of those drops also were made for medical reasons.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think that will help me a lot playing with a guy like Chester. Just learning the ins and outs and some guidance. ... I look forward to that. It's a team that when I visited they emphasized that they love to run the ball. I'm just ready to help them and be a big contributor." - Running back Adrian Peterson on playing in the same backfield as Chester Taylor.



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