The Report Cards Are In

While Vikings fans by and large loved the players their team took during draft weekend, the national draft analysts have weighed in and, while teams like the Dolphins and Packers have been savaged by some, almost to a person, the draft gurus really liked the selections the Vikings made and believe they got themselves some difference-makers.

While most drafts can't be truly evaluated until two or three years after the fact, the national buzz about the Vikings' draft has been extremely positive, as many of the top national scouts give Rick Spielman and Brad Childress outstanding grades for the players they acquired on draft weekend.

Mel Kiper of ESPN gave the Vikings a letter grade of B+, which tied for the best grade given to any team in the draft. Only the Browns and 49ers were other teams that garnered B+ grades from Kiper. Fellow ESPN analyst John Clayton listed his winners and losers for the draft and listed the NFC North as the second-biggest loser because the Vikings got Adrian Peterson and they will have to face him six times a year.

The Sporting News draft experts in The War Room gave out two A+ grades (the Raiders and Dolphins) and gave out four A grades (the Vikings, Browns, Falcons and Eagles). It should be noted that the Browns and Falcons' grades were inflated because the Falcons moved up in the first round in the Matt Schaub trade and added a second-round pick in the Matt Schaub trade, and the Browns gave up their first-round pick next year to get back into the first round to take Brady Quinn.

CBS Sportsline graded out the Vikings as a B, but Pete Prisco believed that if the Vikings had taken a quarterback earlier in the draft, the grade would be an A – he's clearly not a Tarvaris Jackson fan.

Pro Football Weekly chimed in with its draft review issue with a grade of B, which ranked ninth primarily because it viewed the Vikings' draft as a collection of "boom-or-bust" prospects. However, PFW draft guru Nolan Nawrocki had Peterson rated as the second-best player in the draft and had a draft grade identical to that of his No. 1 choice – wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

While Vikings fans and media have raved about the draft, it's refreshing to see media types that have no vested interest in the Vikings over any other teams taking a similar view of the draft. The team got the most explosive playmaker left on the board in the first round (Peterson), addressed needs at wide receiver (Sidney Rice and Aundrae Allison), may have made a steal to replace Fred Smoot at cornerback (Marcus McCauley), helped their anemic pass rush with a designated pass rusher (Brian Robison) and added players who can help immediately on special teams (Allison and Rufus Alexander).

The report cards are in and it looks like the Vikings have scored well across the board, re-affirming what many of us thought the Sunday night of the draft – the Vikings did a great job of adding talent and addressing need.

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