The grades are in and, if you believe what the analysts have to say, the Vikings may have a tougher time repeating as NFC North champions than Vikes fans believe. Almost across the board, the Vikings got the lowest draft grade of any team in the division.
Here's what some of the national analysts had to say:
Mel Kiper, ESPN – Only nine teams received a lower grade than the Vikings' C+ mark. He said the Vikings have to keep Percy Harvin focused and maximize his potential, adding that there is no questioning his talent, but that character question marks surround him.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sportsline – While he liked Phil Loadholt in the second round, he listed Harvin as a "feast-or-famine" pick. He added that if Harvin becomes what the Vikings think he will be and stays clear of problems, the grade will be higher than the B- he gave them – the lowest grade of NFC North teams.
John Czarnecki, FOX Sports – He gave the Vikings a division-worst grade of C, but said Harvin could be a special weapon and seemed to like Loadholt and Jasper Brinkley.
Bucky Brooks, NFL Network – He gave the Vikings a C+ grade – tied for the worst in the NFC North. Like so many others, he acknowledged that Percy Harvin was one of the most explosive players in the draft, but added that his character risk make his selection a risky pick. Describing the draft strategy as "sound and solid," he said the draft's success will hinge on Harvin – saying that if he avoids trouble and makes big plays, the Vikings "will be applauded for masterful management of the risk/reward factor" and is he doesn't work out, Brad Childress will likely be fired. No pressure on Chilly there.
Gregg Rosenthal, NBC Sports – Some love given to the Vikings with a grade of A-. Aside from Harvin's character concerns, the belief was the team couldn't have done much better on Day 1, claiming they targeted Loadholt as early as their first-round pick. The A- grade was the best of any NFC North team.
Clifton Brown, The Sporting News – He gave the Vikings a B, a solid grade, but worst among the four NFC North teams. He said Harvin could be an elite playmaker and believes Loadholt and Asher Allen can both contribute.
Larry Weisman, USA Today – Weisman gave the Vikings a C+, again the worst among NFC North teams, calling Harvin a "boom-or-bust" type pick.
While these headliners all seem to agree that the Vikings took a major risk on selecting Harvin in the first round, they also seem to be in agreement that, if he can give the team what they expect from him, the Vikings could end up with a very strong draft grade – at least stronger than their initial grades – a year or two down the line.
Draft grades: Vikings only average?
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