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 Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine 
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Post Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikin ... page=1&c=y

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The NFL descends on Lucas Oil Stadium this week for the scouting combine, a chance for teams to do more than just watch young men run around in spandex, though that is a big chunk of it.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, coach Mike Zimmer and a contingent of scouts, assistant coaches and executives will be in Indy to get a closer look at the dozens of draft-eligible players who have been invited.

Their 2014 season started with plenty of turmoil and a 2-5 record, but the Vikings are encouraged about the trajectory of their team after finishing 7-9 and finding Teddy Bridgewater, who they hope will be a long-term quarterback.

“I feel very confident, though not satisfied, that we are heading in the right direction,” Spielman said in January. “The optimism heading into this offseason is totally different.”

But Spielman is well aware that a lot of work remains to rebuild this team into a Super Bowl contender. Spielman said the Vikings, who put together their initial draft board earlier this month, have identified “eight specific needs” they hope to address this offseason.

Spielman didn’t define those positions, but he did say “some of them are not too hard to figure out.”

So we tried.

Here is our best guess as to those eight need positions, with five players to watch at each position and an NFL combine story line:


The rest is at the link. The author (Matt Vensel) points to the following 8 positions: WR, RB, OG, OT, MLB, DE, CB and S.

Quite honestly, when I look at the roster, I don't think there's a position I wouldn't consider drafting if the right player was on the board.


Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:53 am
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Post Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
I know we feel differently on this, and I hope this conversation doesn't spiral, but I still feel like drafting a QB in the first three rounds of this draft would be a mismanagement of resources. I also think C, TE, DT, and OLB would be silly anywhere before the 5th round. Obviously, any position is open to upgrade, but if we didn't touch those 5 positions(or K) I would feel absolutely no remorse. We would have to be passing up an AMAZING player for me to think we missed out (at QB, I don't think there is one in this draft...and I think Teddy is going to be really good).

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Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:03 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
Mothman wrote:

Quite honestly, when I look at the roster, I don't think there's a position I wouldn't consider drafting if the right player was on the board.



I think you could say that about pretty much every team in the league.

Other than LG I'm not sure the Vikings have desperate need anywhere else. Upgrades at T, WR, DT, LDE, MLB, OLB, CB, and S would all be helpful. Some of that could already be on the roster given the youth of the team.

The real key to the Vikings success in my opinion is how the guys already on the roster progress during the next year.
Hodges, J.Robinson, R. Blanton, M Kalil, Chrichton, Yankey, Richardson, Cole, Mauti, Exum, Price, Stephen, Thielen, Patteron, Charles Johnson, how these guys do is really the measure of the scouting departments ability to build a winner. Pretty much all the 1st round picks over the last 3 years other than patterson have justified their selection. How do the later round picks and FA signings fit into the future?

If 2-3 of those guys can pan out, 2-3 positions can be solidified in FA, and 2-3 addressed in the draft, the Vikings will be in good shape next year.


Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:05 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
DKSweets wrote:
I know we feel differently on this, and I hope this conversation doesn't spiral, but I still feel like drafting a QB in the first three rounds of this draft would be a mismanagement of resources. I also think C, TE, DT, and OLB would be silly anywhere before the 5th round. Obviously, any position is open to upgrade, but if we didn't touch those 5 positions(or K) I would feel absolutely no remorse. We would have to be passing up an AMAZING player for me to think we missed out (at QB, I don't think there is one in this draft...and I think Teddy is going to be really good).


My philosophy is follow your board, prepare for the future and build the best depth chart possible. This team simply isn't that good. They can use help and impact just about anywhere they can get it. For example...

The Vikings could clearly use a developmental QB and a successor to Cassel, unless they think he's going to be their primary backup for years (which would be a mistake, in my opinion). To me, it makes sense to draft and begin developing that player now so the primary backup in 2016 (when, presumably, they hope to be serious contenders), isn't a rookie or a lower-tier free agent. It's a cliché but it's true: the backup is always just one play away from being the starter. The Vikings need to start taking their QB depth chart a lot more seriously.

The run defense was a genuine weakness last season so I don't think they're as solid at DT as one would hope. If a terrific interior lineman was available, I'd sure consider drafting him. Strength up the middle is crucial to good defense.

OLB is a genuine need, in my opinion. Greenway's lost a step and I think his future with the team may depend on his willingness to take a pay cut. Even if he sticks around, I wouldn't pass up the chance to upgrade that position with a young player, especially a potential impact player, if one was available. Again, I'll point to the team's struggles in run defense.

Rudolph is good but unfortunately, he's somewhat unreliable at this point. Hopefully, he's just had some bad luck and will stay healthy in 2015 but again, I wouldn't pass up a gifted TE just because of his presence.

Even at center, if they feel a strong talent is available I see no reason to rule the position out until the 5th round, specially if they drafted a center with the versatility to slide over to guard. Sullivan's not invulnerable.


Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:47 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
The point isn't that there aren't better players than the guys we have at any given position. There will always be better players out there - even the Patriots and Seahawks have plenty of holes to fill. The point is you try to make a competitive roster by filling in as many players who will see the field as possible.

For instance, you bring up DT. If the Vikings drafted a DT, there would be four talented DTs on the roster (this hypothetical pick, Floyd, Joseph, and Stephen). Only two of those guys can start. So if we're in the second round and the DT we're looking at is the 38th highest ranked player on our board, but the 40th highest ranked player is CB/WR/MLB, is it really wise to strictly stick to the board? The current roster has to count for something or you'll eventually end up with 6 DTs and no viable starter at MLB.

Now, if you think you can create competition and develop a player with a lower pick, that's great. I'm not saying that you should completely rule out competition at a certain position. Also, if you see a guy that you think should have been picked 30 spots ago, take him. But just like you shouldn't draft players solely because they play the position you are thinnest at, it's also wise not to become a slave to your board when you have areas that need help more than others.

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Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:44 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
DKSweets wrote:
The point isn't that there aren't better players than the guys we have at any given position. There will always be better players out there - even the Patriots and Seahawks have plenty of holes to fill. The point is you try to make a competitive roster by filling in as many players who will see the field as possible.
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For instance, you bring up DT. If the Vikings drafted a DT, there would be four talented DTs on the roster (this hypothetical pick, Floyd, Joseph, and Stephen). Only two of those guys can start. So if we're in the second round and the DT we're looking at is the 38th highest ranked player on our board, but the 40th highest ranked player is CB/WR/MLB, is it really wise to strictly stick to the board?


It depends on how much more talented they feel that DT is when compared to both the other players available and the DTs they currently have under contract. Can he be better than Joseph in a year? Is he better than Stephen? I don't think it's as simple as just filling holes on the roster. To me the draft is about finding impact players and building depth in the truest sense of that word, quality from top to bottom.

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Now, if you think you can create competition and develop a player with a lower pick, that's great. I'm not saying that you should completely rule out competition at a certain position. Also, if you see a guy that you think should have been picked 30 spots ago, take him. But just like you shouldn't draft players solely because they play the position you are thinnest at, it's also wise not to become a slave to your board when you have areas that need help more than others.


I'm not suggesting they mindlessly follow their board to absurd extremes. I'm just saying they rank talent for a reason and they shouldn't ignore those reasons or rule out certain positions until later in the draft. That's how a team ends up passing on a player that might become a real game-changer. I'm suggesting they should remain flexible so they don't miss out on that kind of talent.

We obviously have different philosophies about this. I wouldn't characterize the draft as you did above. I don't think the point is to build a competitive roster by filling in as many players who will see the field as possible. I believe the point should be to build a depth chart that gives the team the best chance to win a championship. That obviously involves getting players on the field but in this substitution-heavy era of NFL football, it goes well beyond the starting 22. Those starters rarely, if ever, make it through a season fully intact anyway. Players miss games, sometimes even seasons, and depth becomes very important, particularly at key positions.

I don't think the key question when drafting should be "who will see the field more"? I think it should always be "who will improve our team more?" They're not quite the same thing.


Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:56 pm
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Post Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
Mothman wrote:
It depends on how much more talented they feel that DT is when compared to both the other players available and the DTs they currently have under contract. Can he be better than Joseph in a year? Is he better than Stephen? I don't think it's as simple as just filling holes on the roster. To me the draft is about finding impact players and building depth in the truest sense of that word, quality from top to bottom.
Let's put it this way: would you prefer to add Ndamukong Suh to this team or Bobby Wagner? Suh is the better player, but it's not a huge margin. Wagner would be a bigger upgrade to the entire unit, though.

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I'm not suggesting they mindlessly follow their board to absurd extremes. I'm just saying they rank talent for a reason and they shouldn't ignore those reasons or rule out certain positions until later in the draft. That's how a team ends up passing on a player that might become a real game-changer. I'm suggesting they should remain flexible so they don't miss out on that kind of talent.

I'm not saying that they should completely rule out those positions either if an absolute steal falls to them. However, if there is a player of roughly equal caliber who would play one of the many positions I did not mention, why not kill two birds with one stone?

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We obviously have different philosophies about this. I wouldn't characterize the draft as you did above. I don't think the point is to build a competitive roster by filling in as many players who will see the field as possible. I believe the point should be to build a depth chart that gives the team the best chance to win a championship. That obviously involves getting players on the field but in this substitution-heavy era of NFL football, it goes well beyond the starting 22. Those starters rarely, if ever, make it through a season fully intact anyway. Players miss games, sometimes even seasons, and depth becomes very important, particularly at key positions.

I don't think the key question when drafting should be "who will see the field more"? I think it should always be "who will improve our team more?" They're not quite the same thing.
I didn't say starters - I said players who would see the field. If we drafted a CB this year, they likely wouldn't be a starter. If we drafted a WR this year, they would likely not see a majority of snaps. Where I see the problem is having one position 4 players deep and then having other positions trot out journeyman players who have no right to start. Linval Joseph might not be an elite DT (I'm sticking with the DT discussion for simplicity) but I would prefer having him in the lineup (and Stephen for depth) much more than seeing Jasper Brinkley be our starter. We're still building depth, it's just not at one position. Depth is great, and I think we both value that; I just prefer it to be spread among as many positions as possible assuming we don't have a clear cut better player on the board.

And I'll be honest with you, I might not be understanding that final point that you made. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, so it's possible that if you explained it again/more/differently I will understand your view better. As it stands, I'm not sure how a player can make our team better without seeing the field.


Of course, neither of our opinions are going to matter at the end of the day, but as usual, I'm enjoying discussing his with you.

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Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:19 am
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
DKSweets wrote:
Let's put it this way: would you prefer to add Ndamukong Suh to this team or Bobby Wagner? Suh is the better player, but it's not a huge margin. Wagner would be a bigger upgrade to the entire unit, though.


If we ignore character issues for the moment, I'd take Suh because I think finding a dominant interior lineman for a 4-3 defense is extremely difficult and ultimately more important.

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I'm not saying that they should completely rule out those positions either if an absolute steal falls to them. However, if there is a player of roughly equal caliber who would play one of the many positions I did not mention, why not kill two birds with one stone?


I tried to cover that in my previous post. My comment was specific to DTs but the idea is the same: it just depends on how much talent difference there is between the two players. If they're basically of equal caliber then it may make sense to select the player who fills a position of greater need, unless the other plays a more important position overall. Another factor could be who else is available at that position in the draft. If Players A and B are of equal caliber but the draft is thin at A's position and deep at B's position, maybe it makes more sense to take A, even if B fills a bigger hole on the current roster. Again, I think flexibility is important.

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I didn't say starters - I said players who would see the field. If we drafted a CB this year, they likely wouldn't be a starter. If we drafted a WR this year, they would likely not see a majority of snaps. Where I see the problem is having one position 4 players deep and then having other positions trot out journeyman players who have no right to start. Linval Joseph might not be an elite DT (I'm sticking with the DT discussion for simplicity) but I would prefer having him in the lineup (and Stephen for depth) much more than seeing Jasper Brinkley be our starter. We're still building depth, it's just not at one position. Depth is great, and I think we both value that; I just prefer it to be spread among as many positions as possible assuming we don't have a clear cut better player on the board.


Those clear cut better players are mainly what I'm talking about. For example, a team should never pass up Adrian Peterson just because they already have Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore. In the long run, that upgrade does them more good than going for a lesser player that fills a greater immediate need. When it comes to the draft, I think talent trumps need (within reason, of course) and it's best to take the long view.

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And I'll be honest with you, I might not be understanding that final point that you made. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, so it's possible that if you explained it again/more/differently I will understand your view better. As it stands, I'm not sure how a player can make our team better without seeing the field.


My point was that ""who will improve our team more?" is the more pertinent question. Adding an impact player who upgrades a position that's already solid can ultimately make the team better than adding a solid starter at a position where the team is currently using a journeyman. Another example: if a team relies heavily on certain positions due to scheme or just the general importance of that position, depth at those spots becomes extra important because the loss of a key starter and a precipitous drop in quality can be devastating. QB is the most obvious example. A really good backup QB might rarely see the field but if a championship-caliber team loses their starting QB, that quality backup can help them remain in contention. There are several examples of teams that needed to ask their backup QB to help them win the Super Bowl... and won. better to be one of them than last year's cardinals, who saw their chances go down the drain with Carson Palmer's injury.

A third example: a starting guard might see the field more than the third corner on the depth chart but if the team runs a defense that relies on a lot of man-to-man coverage, depth at corner may actually be more important to their overall success than that starting guard, even though he'll play more downs.

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Of course, neither of our opinions are going to matter at the end of the day, but as usual, I'm enjoying discussing his with you.


Thanks. Same here... I just wish it was easier to express myself on this. I never seem able to communicate my thoughts on the draft well. :(


Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:44 am
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
Mothman wrote:
DKSweets wrote:
Let's put it this way: would you prefer to add Ndamukong Suh to this team or Bobby Wagner? Suh is the better player, but it's not a huge margin. Wagner would be a bigger upgrade to the entire unit, though.


If we ignore character issues for the moment, I'd take Suh because I think finding a dominant interior lineman for a 4-3 defense is extremely difficult and ultimately more important.

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I'm not saying that they should completely rule out those positions either if an absolute steal falls to them. However, if there is a player of roughly equal caliber who would play one of the many positions I did not mention, why not kill two birds with one stone?


I tried to cover that in my previous post. My comment was specific to DTs but the idea is the same: it just depends on how much talent difference there is between the two players. If they're basically of equal caliber then it may make sense to select the player who fills a position of greater need, unless the other plays a more important position overall. Another factor could be who else is available at that position in the draft. If Players A and B are of equal caliber but the draft is thin at A's position and deep at B's position, maybe it makes more sense to take A, even if B fills a bigger hole on the current roster. Again, I think flexibility is important.

Quote:
I didn't say starters - I said players who would see the field. If we drafted a CB this year, they likely wouldn't be a starter. If we drafted a WR this year, they would likely not see a majority of snaps. Where I see the problem is having one position 4 players deep and then having other positions trot out journeyman players who have no right to start. Linval Joseph might not be an elite DT (I'm sticking with the DT discussion for simplicity) but I would prefer having him in the lineup (and Stephen for depth) much more than seeing Jasper Brinkley be our starter. We're still building depth, it's just not at one position. Depth is great, and I think we both value that; I just prefer it to be spread among as many positions as possible assuming we don't have a clear cut better player on the board.


Those clear cut better players are mainly what I'm talking about. For example, a team should never pass up Adrian Peterson just because they already have Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore. In the long run, that upgrade does them more good than going for a lesser player that fills a greater immediate need. When it comes to the draft, I think talent trumps need (within reason, of course) and it's best to take the long view.

Quote:
And I'll be honest with you, I might not be understanding that final point that you made. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, so it's possible that if you explained it again/more/differently I will understand your view better. As it stands, I'm not sure how a player can make our team better without seeing the field.


My point was that ""who will improve our team more?" is the more pertinent question. Adding an impact player who upgrades a position that's already solid can ultimately make the team better than adding a solid starter at a position where the team is currently using a journeyman. Another example: if a team relies heavily on certain positions due to scheme or just the general importance of that position, depth at those spots becomes extra important because the loss of a key starter and a precipitous drop in quality can be devastating. QB is the most obvious example. A really good backup QB might rarely see the field but if a championship-caliber team loses their starting QB, that quality backup can help them remain in contention. There are several examples of teams that needed to ask their backup QB to help them win the Super Bowl... and won. better to be one of them than last year's cardinals, who saw their chances go down the drain with Carson Palmer's injury.

A third example: a starting guard might see the field more than the third corner on the depth chart but if the team runs a defense that relies on a lot of man-to-man coverage, depth at corner may actually be more important to their overall success than that starting guard, even though he'll play more downs.

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Of course, neither of our opinions are going to matter at the end of the day, but as usual, I'm enjoying discussing his with you.


Thanks. Same here... I just wish it was easier to express myself on this. I never seem able to communicate my thoughts on the draft well. :(


On the contrary, I thought this post in particular was very elucidating. The draft is a complicated phenomenon. I suppose that is part of the reason why there are individuals that get paid to be experts on it!


Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:07 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
And I know the meaning of the word "elucidate". Thanks Texas Vike!

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Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:43 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
Texas Vike wrote:
On the contrary, I thought this post in particular was very elucidating. The draft is a complicated phenomenon. I suppose that is part of the reason why there are individuals that get paid to be experts on it!


Thanks. That's reassuring. I spent way too long on that post and still wasn't sure it was clear!

The draft is definitely complicated. There's a lot of info to consider and a lot of pressure to get an immediate return on investment.


Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:54 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
Lets just trade our first round pick for JJ Watt, our second round pick for Richard Sherman, and our fourth round pick for Aaron Rodgers. Simple enough.

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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
DKSweets wrote:
Lets just trade our first round pick for JJ Watt, our second round pick for Richard Sherman, and our fourth round pick for Aaron Rodgers. Simple enough.


That works for me!


Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:46 pm
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Post Re: Vikings seeking their pieces of eight at NFL combine
Mothman wrote:
DKSweets wrote:
Lets just trade our first round pick for JJ Watt, our second round pick for Richard Sherman, and our fourth round pick for Aaron Rodgers. Simple enough.


That works for me!

Okay, since we are throwing the house at players :lol: let's pick up Bobby Wagner for Charles Johnson in a straight up trade. :lol: :lol: :roll:

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