Recap And Initial Reaction

The 2009 NFL Draft, which is basically Christmas for football fans, ended a few hours ago and the Vikings definetly made a splash.  Here we’re going to give intitial reactions to each of the Vikings five new players:

Percy Harvin, wide receiver, Florida, pick 22, first round

THE GOOD:  Harvin is always dangerous with the ball in his hands.  He practically single-handedly won Florida their most recent championship, and should be able to provide the Vikings with an explosive playmaker to prevent defenses from stacking the line to stop Adrian Peterson.

THE BAD:  Harvin comes with a pretty bad rap.  While most of his worst situations occured during high school, he also recently failed his drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine which he knew was coming.  This means that one slip up of any sort and the commissioner is likely to give him a suspension.

THE UNKNOWN:  Harvin has had some injury issues throughout his football career to date.  Durability was a big knock on him coming into the draft, and now it is a wait and see game to see how big of an issue it is really going to be.  Remember, durability was the big knock against Adrian Peterson in 2007 as well.

QUOTE FROM DRAFT DAY:  “I do think that I am one of the most explosive receivers and I think there a lot of things that I could bring to a team because I can line up in the backfield and as a slot and as an out.”

HIGHLIGHT REEL (click here)  

GRADE:  “C”          There is no denying that Harvin could become a premier player with his game changing abilities, but he also runs the risk of doing more damage than good if his character flaws come out again.  For now a “C” until he earns the respect of Minnesota fans.  The fact that he was choosen over offensive tackle Michael Oher is another reason why I didn’t give the Vikings a higher grade here.

Phil Loadholt, offensive tackle, Oklahoma, pick 54, second round

THE GOOD:  This pick is great because of its potential to be an immediate and huge upgrade at the right tackle side of the line.  Loadholt is a monster of a man that excels at run blocking, which puts Adrian Peterson into immediate consideration for MVP before the season even begins.

THE BAD:  Loadholt struggles with the mental aspects of the position and has a tendancy to draw penalties.  While he should be an overall upgrade to Ryan Cook, fans should expect a fair share of flags being thrown on Loadholt as well.

THE UNKNOWN:  Many thought that Loadholt was too big and wasn’t refined enough in his technique and footwork to fit well into the Vikings zone-blocking scheme.  Obviously the Vikings think he’ll do just fine.

QUOTE FROM DRAFT DAY:  “I played right tackle at the Senior Bowl and some in junior college. I’m very comfortable on the right side and I’m looking forward to it.”

HIGHLIGHT REEL (click here)

GRADE: “A-”          Loadholt was not really expected to fall to the Vikings in the second round, but quite a few of the top tackle prospects fell.  It is obvious that he is one of the most impressive tackle prospects as far as measurables go, and after visiting with Loadholt multiple times the Vikings obviously felt like he is the right fit.  Loadholt should become an instant starter and be a dominant tackle for years to come.

Asher Allen, cornerback, Georgia, pick 86, third round

THE GOOD:  Allen will provide another cornerback option for the Vikings behind Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield.  As it stands now, Griffin is the only corner on the roster that doesn’t see his contract expire next year, so Allen will provide some long term stability to the position.  He also did a bit of return work in college.

THE BAD:  At 5′ 9″ and 190 lbs. Allen seems a little small.  Also, his speed is definetly not on the elite level.  My initial reaction was that the Vikings drafted him to jump into the nickle spot, but something tells me he’ll have trouble beating out Charles Gordon and he’ll be a dime back this year.

THE UNKNOWN:  Allen proved he was a tough player by playing with a broken hand.  He claims his hand is heeled, and some speculate he’d have been a first day pick if it weren’t for the injury.  We will have to see if it affects his ability to compete during training camp.

QUOTE FROM DRAFT DAY:  “Having a good character and good grades and things like that. I thought those things were going to be able to take me up a little bit higher but you never know what happens in those [draft] rooms and how they come up with their decisions.”

HIGHLIGHT REEL (click here)

GRADE: “B-”          By drafting Allen, the Vikes added their ninth cornerback to the roster.  I don’t really see what Allen brings to the table that guys like Benny Sapp, Charles Gordon, and Karl Paymah don’t already possess.  In fact, I couldn’t even find a highlight reel for the undersized corner.  That being said, Allen is thought to be a tough and skilled player at the position.  While he’ll never be quite as good as Winfield, he plays a similar game.

Jasper Brinkley, linebacker, South Carolina, pick 150, fifth round

THE GOOD:  Brinkley has a big 6′ 2″ and 250 lbs. frame accompanied by solid playing speed.  If it weren’t for injury, Brinkley would’ve been a lock as a day one pick after the 2007 season.  His work ethic and determination are pretty impressive, and he’s exactly the type of hard nosed player the Vikings can feel confident to have backing up E.J. Henderson.  He also has the versatility to fill in at the other linebacker spots if need be.

THE BAD:  As I mentioned, Brinkley was knocked out of the 2007 season after a gruesome knee injury.  While he came back and semi-proved himself in 2008, it remains to be seen if he can truly get back and play at the level he was at before the injury.  Also, injuries like this run the risk of reoccuring, which would be devestating to his career.

THE UNKNOWN:  Surprising for a guy of his size, Brinkley seems to be less of a physical player than you would expect.  I don’t know if this is posssibly just a “gun shy” reaction to his injury or if it is just the way he plays.  Regardless, he’s going to have to get over that real quick to be successful in the NFL. 

QUOTE FROM DRAFT DAY:  “I got to full speed toward the end of the year, you could tell by the way my performance showed – my tackles and sacks started to increase.”

HIGHLIGHT REEL (click here)

GRADE: “A”          As far as I’m concerned, trading up to snag this kid was one of the smarter moves the Vikings front office made all day.  Linebacker depth was a definite need, and Brinkley has tremendous value for a fifth round pick in that respect.  Do not be surprised to see him make an immediate impact on special teams, and eventually become a starter in this league.

Jamarca Sanford, safety, Mississippi, pick 231, seventh round

THE GOOD:  The Vikes desperatly needed to address the depth at the safety position, and they manage to do a pretty good job of it with only using a seventh rounder.  Sanford ran a great forty time of 4.43 at his pro day.  He should provide an exciting amount of speed on the special teams coverage unit.  If you combine that with his solid tackling skills, he might just be able to give Heath Farwell a run for his money as the special teams team-MVP this season.

THE BAD:  This guy is another character concern for the Vikings.  In 2003 he was arrested for stealing a car stereo and was arrested again just over one year ago for disorderly conduct and failure to comply.  The trend of the Vikings taking risks on character players is worrisome to many fans, and here’s to hoping that they all, including Sanford, can put their troubles behind them.

THE UNKNOWN:  While the depth at safety was needed, this is primarily a special teams pick.  Sanford is not a great option for being a primary backup to Madieu Williams, as he is quite under-sized and is not a refined cover guy.  Time will tell if Sanford is capable of starting at safety, but all initial indications are that the Vikings wouldn’t prefer to have to resort to that.

QUOTE FROM DRAFT DAY:  “I really feel like that’s something every young kid goes through growing up. You’re going to make a few mistakes but the biggest thing is you have to learn from your mistakes. That’s something that I did. I just really make better decisions.”

NO HIGHLIGHT REEL AVAILABLE

GRADE: “B+”           Again, this is a pick that carries great value.  There is no reason why Sanford shouldn’t have gone in an earlier round, so the Vikings got a real steal here.  The fact that he was made captain on his team suggests that his character concerns really are buried in the past, and that the Vikings had a very solid prospect fall right into their laps late in the game.

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13 Responses to “Recap And Initial Reaction”

  1. We had a pre-draft interview with Brinkley and came away very impressed:

    Jasper Brinkley Q&A With PD

  2. G.P. says:

    Excuse me,but, I think your musings on Asher Allen are incorrect. His compact size is obviously not an issue as he has never let it stop him from making a tackle (142 during his time at Georgia) or playing a very physical game. Antoine Winfield is himself 5-9 180 hardly, what I would consider massive. Allen is fluid in his movements, cuts his hips well, and is dedicated to his craft. There is more to football then sheer size. There is football IQ and work ethic both key components in playing football well. Allen posses great instinct and has the ability to read the field. Football is just as much about one’s mental capabilities as it is their physical prowess. Asher Allen is not weak by any means. In terms of speed he does just fine running the 40 yard dash in 4.33 seconds at Georgia’s Pro Day. I suggest you do your research before making such premature judgments about someone’s abilities. I found a highlight reel of Allen rather easily. Either you lack Internet savvy or you just didn’t look too hard. Asher Allen is capable of playing the role of CB as well if not better than Antoine Winfield. Have you ever actually watched him play? A player’s potential to excel in the NFL cannot be determined by a few days observation or the opinion of one blatantly jaded, pseudo sports writer. Dynamite comes in small packages and Allen is no one’s dime back. Let the “supposedly” difficult to find footage speak for itself.

    http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=asher+allen+&n=21&ei=utf-8&js=1&fr=yfp-t-501-s&fr2=tab-web&tnr=20&vid=0001525598089

  3. Adam Warwas says:

    G.P.,

    Thank you for the link to the Asher Allen footage. The video you give was posted about 4 weeks after I wrote this post, but I am sure you are right and that I could’ve tried harder to find one.

    I’m guessing you have some close ties to the Georgia program or Allen himself, and respect your first hand (but probably biased) opinion greatly. In fact, I’m thrilled to hear you talk so highly of him. I wish the best for Allen while he is with the Vikings.

    My point was simply that he seems like more of the same on the Vikings roster, and that I feel if they were going to go corner it needed to be the bigger guy because that’s what they’re missing. But you are correct, having the ability to stick the foot in the turf and get a couple feet in the air in a split second cannot be uder-estimated.

    While I’ll never deny that I’m not the world’s most savvy internet user and that, yes, I am a pseudo sports writer I stand by my opinion stated above. I may be proven wrong, and hope I am, but if pro scouts thought as highly of Asher as you do, and thought he will play better than Winfield, then he would’ve been a 1st round pick, not a third rounder.

    So, in short, I fail to see how speculating on some of his short-comings, as I did with every draft pick, is any less founded than speculating that he’ll be a better corner than Winfield. History has shown that measurables do matter, and that guys like Antoine Winfield are the exception, not the rule.

    I know football, I agree with everything you said about mental vs. physical, I have seen Asher play, and I feel that scouting just happens to be my particular strength when it comes to football and stand by my opinion. In fact, I still predict that Asher is the Vikings dime back this year.

    Like I said I hope I’m wrong, but I’m giving analysis at face value here, which is always just one persons opinion. I never intended to offend anyone with mine.

    I hope Asher recovers from his injury quickly so that we can see what he’s got during training camp! Thank you for stopping in and commenting, I hope you will come back and do some more of it… maybe even come back to feed me some crow when Allen wins the starting spot.

    Best Wishes

  4. G.P. says:

    As the old saying goes, “When you assume, you make a butt out of you and me.” You guessed that I have close ties with Asher Allen. If by close ties you mean I’m an avid fan of players with raw talent and passion for the art that is football, then yes, I whole- heartedly admit I have close ties. If by biased, you mean I support people who consistently give it their all on the field, then yes I am biased.

    In the spirit of good journalism, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that checking your facts and remaining objective are essential elements in good writing both of which you seemed to have forgotten. The last time I checked, the month of March precedes the month of April. The highlight reel was published March 14th 2009; your post in April. I suggest you refer back to the date conveniently posted at the top of the video. I would feel awful if you made an egregious error like that again and I did nothing to call it to your attention.

    I wrote you good sir, not because of “close ties” as you so eloquently put it but because you made a rather presumptuous statement and I quote, “While he’ll never be quite as good as Winfield, he plays a similar game.” Unless your name is Merlin or you have a crystal ball or perhaps wrote The Ten Commandments, you have no way of predicting the type of player he’ll be. I would defend any player who was subject to such critical and absurd remarks. I merely wrote that Allen had the capability to play the game equally as well if not better than Winfield, not that he would. The central premise in that statement was that Asher Allen has skills and anything is possible. I’m sorry I thought that statement was clear and concise not realizing that for some it required an in-depth explanation.

    Obviously, scouts and sports analysts alike saw Allen’s potential or else they would not have drafted him in the third round. Let me repeat, “the third round. “ There were plenty of players whose bodies were injury free who still, didn’t manage to go in the third.

    I could say that the reason you made such a bold and unfounded statement is because you are a naïve and inexperienced neophyte passing himself off as a blogger but because I know better than to infer, assume, or “guess” about someone’s background, I won’t. Should be a great season. Go Vikes!

  5. Adam Warwas says:

    G.P.

    I stand corrected on the date of the video. And thanks again for posting the link, it is impressive footage of a fine young man who I really do hope pans out as a long term solution for the Vikings at cornerback.

    My credentials (or lack thereof) are clearly posted on our staff page. I have no problem with you preffering to read people’s work that are more qualified than myself. Feel free.

    I did assume that G.P. is a clever moniker that refers to G.P. Burdell, by the way. He just happens to be a legendary character that started as ficticious person being enrolled at Georgia Tech back in 1927. According to some of my admittedly sketchy fact checking, G.P. is often introduced to incoming freshmen as one of the school’s most elite alumni in history and that students from both Georgia Tech and UGA use as an alias when they (for whatever reason) don’t want to reveal their true identity. Now, I guess I was wrong to assume that you using the moniker G.P. in a comment about a Georgia-born player who played high school ball in Georgia and also was a Georgia Bulldog meant that you were, perhaps, biased towards, you know… Georgia. I apologize for assuming.

    You are obviously someone who knows a lot about Allen (especially for apparently not having any specific ties to UGA) and I would be glad to hear more about the kid, or any other players whom I have innaccurately described above. In fact, [email protected] is my email address and it would be a pleasure to post a “guest article” if you wanted to set the record straight.

    Again, I appreciate your insight.

  6. G.P. says:

    Well my dear Sherlock, you are right about one thing: I do have a wealth of Asher Allen knowledge. However, the extent of my knowledge does not extend past what anyone could read on the Internet. It’s a wonderful thing the World Wide Web. Imagine, with just the click of a mouse, facts and figures are at your finger tips. Regardless of certain ego driven misconceptions, I’d like to state that I know my fair share about not only Asher Allen but football in general. My love for all things sports related far surpasses one man and his stats and figures. I must reiterate the idea that I chose to defend Allen so fiercely because I felt your statement about his potential to excel in the NFL was definitive. When you say “never” you are making a statement that very few are qualified to make. While you were critical of other players, you were definitive about Allen. This and this alone prompted me to question your ability to see the bigger picture. In my opinion, it is essential that every good want-to-be sports analyst, pseudo sports writer, or part-time sports blogger take the time to review, reflect, and check before taking it upon themselves to judge any player’s entire career potential. Lack of credentials does not warrant rude behavior. I appreciate your offer to guest-write and will take you up on your generosity when time permits. I want to be thorough and produce good work to further showcase the illustrious talents of this year’s rookie class. They are all working hard to contribute to the Vikings’ success.
    P.S. below is a link to Jamarca Sanford’s combine profile page; off to the right- hand side is a video of his combine workout.

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/2009/profiles/jamarca-sanford?id=71459

  7. Adam Warwas says:

    Well, my dear Watson, I will take your non-denial of the origins of your screen-name as confirmation that you are either student or faculty of either Georgia Tech or UGA (I lean towards the latter of each), am I correct? Not only that, but choosing to use “G.P.” as your moniker on a three month old article shows a lot of school spirit, yes? And in some low-brow circles like the ones I’ve been known to run in, school spirit could potentially be percieved as a biased opinion, no? But don’t fret over that while writing, Vikings Gab never promises to adhere to those previously mentioned journalistic integrity standards, as opinion is very much a part of the way we do things here… for better or worse.

    I do regret using such absolute terms about Allen, and agree with your assessment. He very well could turn out to be better than Winfield in which case my opinion (which is one of the many categories this post is labeled under at the top of the article) would be wrong and I’d be more than happy to admit it. However, I try to write a balanced response to Vikings on-goings, without being too much of a homer, and would not want to mis-lead the Vikings faithful about my opinion on matters by making absolute statements like, “Allen is no one’s dime back,” when I simply do not think it is true.

    Could Ryan Leaf make a huge comeback and become the greatest quarterback ever? Well, the “anything is possible” side would say you can’t rule it out… but I am willing to rule that out and say so based on my assessment of things. Doesn’t mean I’m right or wrong, just means it’s my assessment.

    Thanks for the link, and thanks for taking up the offer on writing a guest article. I would also like to say that while you seem to be taking this a little more seriously than I, I do appreciate the insight, and also the challenge to do better.

    While blogging about the Vikings doesn’t pay the bills (or for a cup of coffee)and may not always recieve the TLC it deserves from me, I do take pride in my work and want readers to be satisfied as “customers.” The fact that you are not satisfied does make me look for ways to do better, and your insight is genuinly taken to heart, regardless of who you are, how much school spirit you have, or what your motives were for tracking down an old blog post about Asher Allen.

    If Asher Allen has, as I possibly suspect, turned you into a Vikings fan as a result of his time spent at Georgia, then that makes him that much more valuable to the team in my book.

  8. […] once got into a little scuffle with a reader in the comments section of my Vikings 2009 draft grades because I said Asher Allen would be a dime back this year.  My […]

  9. […] where he was known for his big hits and also for recovering from injuries himself.  Here is what I had to say about Brinkley shortly after the Vikings drafted him: Jasper Brinkley, linebacker, South Carolina, […]

  10. […] where he was known for his big hits and also for recovering from injuries himself.  Here is what I had to say about Brinkley shortly after the Vikings drafted him: Jasper Brinkley, linebacker, South Carolina, […]

  11. […] I was disappointed when the Vikings selected Asher Allen in the third round (which sparked this epic argument between me and G.P. in the comments section) mainly because I felt the Vikings needed to find some […]

  12. […] I was disappointed when the Vikings selected Asher Allen in the third round (which sparked this epic argument between me and G.P. in the comments section) mainly because I felt the Vikings needed to find some […]

  13. […] remember giving the selection of Percy Harvin in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft a “C” grade due mostly to the character concerns following him out of […]

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