Search this site
Junior College Football
NFL Free Agents
2011 draft class will need to contribute
Chris Cook (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Posted Feb 17, 2011
Last year, the Vikings were returning every starter and their draft class was seen as a draft for depth. This year, some of the Vikings’ rookies very well may be asked to start from the get-go.
A year ago, from the sound of things, Rick Spielman didn’t have a lot to prove. Between the drafts the Vikings had executed the previous few years and the free-agent signings and trades that added to the mix, the Vikings were in the enviable position of returning all 22 starters – a feat nearly unprecedented in the NFL.
Spielman bristles at the notion that the Vikings drafted for depth, but what else could it be viewed as by Vikings fans? They had 22 starters returning – 25 if you consider
as special-teams starters – as well as a ton of key backups and special-teams players. But Spielman said they weren’t looking for immediate starters – just players that could blend in with the team and contribute to the betterment of the team in the short-term and be bigger contributors over time.
“Last year’s draft was done because we had everybody back,” Spielman said. “It was done for I wouldn’t say depth. It was done for the future. When you had as much depth as we had – you had the veteran roster we had – those guys were going to be role players for you. We had some injuries and some guys had to step in.”
However, despite the lack of anticipated production from the rookie class, the Vikings ended up getting a lot of contributions from the Class of 2010 – clearly an unexpected result, but, in a season that few things went right, it was one of the few pleasant surprises of an otherwise disappointing season.
“When the guys did step in, we were very excited about some of the stuff
showed at the end of the season and how he progressed (from) his first start to where he was at the end of the season,” Spielman said. “
(became the starting QB).
got better and better as the season went along. Everyone can see the Green Bay game, but what
did in those other games when he played against the Calvin Johnsons of the world, we were very encouraged about the signs he showed. We’re pretty excited about the class last year.
and what he showed on special teams and some of the stuff he did coming off the edge as a pass rusher. They didn’t have as many opportunities as some of the veterans we had in front of them. Those guys we are relying on next year to take that step, plus what’s coming in with this year’s draft class.”
This time around? It would seem things are going to be very different. The Vikings have six starters that are free agents (Favre,
) and several other veterans, including Longwell. There are going to be a lot of changes and the 2011 draft may well take on a much different tone. The guys taken this year will be asked to compete for starting jobs for the opposite reason the Class of 2010 wasn’t. There are going to be job openings that didn’t exist a year ago, which should make the preparation plan something Spielman can execute with the anticipation of more immediate results.
“I would say it’s exciting – very exciting,” Spielman said. “Last year, we didn’t do a lot because you brought back almost everybody from that team the year before. This year, you’re going to have to bring in new players and younger talent. It’s exciting. It’s a challenge I know is something the coaches and our scouts – (Scott) Studwell with our colleges – we’re sitting there hacking at all these guys. Does this guy kind of fit now and where is the role he’s going to be? With so many guys potentially not being here next year, these guys are going to have to step up and fill in and play for you.”
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for
Viking Update on Twitter
and discuss this topic on our
. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine,
No Second Rounder a Pain for Panthers
Feb 17, 2011
Vikings consider all options with first pick
Feb 16, 2011
Spielman: Don’t discount Webb
Feb 16, 2011
Subscribe today and get a full year of
Viking Update Magazine
with an annual Total Access Pass.
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from VikingUpdate.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a
list of all Team Newsletters
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to
Football > Minnesota
View My HotList
Places to go:
Junior College Football
Things to do:
Things to buy:
Things to know:
Terms of Service
Advertise on MSN
About our ads
© 2013 Microsoft