Note: We continue our series on the Vikings' third-day draft picks.
Numerous mock drafts predicted the Vikings would take a defensive end in the first round of the draft.
That’s largely because of the depth of prospects at that position and the fact most assume Vikings left end Ray Edwards will leave in free agency.
Edwards situation is complicated because of the labor uncertainty, but his comments to our colleague Mark Craig in a story last week left little doubt that he hopes to play elsewhere next season.
But the Vikings did not take a defensive end until the seventh round when they selected Arizona’s D’Aundre Reed, who appears to be a raw project.
Reed started only seven games in three seasons at Arizona. That’s because he played in a three-man rotation with Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore, both of whom also were drafted last week.
D’Aundre Reed finished his career with 43 tackles and four sacks.
“I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Reed said. “I have so much more to show. That’s another reason I am excited to go to the next level and show what else I can do.”
The Vikings sent assistant defensive line coach Diron Reynolds to Arizona before the draft for a private workout with all three Wildcat defensive ends. The fact that Reed (6-4, 258 pounds) was not a starter in college and played in a rotation probably makes him a developmental player at this point.
“It was hard because he was in that rotation down there at Arizona and where you noticed him is whatever clicked from that USC game, he really started playing lights out,” Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said. “He’s a 6-4 body, he’s a really good athlete. He can play the left side, the right side, they even slid him inside some as a nickel rusher but again, we’ve always tried to focus on guys that have some athletic skills that our coaches can work with and try to develop and he fit that mold.”
It’s hard to know what to predict from Reed at this point because of his limited college resume, but the Vikings are intrigued by his athleticism and potential.
“It was a pretty good rotation [at Arizona] but I knew what I could do in my heart so I knew I just had to keep working hard and put it on tape and people would see what I could do on tape,” Reed said. “The tape doesn’t lie. That’s what I wanted to focus on, just keep working hard and put it out on tape.”