Our evaluation at the end of this Vikings season, as it pertained to this year's crop of rookies, was fairly optimistic. Sharrif Floyd made progress as the season went on, and he seems capable of taking over a tackle spot if Kevin Williams departs. Xavier Rhodes was by far the team's best corner -- faint praise, but still. And Cordarrelle Patterson proved to be an electric playmaker who should only get better with age.
But were we making a mistake by only focusing on the team's three first-round picks? After all, the key to building a winning team isn't just hitting on what should be higher-percentage draft selections. Rather, it's finding depth in the lower rounds to fill out a 53-man roster that will inevitably be dinged by injuries and underperformance.
To that end, Mel Kiper Jr. makes some good points in a recent re-grading of the 2013 NFL draft for all 32 teams. Writing about the Vikings, whom Kiper initially gave a "B" grade after draft night, he has combed back through their picks and changed his grade to a "C+" now that we've had a season to evaluate the impact of the players. Per Kiper (Insider required):
If you say the Vikings got a lot of reps from their rookie class in this draft, let's just keep one thing in mind: They drafted three times in Round 1. Considering they had some holes and depth questions at several spots, it's a given they were going to get some guys who should be playing early. But they also needed decent impact, and so far I think it's fair to say we don't yet know what they have. I loved the Floyd pick, but he's just been solid depth behind Kevin Williams. I think Rhodes will be a pretty good NFL corner, but he had his share of hiccups and was a liability early in the season. Patterson was dynamic in the return game, but he was more of a tertiary threat in the passing game. I think he'll grow there, however, as we knew he needed some refinement as a route runner, and QB play in Minny was a mess. The Vikes also got a good punter, but that's it. They did get players, but the return is marginal so far given the pick placement they had, so I think they drop a little.
Agree? Disagree? Your thoughts, please, in the comments.