Everyone from the expert-level draftnik to the most casual Vikings fan has discussed the Vikings' No. 3 overall pick ad nauseam. But what about the team's nine other picks? What might a team with numerous holes to fill do on Days 2-3 of this month's NFL draft? Access Vikings is taking a round-by-round look at the team's history in Rounds 2-7 since Rick Spielman began overseeing the team's draft preparation as director of player personnel in 2007. We'll also take a look at players Spielman, now the team's general manager, might select later this month.
TODAY'S ROUND: 7.
VIKINGS' PICKS: 210th and 223rd overall.
SINCE 2007: Seven in the magic number. The Vikings have made seven picks in the seventh-round since 2007. Six of those players are still in the NFL, five with the Vikings and Tyler Thigpen hanging around in Buffalo.
1, Jamarca Sanford, S, Mississippi, 231st overall, 2009: Look, Sanford may never be a secondary standout. But seventh-round picks have an uphill battle just to make the team. And last season, Sanford started 15 games at strong safety. While the Vikings would love to return him to a reserve role with an upgrade in talent at the position, Sanford remains a solid special teams contributor.
1, Tyler Thigpen, QB, Coastal Carolina, 217th overall, 2007: The Vikings quickly signed Thigpen after the 2007 draft and let him compete with fellow quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger and Drew Henson during training camp. They released him after the preseason with the hopes of adding him to the practice squad. But the Chiefs swept in and scooped him up immediately. Thigpen then made 11 of his 12 career starts for Kansas City in 2008.
2, Chandler Williams, WR, Florida International, 233rd overall, 2007: Small but fast, Williams didn’t make it past training camp in 2007 with the Vikings and has had subsequent stints on practice squads in Miami, Atlanta and Kansas City. He’s currently on the roster with the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League.
TO BE DETERMINED: 4.
1, Mickey Shuler, TE, Penn State, 214th overall, 2010: The Vikings’ hopes of stashing Shuler on the practice squad early in the 2010 season were foiled when Miami intervened and snagged the tight end for their active roster. The Vikings’ got their hands back on Shuler late last season and will give him a chance to figure into the tight end equation in 2012.
2, Ryan D’Imperio, LB, Rutgers, 237th overall, 2010: Drafted as a linebacker, D’Imperio was converted into a fullback last season and saw action in 12 games. The Vikings’ recent free agent signings of fullbacks Lex Hilliard and Jerome Felton indicate D’Imperio may be pushed into a lesser role in 2012.
3, D’Aundre Reed, DE, Arizona, 215th overall, 2011: The Vikings insist they love Reed’s promise, intrigued by his quickness and positive energy. Yet as a rookie, he was part of a rare NFL occurrence, remaining on the 53-man roster all season yet declared inactive on game day for all 16 contests.
4, Stephen Burton, WR, West Texas A&M, 236th overall, 2011: Burton, a practice squad member at the start of his rookie year, had two catches for 38 yards in a Week 13 loss to Denver in December, his only offensive production. Assuming the Vikings add depth at receiver through the draft this month, Burton may face an uphill climb to remain in the mix.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH IN ROUND 7, 2012:
1, Jaymes Brooks, OL, Virginia Tech: If the Vikings want to add depth to the o-line with their final picks, they may zero in on a pair of Virginia Tech players who have shown promise during the pre-draft process. Brooks is 6-foot-2, 310 pounds and can play both guard and center. Hokies teammate Blake DeChristopher can play both tackle and guard and reportedly has least piqued the interest of Vikings’ assistant o-line coach Ryan Silverfield.
2, Cyhl Quarels, S, Wake Forest: A big-hitting safety who is fantastic in run support, Quarels has special teams value as well. He’s big (6-1, 213 pounds) and has the skill set to flourish in a zone system.
3, D’Anton Lynn, CB, Penn State: Lynn is exactly the kind of hybrid defensive back the Vikings plan to take a long look at, a decent cornerback with the size and skills to potentially make a move to safety. He’s polished fundamentally and has a good understanding of the game.
4, Lavonn Brazill WR, Ohio: His ability to make plays on the ball give Brazill some potential value as a field-stretching deep threat. If the Vikings are still searching for receivers in Round 7, Brazill is at least worth a glance.
5, Brandon Marshall, ILB, Nevada: A starter during all four years of his college career, Marshall is a reliable tackler who plays with obvious energy and hustle.