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Continued: How the Vikings' 2012 draft class came to be

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 23, 2013 - 10:14 AM

But then at No. 62, Green Bay grabbed Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward. Three picks later, Montana’s Trumaine Johnson landed with St. Louis.

While securing Kalil and Smith on Day 1 had been ideal, the Friday board had not broken perfectly.

Anxiety surged.

“But,” Spielman said, “that’s the other big part of the draft — the patience. And making sure you stay in ‘Don’t panic’ mode.”

Missing out on Hayward and Johnson stung some. But Studwell recalled draft advice from former coach Dennis Green: “You’ve got to like a lot of guys.”

In the big picture, the Vikings still really liked and valued a 21-year-old from Conference USA, a young playmaker with good size, elite speed and plenty of upside.

From New York, former Vikings star Anthony Carter made the official announcement: “With the 66th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Josh Robinson, defensive back, Central Florida.”

Day 3: The passion priority

When Saturday arrived, the Vikings still owned nine picks in the final four rounds. Eventually, they made trades with Detroit and Tennessee to accumulate selections for 2013 while also filling out their 2012 class.

The game plan for the middle-to-later rounds revolved around finding potential, guys who could be immediate special teams contributors while working their way up the depth chart.

With that in mind, Spielman zeroed in on players with obvious passion, which is why the selections of Wright, Blanton, Audie Cole and especially Ellison resonated.

Over the years, Spielman has scrutinized his draft mistakes far more than he has ever celebrated his victories. He says he has learned to place greater value on guys to whom football means the most.

And sure, shortly after being picked in Round 4, Ellison asserted on a conference call that he never expected to be drafted at all. But the Vikings believe he might very well go down as the most underrated selection of a potentially special draft.

In addition to his blocking ability and versatility, Ellison’s work ethic, selfless attitude and enthusiasm surfaced during his interview at the combine followed by a more intimate visit with the Vikings at Southern California when the team went to lock in on Kalil.

“You can see that passion on film. You can get that from talking to your sources,” Spielman said. “We get it from our psychological testing. But then you can really nail it down once you sit there and look the kid square in the eye. … You wait for that little bit that really resonates.”

The exclamation point: late-round luck

No pick from the Vikings’ 2012 draft created more immediate head scratching than the sixth-round selection of Blair Walsh.

Really? With so many holes, the Vikings were using a sixth-round pick on a kicker? And not just a kicker, but a guy who missed 14 field goals as a Georgia senior? At a position where 15-year veteran Ryan Longwell had been ultrareliable?

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Houston - LP: D. Keuchel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 4
Detroit - LP: D. Price 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 1
Arizona - LP: O. Perez 0 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 1
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wada 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 8 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: D. Holmberg 0
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 2 FINAL
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 0
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 3
San Diego - LP: T. Ross 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 2
Pittsburgh 21 FINAL
Philadelphia 31
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
Montreal 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Washington 73 FINAL
Indiana 78
San Antonio 84 FINAL
Minnesota 88

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