VikesCentric is written by Twin Cities football writers Bo Mitchell and Patrick Donnelly of SportsData, and Ted Carlson of TST Media. They are Twin Cities-based Vikings and NFL experts who crunch numbers, watch video and tell you what's on their minds.

Posts about Vikings

VikesCentric: What they gave up for Patterson

Posted by: Patrick Donnelly Updated: April 26, 2013 - 11:30 AM

The first round of the NFL Draft was a whirlwind on Thursday night. The Vikings got a gift when Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd fell to them at No. 23, and they got a replacement for Antoine Winfield in Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes at No. 25.

But the biggest story of the night was yet to come. The Vikings pulled off a deal with New England, sending four picks (Nos. 52, 83, 102 and 229) to the Patriots for the 29th pick, which they used to select Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

(One quick aside: The Purple needed a quality receiver for a couple of important reasons – to make up for the loss of Percy Harvin, and to give themselves the best chance possible to truly evaluate Christian Ponder this year. At the end of the 2013 season, they absolutely have to know whether Ponder is capable of being their franchise quarterback. Thus far, his rookie year was a wash due to the NFL lockout that robbed him of his first offseason, the presence of Donovan McNabb and late-season injury problems. Last year, it wasn't entirely clear whether Ponder's struggles were self-inflicted or caused by an anemic crop of receivers that became downright putrid when Harvin missed the last two months with an ankle injury. The additions of Greg Jennings and Patterson should remove any excuse for Ponder and allow the coaching staff to assess exactly what they've got in their third-year starter.)

The reaction to the Patterson trade was predictable. Fans gathered at Mall of America Field were beyond thrilled to see the Vikings maneuver back into the first round and grab a big-name player they could instantly envision slicing through opposing defenses in that slick new uniform. The national take was not as kind, in part because "four for one" always sets off alarms, and in part because the national media always swoons in the presence of Bill Belichick.

But what did the Vikings actually give up in that trade? The oft-cited Draft Trade Value Chart popularized by former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson in the early 90s has somewhat fallen out of favor among football insiders, but given that the talking heads on TV are usually about a decade late to the dance, you'll probably see the following breakdown at some point in the discussion:


Value to NE

Value to MIN



















So, pretty much a push, right? Factor in the Vikings' desperate need at wide receiver, and it makes even more sense to spend that draft capital on a potential impact player at that key position in a critical juncture for the franchise, with a likely make-or-break year for Ponder looming.

As for history, what kind of return can the Patriots expect on those picks? Or to put it another way, let's slap some names on those draft picks and see who was taken there in the last five years. Players in bold are considered likely starters heading into this year.

Pick No. 52






Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina


16 games, 68 tackles, 5.5 sacks


Marvin Austin, DL, North Carolina


7 games, 8 tackles, no starts


Jason Worilds, LB, Virginia Tech


42 games, 45 tackles, 10 sacks


David Veikune, DE, Hawaii


14 games, no starts, out of NFL


Quentin Groves, LB, Auburn


on 4th team in 6 years, 29 starts


Pick No. 83






Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers


8 games, 16 rec, 154 yds, 4 TDs


Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy


17 games, 3 rec, 22 yds, 0 TDs


Corey Peters, DT, Kentucky


2-year starter, lost job to injury


Brandon Tate, WR, North Carolina


solid PR/KR, 37 catches, 643 yards


Jeremy Zuttah, G, Rutgers


74 games, 60 starts


Pick No. 102






Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan St.


Solid backup to RGIII


Jordan Cameron, TE, Southern Cal


22 games, 20 rec, 226 yds, 1 TD


Darryl Sharpton, LB, Miami


27 games, 11 starts, 60 tackles


Donald Washington, DB, Ohio St.


32 games, 5 starts, out of NFL


Jeremy Thompson, DE, Wake Forest


15 games, 3 starts, out of NFL


Pick No. 229






Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas St.


564 yds, 4 TDs, filled in for McCoy


Jonathan Nelson, DB, Oklahoma


2 games, out of NFL


Eric Cook, C, New Mexico


6 games, no starts, out of NFL


Manuel Johnson, WR, Oklahoma


2 games, 1 catch, out of NFL


Cary Williams, DB, Washburn


2-year starter in BAL, now in PHI

Of course, the Patriots (like any organization) will argue that they'll do a better job of player evaluation and come up with a few diamonds in the rough, but the tables show that in the last five years, just 35 percent (7 of 20) of the players drafted in with the four picks the Vikings gave up for Patterson went on to become starters. That's not to say the Vikings robbed New England or vise-versa. We just wanted to lay out the facts and let you decide, rather than have one of the TV talking heads tell you who got the better end of the deal.

Patrick Donnelly is a Senior Editor at SportsData, a contributor to the 2012 Vikings Yearbook, and has covered the Vikings for, Viking Update and the Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @donnelly612.

VikesCentric: Up close with Vikings new uniforms

Posted by: Bo Mitchell Updated: April 25, 2013 - 7:07 PM

The Minnesota Vikings unveiled their sparkly new uniforms at their Draft Party Thursday night. Yeah, I know the uniform images were surreptitiously leaked all over the Internet earlier this week, but this was our first chance to get an up-close and personal look at the new outfits. If nothing else it was a good pre-draft diversion for those in attendance at Mall of America Field.

I think Vikings fans got what they wanted – a move away from the Denver Broncos-esque template toward an older, simpler time. But they didn't simply go back to a previous version; they gave the new uniform some refinements and flourishes. Had they gone even more modern, toward some Oregon Duck-inspired look, there would have been something of a revolt among the Vikings faithful. And had they attempted some sort of two-toned helmet fiasco akin to what the Jacksonville Jaguars unleashed on our ill-prepared eyeballs this week there likely would have been outright wailing and gnashing of teeth on the floor of the Metrodome.
Here are a few shots of the new threads. The first is from the Vikings. The last two are courtesy of Bo Mitchell photography (with a cameo appearance by KARE-11's Eric Perkins):


As you can see, the new uniforms have something of a throwback look. 

The overall feel is somewhat reminiscent of their old uniforms from the 1970s and 1980s, especially the pants stripe, which I tried to capture in the final photo below.

I thoroughly enjoy the matte helmet and black facemask. It gives the overall ensemble a more rugged feel… or something. I don't know; I'm just partial to the matte helmet as opposed to the shiny ones most teams are wearing right now. This is clearly a trend, though. A lot of teams will likely be going with the matte hats in years to come.
The uniform has a deeper purple, a step away from the nearly-lavender tones (under the wrong lighting) we've witnessed in the past. The gold trim seems sharper and a bit brighter, which is cool. They also did away with the gold "collars" from last year, thankfully. That look never really worked for me.
Personally, my favorite part of the new uniforms is the return of the purple pants for road uniforms.
I've been calling for the purple pants to make a triumphant and permanent comeback since they first disappeared decades ago. The Vikings dabbled with the purple pants a handful of seasons ago, but they suddenly disappeared as quickly as they reappeared, much to my chagrin.
Let's hope they are back to stay this time.
Speaking of the purple pants, there is a version of the uniform not pictured here that includes the pairing of purple pants and purple jersey – the full Barney look. I imagine this look will be saved for special occasions, but I do not have that confirmed.
The Vikes added some "curve appeal" to the new jerseys, and I'm not crazy about it. It's my only quibble. That's probably nit-picking, I realize. The striping on the sleeve is toned down and looks pretty sharp, but gets thicker and curves on the back of the jersey. I tried to capture this element on the final photo here – the one where he's talking to Perk. This shoulder stripe curving corresponds to the curving that you probably notice on the edge of the numbers (see the Adrian Peterson examples above). I get what they were going for here – something to do with the curved bow of a Viking ship. This curving will have to grow on me, though.
And with that, I think I've gone more in-depth on uniforms than I ever thought I would. I'll stop there.
I'm sure Vikings fans reading this post have plenty of opinions on the new uniforms so please feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comment section below. Do you like them or loathe them?
Most importantly to the Vikings and NFL, how quickly will you rush out and purchase yourself a new Vikings jersey?
Bo Mitchell is the VP of Content at SportsData
You can follow Bo on Twitter at @Bo_Mitchell

VikesCentric: Best and worst of the first round

Posted by: Patrick Donnelly Updated: April 24, 2013 - 1:16 PM

The Vikings have made 51 first-round draft picks dating back to their NFL debut in 1961. We're not going to rank all 51 of those picks because we don't have a death wish, but would you be interested in seeing the best and worst of those picks? If so, read on.

1. (tie) Carl Eller 6th overall pick, 1964
1. (tie) Alan Page
15, 1967
1. (tie) Ron Yary – 1, 1968
1. (tie) Chris Doleman
– 4, 1985
1. (tie) Randall McDaniel
– 19, 1988

Maybe that's a cop-out, but how do you rate one Pro Football Hall of Famer over another? You might look at value and say McDaniel was the best pick, or say that Page was the man because he won the NFL's MVP award, but honestly, you could make the case for ranking these five in any order and you'd get no argument here.

6. Adrian Peterson – 7, 2007
He's a sure-fire future Hall of Famer who only solidified those credentials with his super-human effort returning from a torn ACL to post the second-most rushing yards in a season in NFL history. He'll be up there within that top class the day his bust is unveiled in Canton.

7. Randy Moss – 21, 1998
Just like Peterson, you'll see Moss in a garish yellow blazer within the next decade. He gets a few demerits for not fully living up to his potential in Minnesota – seriously, he could have been the greatest receiver who ever lived had he cared enough to try on every play – but he changed the fortunes of the entire franchise the first day he took the field in Mankato.

8. Chuck Foreman – 12, 1973
Here's another player who revolutionized his position. Foreman never truly got the accolades he deserved nationally, perhaps because he was part of those Vikings teams that couldn't win the big one, but Jerry Burns' precursor to the West Coast offense wouldn't have been nearly as effective without Forman's unique rushing and pass-catching abilities.

9. Korey Stringer – 24, 1995
His career was tragically cut short after just six seasons, but he made a huge impact on the franchise in his too-brief time in Minnesota. Stringer had just made his first Pro Bowl and was emerging as a possible heir to McDaniel as the leader on the offensive line and in the locker room when he succumbed to heat stroke during training camp in 2001. His death not only sent the Vikings into a spiral – they missed the playoffs in six of the next seven seasons, after they'd made the postseason in eight of the previous nine years – but also triggered policy changes regarding practicing and playing in oppressive heat and humidity from youth football up to the NFL that has likely prevented numerous other fatalities.

10. Joey Browner – 19, 1983
A nine-year starter and six-time Pro Bowler, Browner was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. Plus, he had the strongest hands in the NFL – as Vikings fans were reminded every week by network announcers who thought they were breaking news – which he used to yank down opposing carriers and pick off 37 passes, fourth-most in team history.

11 through 46 – all kinds of great, good, mediocre and bad players, not to mention a few guys who remain works in progress (Matt Kalil, for one, has a great shot at cracking the top 10). But we're running out of pixels here, so let's dive into the five worst first-round picks in Vikings history.

47. D.J. Dozier – 14, 1987
His best season was his rookie year, when he rushed for 257 yards and five touchdowns. He wound up retiring from the NFL to play pro baseball. But his failure did arguably more damage to any franchise than any player in history, because if he'd delivered what the Vikings thought they were getting, they never would have made the Herschel Walker trade.

48. Derrick Alexander – 11, 1995
The Vikings needed a defensive lineman. They took Alexander, who finished his five-year NFL career with 164 tackles and 20 sacks. They passed on Warren Sapp, who finished his 13-year NFL career with 438 tackles, 96.5 sacks, and a bust in Canton. Oops.

49. Leo Hayden – 24, 1971
Who? That's right, the Vikings took a guy named Leo Hayden in the first round of the 1971 draft. He appeared in seven games as a rookie, never touched the ball, and washed out of the league two years later after an unremarkable stint with the Cardinals. Who did they pass up that year? Jack Ham, Dan Dierdorf and Ken Anderson, just to name a few better options.

50. Dimitrius Underwood – 29, 1999
Dennis Green infamously referred to Underwood as an "extra pick" acquired from Washington in exchange for Brad Johnson. Green obviously thought Underwood was worth the gamble, despite numerous red flags and unenthusiastic reports from his own coaches at Michigan State. Underwood showed up for training camp in battle fatigues, suggesting he was ready for combat, then walked out on the team after his first practice in Mankato, never to return.

51. Troy Williamson – 7, 2005
Underwood hurt the Vikings by not playing. Williamson hurt the Vikings by playing. His selection was a textbook overreaction on so many levels. The No. 7 pick came from the Raiders in the Moss trade, and they clearly felt pressure to use that pick to replace Moss. They reached for a receiver who looked great in shorts and a T-shirt at the NFL Combine but had one little problem that plagued him in his three years in Minnesota – he couldn't catch the ball. In 39 games here he caught 79 balls – and dropped at least half that many – despite numerous creative efforts to improve his vision, his hands and his route-running. They all failed, earning him the coveted title of the worst first-round pick in Vikings history.

Who'd we miss, good or bad? Let's hear about it in the comments.

Patrick Donnelly is a Senior Editor at SportsData, a contributor to the 2012 Vikings Yearbook, and has covered the Vikings for, Viking Update and the Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @donnelly612.

VikesCentric: The Vikings' first-round history at this year's 'need' positions

Posted by: Bo Mitchell Updated: April 23, 2013 - 11:50 AM

The countdown to the Thursday night start of the NFL Draft is officially on. No, we don't have an actual clock ticking down the seconds on the wall here at the SportsData offices, but I wouldn't be opposed to the idea. Then again, I'm sure NFL Network and ESPN will have one gracing the corner of their screen soon enough.

As the countdown winds down, Vikings fans and media members continue to speculate who the team will select with their bevy of picks. Most of the focus centers on four positions of need: wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and defensive line.
What's that? Teams don't draft for need? They just take the best player available regardless of position. Yeah, right. And Manti Te'o had a real online relationship with a real girl.
Speaking of Te'o, the whole catfish saga is water under the bridge as far as I'm concerned. It was all pretty dumb. He probably lied or made up some of it to cover his butt and I'm sure he was embarrassed by the whole mess. But who among us is proud of 100 percent of what they did during their college years? [crickets] If Te'o doesn't have some kind of compulsive lying disorder, I only care about whether he can play football. Likewise, if the Vikings or any other team think he can play, they likely won't downgrade him for the bizarre episode that played out last fall or the media frenzy that's sure to follow him this summer.
In fact, I would not be one bit surprised if Te'o were to wind up with the Vikings. And they'll have to take him with one of those first round picks if they want him, barring some trade maneuvers to move into the early second round.  I think he goes in round one.
The talk of linebackers, wide receivers, corners and d-linemen got the VikesCentric crew reflecting on past first-round picks the Vikings have spent on the aforementioned positions identified most often as their need positions.
Let's take a glance back at Vikings history, shall we?
Vikings First-round selections      
Defensive linemen Wide Receivers Linebackers Cornerbacks
Erasmus James (2005) Percy Harvin (2009) Chad Greenway (2006) D. Washington (1994)
Kenechi Udeze (2004) Troy Williamson (2005) Dwayne Rudd (1997)  
Kevin Williams (2003) Randy Moss (1998) Fred McNeill (1974)  
Chris Hovan (2000) Gene Washington (1967) Jeff Seimon (1972)  
Dimitrius Underwood (1999) Jack Snow (1965)    
Duane Clemons (1996)      
Derrick Alexander (1995)      
Gerald Robinson (1986)      
Chris Doleman (1985)      
Keith Millard (1984)      
Doug Martin (1980)      
Randy Halloway (1978)      
James White (1976)      
Mark Mullaney (1975)      
Alan Page (1967)      
Jerry Shay (1966)      
Carl Eller (1964)      
Jim Dunaway (1972)      
As you can see in the chart above, the Vikings have spent a lot of first-round picks on defensive linemen with varying degrees of success. The good includes three Hall of Famers (Eller, Page and Doleman) along with an All-Pro (Millard). The bad includes almost everyone else (I said almost), with special distinction going to Underwood as the worst Vikings draft pick of all time. In fact, the Vikings have spent more first-round draft picks on defensive linemen (18) than any position, but have not done so since Erasmus James in 2005. With Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen all entering the final year of their contracts, they may increase that number by one.
Here's a breakdown of Vikings first-round draft picks:
Vikings First-round selections by position      
3 10 5 7 18 4 1 2
An entire list of Vikings first-round picks can be found here.
If the Vikings do wind up taking Te'o, he will become just the fifth linebacker ever selected in the first-round by the team. Of the previous four linebackers selected, three turned out golden (Greenway, McNeill and Seimon). That's a nice precedent of success.
The Vikings history of first-round wide receivers has been all over the map: one bust (Williamson), one player who spent his entire career with a team other than the Vikings (Snow), one All-Pro who played just seven years (Washington)… and then the talented yet enigmatic Harvin and Moss.
The team's history at cornerbacks selected in the first-round is brief, as you can see. I had to double-check this one to be certain the count was correct. But it's true -- Dewayne Washington is the only cornerback the Vikings have ever selected in the first round. That's the lowest of any position aside from tight end, kicker and punter – on which they have never used a first-rounder.
Of course, none of this really matters to general manager Rick Speilman. I'm pretty certain he's not going to review the Vikings' first-round history by position and let it help dictate which players they'll select. It is, however, pretty interesting and pretty fun to look back at the breakdown. Besides, those among you who are card-carrying Vikings rubes might be able to use this data to stump your friends with some Vikings Draft Day trivia Thursday.
I'll see you at the Draft Party at Mall of America Field. Enjoy the festivities.
Bo Mitchell is the VP of Content at SportsData
You can follow Bo on Twitter at @Bo_Mitchell

VikesCentric: What uniform changes do you want to see?

Posted by: Patrick Donnelly Updated: March 31, 2013 - 1:05 AM

The news rocketed through the Internets this week – the Vikings will introduce a redesigned uniform at their 2013 Draft Party at Mall of America Field on April 25. Ever since the team overhauled their look in 2006 (aka Year 1 of the Wilf Regime) traditionalists have been grumbling about their space-age clown suits that look like rejects from an Arena Football League catalog. 

And let's face it – for the first 45 years in the Vikings' history, not much changed in their uniform set. Purple pants were briefly an option in the early 60s, the tint of the home jerseys seemed to lighten a bit over the years, and the stripes on the sleeve of the purple jerseys disappeared for a time. But that's about it. So a bit of resistance to the 2006 change was to be expected. 

But rumors are swirling that the new look will bring the team closer to the throwback versions they've worn from time to time in the last seven years. You know, the uniforms that generally set Twitter ablaze with Vikings fans saying they should wear them every week. 

Even though Nike is behind the redesign, the hope here is that the Vikings return to more of a classic look. If you can't wait until April 25, go to and sign up for an account that will allow you to leverage various forms of social media to earn sneak previews of the new uniforms. 

Here's a quick list of changes one life-long Vikings fan would like to see: 

1.     Get rid of the swooshes. I know, it's Nike, but the contrasting panels on the sides of the jerseys and the horn-like stripes down the sides of the pants scream "branding opportunity." Solid purple, solid white, with traditional purple-and-gold stripes on the pants, please.

2.     A darker shade of purple. The home jerseys look positively washed out compared to the glory days of the 1970s. Maybe they decided to lighten the tint when the team moved indoors, where the old lighting and dingy dome roof made every game feel like a night game, but come on – they're not the Lavender People Eaters. Besides, the current roof at the dome allows much more light to filter through, and they'll be outdoors for two seasons, so let's get back to the darker purple jerseys and helmets.

3.     Gray facemasks. For 20 years, the team was fine with gray facemasks. They dabbled with white for five years, but they've been purple since the mid-80s. But the gray cages look so sweet with those throwback jerseys. Just bring them back full-time.

4.     Black shoes. Did you know that the Vikings switched to white shoes in 1983? What else happened in 1983? Oh yeah … Les Steckel happened in 1983. The football gods clearly were not happy with the flashy footwear. The Wilfs brought back the black kicks in 2006, probably the only true improvement in that set of uniforms. Let's keep 'em.

5.     No more purple pants, at least for home games. I realize this is more of a regulation on the usage of the uniform components, but if the choice is no purple pants or the possibility that the Vikings taking the field looking like a giant bruise, I'll go with the first option. If they promise to only wear purple pants with their white jerseys … OK, I'm down with it. But please, let's not repeat this ever again. 

What changes do you want to see when the new uniforms are revealed on April 25? What do you like best and hate most about the different looks the Vikings have sported over the years? Leave your observations in the comments.  

Patrick Donnelly is a Senior Editor at SportsData, a contributor to the 2012 Vikings Yearbook, and has covered the Vikings for, Viking Update and the Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @donnelly612.

VikesCentric: Jennings' value (both real and fantasy) remain intact

Posted by: Bo Mitchell Updated: March 21, 2013 - 11:05 AM

The signing of Greg Jennings by the Minnesota Vikings represents decent value, even if you think five years and $48 million is fairly pricey. Face it, that's the market for wide receivers of his ilk. It's a more palatable contract than the five-year, $60 million deal that Mike Wallace signed for in Miami. It's also easier to swallow than the five-year, $56 million deal that Dwayne Bowe signed for in Kansas City this offseason or the five-year, $55.6 million Vincent Jackson was given by Tampa Bay last offseason.

Jennings is every bit as good as Jackson – even better in some aspects of his game. V-Jax is the better downfield threat (for now), but Jennings is more versatile, has better hands and is better after the catch. He's also eight months younger than Jackson. And I'd take Jennings any day of the week over Bowe, who's had exactly one great season surrounded by several inconsistent campaigns. Wallace is more explosive than any of the four receivers in this discussion, but he's the most one-dimensional and the least-accomplished. He's also the youngest of the bunch by a wide margin, but making him one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL was a stretch.
A year or two from now, comparable wide receivers will be getting paid even more in free agency. The sticker shock will wear off for all of the above.
In as much as the signing represents fair "real world" value for Jennings, it also represents sneaky value for him in another aspect that I know is near and dear to the hearts of many reading this: fantasy football.
The knee-jerk reaction to the Jennings move from many in the fantasy football industry was that it would severely hamper his fantasy value. The argument against Jennings is clear. He goes from catching passes in a pass-happy offense from Aaron Rodgers to catching passes in a run-first offense from Christian Ponder. That's a valid point, and not as much of a rip on Ponder (at least from my perspective) as it is a nod to Rodgers, who many (including yours truly) believe is the best quarterback in the NFL. From where I sit, Jennings was looking at a downgrade in quarterback quality by some degree regardless of where he decided to sign.
Based on the move west and the fact he's coming off his most injury-riddled seasons, many fantasy cheat sheets will have Jennings ranked outside their top-30 or maybe even top-40 wide receivers next summer.
That could make him a fantasy value.
To be certain, in those fantasy football drafts conducted in Minnesota amongst (presumably) a majority of Minnesota Vikings fans, Jennings' value will be inflated due to the homer factor. Elsewhere, that won't be the case.
Despite the drop-off in passing scheme – Rodgers led the NFL in passer rating once again in 2012, whereas the Vikings ranked 31st in passing offense – there is reason for optimism for Jennings based on where you might be able to draft him. First off, he's the big fish in a little lake rather than just one of many receiving mouths to feed in Green Bay's pond.
Jennings will be the Vikings' go-to guy in the passing game, and he will be spending most of his time in the flanker, or "Z" position, where Percy Harvin used to line up a lot. You saw last year what kind of catch-per-game rate Harvin was on prior to injuring his ankle. For that reason I foresee Jennings having the most value in poin-per-reception fantasy formats. His yards-per-catch will likely fall short of his 15.4 career average and he might not haul in 10 touchdowns for the third time in his career, but he will most certainly have value if he stays healthy.
Where would I draft him? Ideally, he'd be a very good WR3 or flex receiver on fantasy teams in standard-sized leagues. If he's your No. 2 receiver, you're going to want to draft some insurance in the form of a pretty good WR3.
Bo Mitchell is the VP of Content at SportsData and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.
You can follow Bo on Twitter at @Bo_Mitchell



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