Hartman: Extra draft picks will help Vikings rebuild

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2011 - 10:10 AM

If the team can do as well selecting players as they did in the 2010 draft, filling the roster holes will be easier.

One positive thing for the Vikings is they will have three extra draft choices in the 2012 draft, for a total of 10, and the possibility that two of the extra choices could be fourth-round picks.

The Vikings are projected to get a fourth-round choice for wide receiver Sidney Rice, who signed with Seattle as a free agent, and another fourth-rounder for defensive end Ray Edwards, who signed with Atlanta.

Those picks will replace the sixth-round choice they gave Washington for quarterback Donovan McNabb. The Vikings also are projected to get a sixth-round pick for trading defensive end Jayme Mitchell to Cleveland.

A good draft similar to 2010, which has turned out pretty well, and the Vikings will at least partially fill some of the holes in their roster. Getting a lot of experience this year include quarterback Christian Ponder (first-round pick), tight end Kyle Rudolph (second), defensive tackle Christian Ballard (fourth), cornerback Brandon Burton (fifth), safety Mistral Raymond and offensive lineman Brandon Fusco (both sixth round) and wide receiver Stephen Burton (seventh).

Senjem favors stadium

It appears the Vikings have a stadium friend in newly elected Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, who has been friends with the Wilfs since they became owners of the team and has been very supportive of finding a solution to the stadium issue, according to Vikings vice president Lester Bagley.

Speaking about a possible Vikings stadium on Minnesota Public Radio on Wednesday, Senjem said: "I think we have to give it our best shot. We need to continue to work with Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Vikings and the NFL. I've been part of a work group talking how this can come together.

"Continue to do that, and even if I am not a part of it, I'll be in touch with it. I don't know how it will work, but we'll give it a fair shot and a good shot. Not use taxpayers dollars, but is gaming going to be acceptable to the Legislature? That seems like our only option."

Brooks likes Wolves

Scott Brooks, coach of the great Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team the Timberwolves extended in the season opener Monday before losing in the final moments, said he thinks the addition of Ricky Rubio and No. 1 draft choice Derrick Williams will make the Wolves a team that will compete this year.

"You know, they made some improvements. Rubio is really good," said Brooks, a former guard with the Wolves from 1990-92. "That guy really knows how to play. And Williams, the rookie, he does a good job of scoring around the basket and scoring from different spots around the floor. I like the way they play, and they're going to win some games this year."

Brooks added that new Wolves coach Rick Adelman has won everywhere he's gone. "The guy is a winner, and his track record states that," Brooks said. "He's a very good coach, and a guy that I look up to and respect a lot, being a young coach in the league. He's a terrific coach; one of the all-time [greats]."

Brooks is also high on Kevin Love, the Wolves' superstar forward.

"Love is one of the best rebounders in the league, he can shoot the three, he can score," Brooks said. "He just has a knack for the ball, he plays the right way. He plays hard every night."

Brooks said Monday's game plan was to make Michael Beasley shoot a low percentage.

"Beasley is a scorer," Brooks said. "He can score, and you have to make him miss shots. Sometimes he makes those tough shots."

Unfortunately for the Wolves, Beasley made only 11 of 27 shots in scoring 24 points as the Thunder won 104-100 at Target Center.

Jottings

• Jimmy Williams, the basketball coach who was awarded $1 million when a Hennepin County jury ruled that Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith had hired Williams and the appointment was killed by Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi, said it's not definite the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear the appeal, as was recently announced. The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the original decision in October. Williams quit his job as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State in 2007, believing Smith had hired him. Now Williams' attorney has filed papers trying to dismiss the State Supreme Court hearing.

• Former Gophers running back Marion Barber III sat out the Bears game on Sunday night because a calf injury, and it appears as though Kahlil Bell will get the bulk of the carries for Chicago against the Vikings on Sunday. Barber has gained 422 yards on 114 carries this season with Chicago and has also added six rushing touchdowns. ... Former Gophers tight end Matt Spaeth has been held without a reception for four consecutive games after grabbing seven receptions for 50 yards and two TDs in his first 11 games of the season for the Bears.

• In his first five games with the N.Y. Rangers, former Gophers defenseman Stu Bickel has four assists and has a plus/minus rating of plus-3 and 18 penalty minutes. Also for the Rangers, Hastings native Derek Stepan has eight goals and 17 assists in 35 games and St. Paul native Ryan McDonagh has four goals and 10 assists in 35 games. ... Former Gopher Thomas Vanek, who recently played in his 500th NHL game, is the second-leading scorer for the Buffalo Sabres with 18 goals and 20 assists in 36 games. Former Gopher Jordan Leopold is second among Sabres defensemen in scoring with six goals and seven assists in 33 games.

• Three former Twins have been assigned to minor league managing or coaching posts in recent weeks. Jacque Jones will be a hitting coach with Fort Wayne, the Padres' Class A affiliate in the Midwest League. Doug Mientkiewicz will be hitting coach with Ogden, the advanced rookie league squad of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mike Redmond will manage Dunedin, a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate in the Class A Florida State League.

• Steve Walsh, the former Cretin-Derham Hall standout, just finished his third season coaching the Cardinal Newman High School football team in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Crusaders finished the season earlier this month going 11-1-1, losing in the opening round of the Class 3A Florida playoffs.

• On Dec. 17, Marian Gaborik scored two goals for the Rangers, giving him 300 in his NHL career: 219 over eight seasons with the Wild and 81 since joining the Rangers in 2009. "It seems like a year ago when I started," Gaborik, 29, told reporters after the game. Gaborik entered Wednesday tied for the NHL lead with 22 goals.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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