Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

The inside scoop on a frenzied and successful draft night at Winter Park

Posted by: under Vikings, Adrian Peterson, Vikings draft Updated: April 27, 2012 - 8:59 AM

The first night of the 2012 draft is in the books with the Vikings adding a pair of players: left tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith. Yet given the inevitable blur that the first round of the draft always is, you may not have received the volume of poignant information you desired as the picks were unfolding. Not to fear. We’ve got you covered with eight nuggets of valuable information to provide depth and context on everything that’s happened.


Wondering how Matt Kalil received the official confirmation that he was now a Minnesota Viking? The call came from general manager Rick Spielman. According to Kalil, it unfolded like this.

Spielman: “You ready to get this over with?”

Kalil: “Hell yeah.”

Yep, that’s the behind-the-scenes moment the Vikings hope marks the beginning of a long and healthy relationship.

Spielman’s assessment of Kalil’s strengths and weaknesses was just as honest. He lauded the young left tackle’s athleticism and said he had “the foot quickness to be an island out there when matched up against the premier pass rushers in this league.”

Kalil may need to get bigger to truly flourish in the NFL. He weighed in at the combine in February at 306 pounds after playing most of last season close to 290. But the Vikings believe Kalil has the frame to add the necessary weight without diminishing his quickness. Kalil’s 34.5-inch arm length was another attribute Spielman gushed about.

The Vikings fell in love with Kalil watching him on tape, admired even more of what they saw and heard from him at the combine, then got a persuasive endorsement from offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, who went to USC’s pro day and had additional time to visit with the standout tackle.


Southern Cal offensive line coach James Cregg gave the Star Tribune his rundown of Kalil’s promise. Cregg points first to Kalil’s passion and competitive nature.

“It’s important to him,” Cregg said. “And the one thing I admire is if something does happen to him as far as him getting beat or somebody getting after him in a game or practice, he finds a way to come back and get his steam hot to come back and get another rep in and get after it. He has that fierce nature to him that you want in a guy. He always had an edge about him.”

Cregg acknowledges that there are little things Kalil needs to clean up with his run blocking and footwork but believes those are easy corrections. He also knows Kalil’s hunger to win one-on-one battles on the edge will make him an NFL standout for years.

“That’s the most important thing as a left tackle in the NFL. You have to be a stallion there,” Cregg said. “You cannot be a guy who’s going to lose one-on-one pass rushes. You have to be a guy who makes a stand and competes to win. That’s what Matt does. He struggles when he loses. It bothers him. And he’ll immediately do everything within his power to fix it and get it right.”


In addition to landing Kalil, the Vikings pulled off a steal of a trade at the outset of the draft, moving back from No. 3 to No. 4 while also gaining fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks from Cleveland. Spielman would not acknowledge whether or not he tried to get the Browns’ second-round selection at any point in the negotiations.

“We only had to move back one spot and we knew we were still going to get our guy,” Spielman said. “So what we got, we felt very comfortable with.”


We had received a bit of intelligence in the last week to 10 days that the Vikings had grown quite fond of Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith and had him as the guy they wanted to land with their second pick. We tried to alert you.

The Vikings possibly could have waited with their breath held with hopes that Smith would have lasted until they were on the clock again at No. 35. But they took no chances and moved up six spots late Thursday night to get their man.

I had alluded to the possibility of Smith becoming a Viking first on Twitter and again during my Wednesday afternoon chat. Here was some of what we addressed.

Comment From Snapit : Do the Vikings pull the trigger on Rueben Randle or Kendall Wright if either falls to the top of round 2? You gotta think yes.

Dan Wiederer: If either of those WRs were to fall into Round 2, you'd have to give them a long, hard look. I like Randle's speed and think he could be an asset. But I still contend that safety is the team's biggest need right now and have heard that the Vikings love Notre Dame's Harrison Smith and would love to pull the trigger if he's around at 35. Again this is a very deep WR crop. And it's going to allow the Vikings to have some good options at both 35 and 66.


Comment From Kevin: you mentioned earlier about the Vikings really liking Notre Dame's safety. which round would the vikings have to take him?

Dan Wiederer: Harrison Smith. You take him at the top of Round 2 if available. Wouldn't be stunned if they tried to move back into the end of Round 1 to get him there.

I asked Spielman late Thursday night whether Kalil-Smith was the vision he had for the start of his draft.

“You can say that was a fair vision,” he said.


The Vikings’ interest in Smith elevated in January when their coaching staff spent a week in Mobile, Ala., coaching the Notre Dame safety with the North squad at the Senior Bowl. Before, during and after that event, Spielman and Frazier talked about the value of the week and how much insight it had provided them with so much hands on time with the draft prospects on the North team. Interestingly, the Vikings apparently liked Smith so much that they cut off contact with him after the Senior Bowl. Spielman acknowledged that nearly three-month gap in contact on Thursday night. But even with that disconnect, the Vikings never forgot Smith’s range, versatility and intelligence. They also liked the idea that Smith was a two-time captain at Notre Dame.

“We watched him play on the big stage,” Spielman said. “He has held up and made terrific plays against top competition. The big stage is not going to be too big for this kid.”


With an offensive tackle and a safety added Thursday night, you’d have to figure the Vikings will want to land a receiver with their next pick. Currently, they don’t figure to be back on the clock until late Friday night when the 66th overall pick comes up. But don’t discount Spielman scratching that trade itch once more if there is a player he really wants. With 10 picks left in the arsenal, the Vikings have the flexibility to move around again if so desired.

As for the top receivers left on the board? Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill and LSU’s Rueben Randle will likely be nabbed early in Round 2. The Vikings would love to see South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery fall into Round 3. Though if they are sold on him – and we’ve heard there’s serious interest – they could trade back into Round 2 and jockey into position like they did for Smith. Other receivers that might be worth a look at pick 66 include Appalachian State’s Brian Quick, Wake Forest’s Chris Given and Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu.


Big things must have happened Thursday night for an Adrian Peterson rehabilitation update to be this far down. But Frazier acknowledged once again that Peterson is doing great as he works back from the severe knee injury (ACL and MCL tears) he suffered on Christmas Eve. Peterson, under the watchful eye of head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, took some time Tuesday to run in the Vikings’ field house as most of his teammates were partaking in the team’s offseason conditioning program.

Said Frazier: “Adrian looked out and saw the guys doing wind sprints and he says, ‘Ya know, I don’t think they’re running hard enough.’ And Eric allowed him to go out and run with them. And he passed them four different times. He finished first four different times. I remember Joe Webb saying, ‘I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.’”

Frazier said the next step for Peterson is getting to a point where he can do some cutting.


With Smith drafted Thursday night, one has to wonder whether the offer the Vikings put out to Husain Abdullah last month will be revised in any way or taken off the table. The team will probably see how the rest of this draft pans out before revisiting Abdullah’s future. Abdullah was put on the shelf in November last season after suffering his second concussion of the year. He has since gotten medical clearance to return to football and the Vikings say they offered him a deal to come back.

Abdullah has yet to decide whether he will act on that deal. You wonder if the Vikings will cool some this weekend if they add another body or two to their secondary during the draft.


Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Atlanta 106 FINAL
Washington 102
Golden State 114 FINAL
Miami 97
Detroit 86 FINAL
Milwaukee 98
Sacramento 99 FINAL
New Orleans 89
Chicago 109 FINAL
Denver 114
Winnipeg 4 FINAL
Columbus 2
Ottawa 3 FINAL(SO)
St. Louis 2
Los Angeles 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Edmonton 2 FINAL
Dallas 3
Colorado 4 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 3
New Jersey 0 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Calgary 2 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Fresno State 52 FINAL
East Carolina 58
Morgan State 73 FINAL
Elon 74
Purdue 82 FINAL
Missouri 61
Hawaii 62 FINAL
Marist 55
Liberty 57 FINAL
North Florida 77
MD-Eastern Shore 55 FINAL
Bucknell 58
Western Carolina 70 FINAL
Georgia State 85
Chaminade 85
Evansville 62 FINAL
Green Bay 64
Alabama 76 FINAL
Arizona State 71
UT Martin 74 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 56
SE Missouri St 54 FINAL
Bowling Green 62
NC Central 50 FINAL
Cincinnati 59
Fair-Dickinson 47 FINAL
Columbia 57
Citadel 55 FINAL
Florida State 66
Houston 63 FINAL
Harvard 84
William Peace 71 FINAL
High Point 88
Texas-Arlington 44 FINAL
Kentucky 92
St Francis-NY 60 FINAL
La Salle 73
Boston Univ 68 FINAL
New Hampshire 75
Chicago State 57 FINAL
Oakland 70
Ark-Pine Bluff 60 FINAL
Ohio 69
Hartford 54 FINAL
Quinnipiac 50
Saint Peters 68 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Jackson State 71 FINAL
St Bonaventure 79
Long Island 70 FINAL
Saint Josephs 74
Hofstra 70 FINAL
South Florida 71
Western Ky 61 FINAL
Stony Brook 71
Loyola-Maryland 37 FINAL
Syracuse 70
Penn 67 FINAL
Temple 76
Detroit 82 FINAL
Toledo 79
Tennessee St 36 FINAL
Virginia 79
Northern Iowa 73 FINAL
Virginia Tech 54
Western Ill 49 FINAL
William & Mary 83
Ohio Valley 54 FINAL
Wofford 82
Toccoa Falls 40 FINAL
Presbyterian 63
Mount Ida 57 FINAL
UMass Lowell 102
Kansas State 68 FINAL
Arizona 72
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Army 80
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
Char Southern 80
Howard 68 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 77 FINAL
Oregon 63
Arkansas 78 FINAL
SMU 72
Jacksonville St 67 FINAL
Alabama A&M 61
Bradley 52
Eastern Ill 53 FINAL
Creighton 75
St Xavier 76 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 87
Northern Ariz 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
Nebraska Omaha 67 FINAL
Nebraska 80
Akron 72 FINAL
Penn State 78
Saint Louis 57
Columbia International 55 FINAL
SC State 92
Troy 70 FINAL
Southern Miss 72
St Francis-PA 46 FINAL
Texas 78
Northwestern St 64 FINAL
Texas Tech 75
Loyola-Chicago 71 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 57
Southern U 59 FINAL
Tulane 74
Norfolk State 53 FINAL
Vanderbilt 63
Jarvis Christian 65 FINAL
Abilene Christian 91
MN-Crookston 63 FINAL
North Dakota St 64
Lamar 63 FINAL
Arkansas State 58
Drake 73
San Francisco 47 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 62
Miami-Florida 77 FINAL
Charlotte 74
Air Force 53 FINAL
Colorado 68
Boise State 86 FINAL
Idaho 75
Louisiana 76 FINAL
Oral Roberts 52
Buffalo 80 FINAL
Grand Canyon 64
Maryland 72 FINAL
Iowa State 63
Northwestern 55 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 46
Bristol University 63 FINAL
Sacramento St 97
Villanova 60 FINAL
Michigan 55
Pittsburgh 57 FINAL
San Diego St 74
Cal State Fullerton 49 FINAL
USC 53
Delaware 47 FINAL
Stanford 84
Ohio U 24 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 21
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Belmont 55 FINAL
Kent State 58
Robert Morris 75 FINAL
Coppin State 58
Western Ill 71
Manhattan 48 FINAL
La Salle 61
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
Arizona 61
Santa Clara 69 FINAL
LSU 67
Tulsa 67 FINAL
Texas Southern 64
SE Missouri St 57 FINAL
Ole Miss 58
Air Force 35 FINAL
Army 79
Towson 59 FINAL
St Bonaventure 56 FINAL
Penn State 54
Texas-El Paso 43 FINAL
Kansas State 72
Cheyney 38 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 63
Johnson C. Smith 45 FINAL
NC A&T 76
Winthrop 71 FINAL
NC Central 63
USC Upstate 50 FINAL
SC State 60
Quinnipiac 52 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 112
Buffalo 54 FINAL
(8) Duke 88
Washington St 74 FINAL
Hampton 60
Bryant 67 FINAL
Brown 60
Vermont 75 FINAL
Central Conn St 77
St Francis-NY 50 FINAL
(21) Rutgers 81 FINAL
Wagner 53
IUPU-Ft Wayne 63 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 90
Fairleigh Dickinson 66 FINAL
Monmouth 71
Jacksonville 59 FINAL
UCF 71
SIU-Edwardsville 76 FINAL
Duquesne 89 FINAL
Howard 63
Fordham 49 FINAL
Delaware 44
Saint Josephs 63 FINAL
Drexel 76
Liberty 62 FINAL
Elon 73
New Hampshire 39 FINAL
Penn 74
Valparaiso 65 FINAL
Akron 100
Grambling 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 97
Western Ky 67 FINAL
(12) Louisville 89
Arizona State 65 FINAL
Miami-Florida 61
Charleston Southern 64 FINAL
Florida 92
Georgia Southern 52 FINAL
(22) Georgia 93
Tenn Tech 67 FINAL
Mercer 73
Hillsdale 56 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 73
Ohio U 77 FINAL
Northern Ky 38
Gardner-Webb 69 FINAL
Appalachian St 77
Bucknell 54 FINAL
Youngstown St 69
Lafayette 66 FINAL
Rider 48
Lehigh 70 FINAL
Saint Peters 58
George Mason 79 FINAL
Navy 84
High Point 57 FINAL
Davidson 76
Old Dominion 69 FINAL
Virginia Tech 62
SW Assemblies 57 FINAL
Houston Baptist 85
LSU-Alexandria 58 FINAL
Northwestern St 86
Wofford 55 FINAL
Jacksonville St 70
(25) Miss State 80
Morgan State 43 FINAL
(20) Oklahoma St 73
Lyon 43 FINAL
Central Arkansas 59
Lamar 72 FINAL
Texas State 79
Mobile 47 FINAL
SE Louisiana 74
St Edwards 56 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 65
Lipscomb 71 FINAL
Murray State 74
Loyola-Chicago 51
Northern Iowa 45 FINAL
(17) Iowa 73
Southern U 62 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Harvard 79 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Colorado 77 FINAL
Denver 49
Portland State 56 FINAL
Oregon 63
Montana State 64 FINAL
San Diego 79
Idaho 77 FINAL
Wyoming 66
Pepperdine 76 FINAL
Cal Poly 69
Long Beach St 68 FINAL
Boise State 50
Nevada 48 FINAL
San Francisco 63
Yale 63 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 72
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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