Vikings' draft class: Notes and quotes

  • Updated: April 29, 2012 - 12:04 AM

VIKINGS' DRAFT CLASS

FIRST ROUND (FOURTH OVERALL)

MATT KALIL

Offensive tackle • USC • 6-7, 306 pounds

• The top tackle in the draft, he is big and explosive off the ball. Nimble feet allow him to get to the second level in the rushing game. Is technically sound in pass protection. There is some concern about his lower-body strength and his tendency to play upright.

The quote: "If you're going against guys like Jared Allen, James Harrison, Dwight Freeney, those fast guys, you can't be that heavy to keep up with them. I think you have to have more quickness over how heavy you are." -- Kalil.

FIRST ROUND (29TH OVERALL)

HARRISON SMITH

Safety • Notre Dame • 6-2, 213

• A four-year starter and captain as a senior, he is very athletic and has good size. Makes up for average speed with good recognition. Always around the ball. Can struggle in man coverage, so he will be a good fit for the zones the Vikings run.

The quote: "We watched him play on the big stage. He has held up against, and made terrific plays against top competition." -- Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman.

THIRD ROUND (66TH OVERALL)

JOSH ROBINSON

Cornerback • Central Florida • 5-10, 199

• The three-year starter has good ball skills and impressive 4.33 speed. Strength is in zone coverage, where his speed enables him to close on the ball. He could figure in the return game. He could struggle in man coverage and can get burned jumping routes.

The quote: "I have a quick reaction. I always tell everybody that I'm versatile. I can do whatever you want me to do." -- Robinson.

FOURTH ROUND (118TH OVERALL)

JARIUS WRIGHT

Wide receiver • Arkansas • 5-9, 182

• Set school records with 66 catches as a senior and 168 for his career. Had 24 TD catches. Very quick, with 4.4 speed, excelled in the slot. Can both stretch a defense and make a catch in traffic. Relatively undersized, can get jammed on the line.

The quote: "I happened to be at the Texas A&M game, when he put on a show. Extremely gifted, athletic, great speed." -- Spielman.

FOURTH ROUND (128TH OVERALL)

RHETT ELLISON

Tight end/fullback • USC • 6-5, 251

• A hybrid of the two positions, he is a physical blocker, both in-line and out of the backfield. Has good hands and can run decent routes. Quick for his size but doesn't have great top-end speed. Had 53 catches in four seasons. His father, Riki, was an NFL linebacker for 10 years.

The quote: "Because of his versatility and his intelligence, he can give you some of the things you got from [Jim] Kleinsasser." -- Spielman.

FOURTH ROUND (134TH OVERALL)

GREG CHILDS

Wide receiver • Arkansas • 6-3, 219

• Flashed early at Arkansas before being slowed by injuries, most notably a torn patellar tendon in 2010 that affected him in 2011; he admitted he tried to come back too quickly. Great size and leaping ability, long arms, good hands. Had 21 catches and no TDs as a senior.

The quote: "He's a big outside receiver with big-play ability. We felt we got great value with him." -- Spielman.

FIFTH ROUND (139TH OVERALL)

ROBERT BLANTON

Defensive back • Notre Dame • 6-1, 208

• A reliable performer who can cover in both man and zone schemes and is good in run support. Played a lot of nickelback in college. At some point, his skills might translate better to safety. Lacks top-end speed. Had eight interceptions and 16 passes broken up in four seasons.

The quote: "I believe I can do both jobs [cornerback and safety]. Wherever they need me, I'll be more than happy to go out there and dominate." -- Blanton.

SIXTH ROUND (175TH OVERALL)

BLAIR WALSH

Kicker • Georgia • 5-9, 187

• Strong leg, great range, with impressive lift and height on kicks. Four-year player who had worst season as a senior, making 21 of 35 field goals, though he did improve as the season went on. Had a private workout with Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer.

The quote: "I felt I got it back on track during the middle, end of the season. I think I'm a better man, a better kicker for it." -- Walsh on his up-and-down 2011.

SEVENTH ROUND (210TH OVERALL)

AUDIE COLE

Linebacker • North Carolina State • 6-4, 246

• Able to play either on the strong side or in the middle. Played through thumb and wrist injuries without missing time. Moved inside from the strong side as a senior and led the Wolfpack with 108 tackles in 2011 with 13 1/2 tackles for loss and five sacks. Intelligent, quick off the ball and with some pass-rush ability, but he can be beat to the outside.

The quote: "He can probably play all three [linebacking] positions." -- Spielman.

SEVENTH ROUND (219TH OVERALL)

TREVOR GUYTON

Defensive lineman • California • 6-2 1/2, 285

Started all 13 games as senior -- one at nose guard, three at defensive end -- and had 46 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5 1/2 sacks with two forced fumbles. Stout and thick, he plays with leverage and can create a good push. Good with his hands. Strong tackler. Is raw as a pass rush and needs to get better at shedding blocks.

The quote: "He can play the 3 technique, he can also play some left defensive end and was used as a nickel rusher over the nose." -- Spielman.

KENT YOUNGBLOOD

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