The NFL draft is less than two weeks away. According to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, the team’s serious study of the top prospects began this past week, when there was a sitdown with scouts and coaches, a group that discussed the college players available in the draft.
The discussions will enable the team to begin to make a determination on how it will stack up different prospects and prepare for picking both in the first round and throughout the draft.
“We’re going to talk about a lot of different scenarios,” Frazier said. “The fact that we have 11 picks and the draft is so deep with wide receivers this year, along with defensive line, we think there are going to be some good players early in the draft and even late in the draft at the positions where we have the greater need.”
Frazier had to be unhappy with the loss of veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield, who signed with Seattle after the Vikings released him.
“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to draft some guys that can bring in some competition for us at that position [cornerback],” Frazier said. “It’s an area where you’re always trying to get quality depth in the secondary. The way people spread you out now and try to create mismatches, you want to make sure that you address the secondary every season. We’re not quite where I’d like us to be yet, but this draft can really help us to improve our secondary.”
Incidentally, the Seahawks roster now includes former Vikings standouts Winfield, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Heath Farwell along with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Frazier said another obvious hole for the team is at middle linebacker with Jasper Brinkley signing with Arizona.
“We have to either have one of the guys on our current roster step up for us or we have to draft someone who could be a starter for us. But we don’t have an incumbent at that position. We have to get that addressed.”
Frazier said he would like to get more depth at wide receiver; a little more competition on the offensive line; and the defensive line is aging as well.
“We need a swing tackle, we don’t have that,” he said. “We need more competition at the guard position. We’re going to try to get some of that addressed in this draft.”
Quarterback not a need position
With the signing of veteran backup Matt Cassel, Frazier was asked if there’s a chance that Joe Webb could be moved to a new position.
“[Webb] is such a talented athlete that we want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing by him and our team, as well,” Frazier said. “That’s something we’ll continue to discuss as we go forward.”
The team is unlikely to draft a quarterback, especially in the early rounds now that they have added Cassel.
“He knows what it means to be a backup and how to conduct yourself,” Frazier said of Cassel. “He knows the importance of the backup’s role. We think we really helped ourselves in that regard in signing Matt Cassel. It should be a real plus for our team. He had some other options besides Minnesota and he wanted to be here, that’s really encouraging for us.”
The big hope is that General Manager Rick Spielman and company can come up with a draft on par with last year’s group, which appears to be one of the best draft classes in team history.
Big loss for the Twins
Twins officials believe the bad weather on this homestand will result in a loss of some $700,000 in revenue from the sale of concessions and novelties.