How the Vikings' 2012 draft class came to be

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 23, 2013 - 10:14 AM

By all accounts, the Vikings’ draft class last year was an immediate success. GM Rick Spielman and his staff show how their plan developed and thrived.

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Coach Leslie Frazier and General Manager Rick Spielman flanked the two biggest prizes of the Vikings’ 2012 draft class, offensive tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith. The two first-rounders quickly became fixtures in the starting lineup for a team that improved from 3-13 in 2001 to 10-6 and in the playoffs.

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The golden rule at Winter Park is nonnegotiable. A draft class cannot be fully evaluated until after three seasons.

So there will be no celebration of the Vikings’ 2012 haul until January 2015. At the earliest.

To rejoice now would be premature, like declaring a Las Vegas trip a success after a hot 30-minute blackjack run.

“What if all those guys we picked last year come back in 2013 and stink it up?” asked General Manager Rick Spielman.

That, of course, is not the expectation. Not with a group whose talent and hunger paid immediate dividends. So even with the three-year rule in place, those within the Vikings organization have no problem expressing unbridled enthusiasm about the momentum built through last year’s draft.

It was a weekend that included 10 picks and four trades, a draft that delivered difference-making starters on offense and defense in Round 1 (Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith); a Pro Bowl steal in Round 6 (Blair Walsh); and plenty of promising complementary parts throughout (see: Josh Robinson, Jarius Wright, Rhett Ellison and Robert Blanton).

Sure, we may only have one season of on-field results to assess. But the internal hunch is that last year’s draft may long be looked at as a landmark turning point.

Said director of college scouting Scott Studwell, entering his 22nd season in the player personnel department: “As long as I’ve been doing this, that class is one of the best if not the best that we’ve had here. A lot of things just clicked.”

So how did it all come together?

And which key elements will the Vikings hope to find again when they charge into another critical draft this weekend?

Here’s our look back …

Day 1: Having a plan, attacking with purpose

In the final days before last year’s draft, two certainties emerged. First, the Vikings were set on making Kalil their top pick. Yet even with that, Spielman also was growing increasingly eager to plunge into one of his favorite activities of the weekend: trade talks.

Convinced Kalil was a can’t-miss future Pro Bowl player, Studwell feared Spielman’s urges to wheel and deal might interfere with the opportunity to land the superb left tackle.

So before leaving Spielman to his fun, Studwell made sure to reassert his stance: Kalil was a must get, no matter what kind of chatter caught the GM’s ear.

“But what if we were to get some crazy, RG3-type compensation offer for that No. 3 pick?” Spielman asked, mostly trying to instigate Studwell.

Studwell didn’t budge.

“Don’t [bleep] this up,” he said. “Seriously. Get Kalil.”

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 4 1st Qtr 5:26
Philadelphia 24
Portland 13 1st Qtr 4:29
Cleveland 16
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Toronto
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 6:30 PM
New Jersey
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 15 1st Half 10:17
UCF 10
Winthrop 15 1st Half 12:41
Coastal Carolina 16
Lafayette 12 1st Half 10:06
Colgate 18
Northeastern 10 1st Half 9:59
Drexel 7
Wake Forest 15 1st Half 11:54
Florida State 4
Rhode Island 14 1st Half 11:28
Fordham 14
Delaware 16 1st Half 11:36
James Madison 15
South Carolina 15 1st Half 10:58
LSU 17
New Hampshire 11 1st Half 13:22
Maine 2
Seton Hall 18 1st Half 10:07
Marquette 18
Binghamton 12 1st Half 11:47
UMBC 10
American Univ 15 1st Half 12:01
Navy 20
Elon 7 1st Half 11:09
UNC-Wilmington 19
Wright State 11 1st Half 10:35
Oakland 14
Minnesota 18 1st Half 9:50
Penn State 18
Duquesne 13 1st Half 11:23
Richmond 25
SMU 9 1st Half 10:33
South Florida 12
Hartford 13 1st Half 11:38
Stony Brook 6
Albany 9 1st Half 7:30
Vermont 17
Hofstra 11 1st Half 11:52
William & Mary 21
UNC-Asheville 16 1st Half 11:44
Longwood 7
Radford 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 6:30 PM
Notre Dame
Texas Tech 6:30 PM
Oklahoma
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
Rice 7:00 PM
Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
Creighton
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Memphis
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 19 1st Half 11:08
Binghamton 8
Akron 9 1st Half 11:45
Ohio U 24
Ball State 16 1st Half 9:17
Miami-Ohio 9
Memphis 12 1st Half 11:19
Cincinnati 10
East Carolina 6 1st Half 12:31
(2) Connecticut 26
Murray State 14 1st Half 9:14
Eastern Illinois 16
Kent State 22 1st Half 7:52
Central Michigan 22
UT Martin 18 1st Half 9:33
Tennessee St 15
Eastern Michigan 10 1st Half 14:05
Western Mich 13
Bucknell 12 1st Half 11:56
Lehigh 15
Indiana 12 1st Half 10:56
Michigan State 14
Colgate 17 1st Half 10:41
Lafayette 12
Fordham 10 1st Half 11:28
Davidson 12
Duquesne 15 1st Half 9:53
St Bonaventure 13
George Mason 15 1st Half 12:05
VA Commonwealth 19
Detroit 10 1st Half 10:48
Youngstown St 14
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Kansas 7:00 PM
Iowa State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Penn State 7:00 PM
Minnesota
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
UNLV
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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 NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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