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Continued: How the Vikings' 2012 draft class came to be

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

But then at No. 62, Green Bay grabbed Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward. Three picks later, Montana’s Trumaine Johnson landed with St. Louis.

While securing Kalil and Smith on Day 1 had been ideal, the Friday board had not broken perfectly.

Anxiety surged.

“But,” Spielman said, “that’s the other big part of the draft — the patience. And making sure you stay in ‘Don’t panic’ mode.”

Missing out on Hayward and Johnson stung some. But Studwell recalled draft advice from former coach Dennis Green: “You’ve got to like a lot of guys.”

In the big picture, the Vikings still really liked and valued a 21-year-old from Conference USA, a young playmaker with good size, elite speed and plenty of upside.

From New York, former Vikings star Anthony Carter made the official announcement: “With the 66th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Josh Robinson, defensive back, Central Florida.”

Day 3: The passion priority

When Saturday arrived, the Vikings still owned nine picks in the final four rounds. Eventually, they made trades with Detroit and Tennessee to accumulate selections for 2013 while also filling out their 2012 class.

The game plan for the middle-to-later rounds revolved around finding potential, guys who could be immediate special teams contributors while working their way up the depth chart.

With that in mind, Spielman zeroed in on players with obvious passion, which is why the selections of Wright, Blanton, Audie Cole and especially Ellison resonated.

Over the years, Spielman has scrutinized his draft mistakes far more than he has ever celebrated his victories. He says he has learned to place greater value on guys to whom football means the most.

And sure, shortly after being picked in Round 4, Ellison asserted on a conference call that he never expected to be drafted at all. But the Vikings believe he might very well go down as the most underrated selection of a potentially special draft.

In addition to his blocking ability and versatility, Ellison’s work ethic, selfless attitude and enthusiasm surfaced during his interview at the combine followed by a more intimate visit with the Vikings at Southern California when the team went to lock in on Kalil.

“You can see that passion on film. You can get that from talking to your sources,” Spielman said. “We get it from our psychological testing. But then you can really nail it down once you sit there and look the kid square in the eye. … You wait for that little bit that really resonates.”

The exclamation point: late-round luck

No pick from the Vikings’ 2012 draft created more immediate head scratching than the sixth-round selection of Blair Walsh.

Really? With so many holes, the Vikings were using a sixth-round pick on a kicker? And not just a kicker, but a guy who missed 14 field goals as a Georgia senior? At a position where 15-year veteran Ryan Longwell had been ultrareliable?

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  • Startribune.com NFL draft preview

    Monday April 22, 2013

  • 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.

  • The Vikings got the man they wanted, tackle Matt Kalil, at No. 4 overall after trading down.

  • Armed with picks, the Vikings traded up to land Harrison Smith.

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Tennessee 7 1st Qtr 4:53
Jacksonville 0
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
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Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
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Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
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Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
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New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
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NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
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Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 26 2nd Qtr 9:35
Chicago 36
New Orleans 10 1st Qtr 6:04
Houston 10
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 1 3rd Prd
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 3rd Prd
Pittsburgh 0
Toronto 1 3rd Prd
Carolina 2
Washington 2 3rd Prd
Columbus 2
Anaheim 1 1st Prd :20
Montreal 0
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Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
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Canisius 43
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Delaware 62
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Quinnipiac 80
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Richmond 64
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South Florida 59
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Vermont 56
Cleveland State 49 2nd Half 0:55
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Western Carolina 56
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Louisiana Tech 57
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Rider 37
Idaho State 39 2nd Half 10:37
South Dakota St 42
Oakland City 16 2nd Half
Austin Peay 35
Eureka 23 1st Half 0:20
Bradley 44
Appalachian St 30 1st Half 1:39
Charlotte 27
Connecticut 21 1st Half 2:56
Duke 26
Southern Miss 11 1st Half 6:41
Jackson State 26
Coastal Carolina 41 1st Half 0:10
Ole Miss 28
Montana State 13 1st Half 13:45
South Dakota 7
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
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CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
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Presbyterian 50 FINAL
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Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Loyola Marymount 54 2nd Half 0:59
USC 94
St Francis-PA 47 2nd Half 2:22
Duquesne 86
Delaware State 49 2nd Half 2:18
Detroit 70
Jacksonville 56 2nd Half 3:48
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Tulane 8
New Orleans 21 1st Half 1:01
Tulsa 35
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TX-Pan American 28
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South Dakota St 29
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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 Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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