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 mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Spielman discusses draft class

Posted by: under Vikings, NFL draft, Vikings draft Updated: April 30, 2011 - 8:26 PM

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman met with reporters Saturday evening at the conclusion of the draft. The Vikings selected eight players Saturday and 10 overall. Here are some of Spielman's thoughts on each player taken on Saturday:

Christian Ballard, DT, fourth round: "We are going to play him, to start off with, more inside and eventually work him outside but we want to start off playing him inside. He gives us some flexibility because of what he’s able to do, the fact that we can play in the three-technique or play nose but he could also slide outside as a defensive end. He’s one of those rare commodities when you talk about big men. He moves extremely well and that flexibility should really help our defense."

Brandon Burton, CB, fifth round: "We felt Burton was another value pick for us. He slid down to the fifth round. He has a lot of cover skills. He can be physical in support. He’s fast and a big corner and those are the type of corners we are looking at from a defensive scheme standpoint so we felt very confident when he was there that was our guy."

DeMarcus Love, OL, sixth round: "Love gives us an opportunity to get a potential swing tackle. He’s played both on the left and right side. He was a weakside tackle down at Arkansas, so you see him play on both sides. You see the position flexibility that he does have."

Mistral Raymond, DB, sixth round: "Raymond can play corner and safety. Another good athlete that can play multiple positions and coaches will figure out whether they want to start him out at corner or safety but as we look at our depth as we get ready to head into, whenever we start training camp or whenever we come in, we’ll look at where our depth is and where we want to start those guys. But we know that he can play corner and he can also play free safety so that gives us an opportunity to look at him in both areas." 

Brandon Fusco, C, sixth round: "Fusco was a great pick I think as an upside guy from a small college. He’s a very good athlete and the one thing you like about him is his demeanor and how he plays the game and you saw some of the rawness in him coming from Slippery Rock and all of a sudden start blocking the guys down at the Senior Bowl but Jeff Davidson, our offensive line coach, did a personal workout with him and came back and had rave reviews about him."

Ross Homan, LB, sixth round: "Ross is a very talented football player. I know the knock on him a little bit is the size factor but maybe one of the most instinctive linebackers that was on the board and he was a lot higher on our board then where we were able to get him but not only because I think he can play three downs in the NFL because of his athletic skills and his instincts, I think he is going to help contribute on special teams as well. He’s just a solid, good football player."

D'Aundre Reed, DE, seventh round: "It was hard because he was in that rotation down there at Arizona and where you noticed him is whatever clicked from that USC game, he really started playing lights out. He can play the left side, the right side, they even slid him inside some as a nickel rusher."

Stephen Burton, WR, seventh round:

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