NFL draft grades are the opposite of Avengers: Endgame or Game of Thrones spoilers. Everyone is looking for them, even if in the end they don’t tell you a whole lot.
But they’re also like political polls in a way. One draft grade (just like one poll) doesn’t necessarily tell you much. But a bunch of them put together? You can start to at least build a consensus, even if a lot of that consensus is built around similar data.
With that in mind, here is a look at six sites that graded the Vikings’ full seven-round, 12-pick draft. The consensus seems to be that Rick Spielman’s haul was somewhere between solid and very good — with one notable exception.
The very good
Both NFL.com and SI.com gave the Vikings grades of “A” for the whole draft. It should be noted here that NFL.com doled out grades of at least A-minus to 21 of the 32 teams. Still, those are good grades and reflect those sites’ confidence not only in the Vikings’ first-round pick (center Garrett Bradbury) but the depth of the class.
Three sites gave the Vikings either a B (ESPN’s Mel Kiper [Insider] and SB Nation) or a B-plus (CBS Sports). Out of all of these, I think Kiper summed things up the best and probably provided the best overall snapshot of the Vikings’ reality. He wrote:
“With (Kirk) Cousins in Year 2 of a three-year deal, the Vikings need to win now. This is a solid class with a few pieces to help do that.”
That about sums it up. The Vikings picked offense. They picked some guys who will be counted upon to help right away. They drafted to their 2019 reality.
OK, ugly is probably too strong but fits the trilogy. Pro Football Focus (subscription) actually seems to like several of the players the Vikings picked, but the analytics-based site gives Minnesota an overall grade of “below average” — perhaps in part because it thinks the Vikings could have gotten more value from the spots it picked.
The site overall gave out 6 grades of excellent, 12 grades of above average, 8 grades of average and 6 of below average. So the Vikings were in the bottom group.
My overall take: You have to draft to your current needs and philosophy, but if there’s one concern I have it’s that the offensive line being constructed is very scheme-specific — a lot of mobile, agile guys. If it doesn’t work and/or if a new regime comes in, will the entire line need to be overhauled later?
That said, the Vikings’ picks made sense. And if you think it’s strange that they went away from their strength (defense) in the draft, consider this: Kiper notes the Packers have now used their last EIGHT first-round picks on defense. Indeed, it’s been since they took offensive tackle Derek Sherrod in the first round in 2011. Aaron Rodgers might be shaking his head at that one.
And the last time they spent a first round pick on an offensive skill position player? That was 2005, with Rodgers himself.