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Reviewing the Vikings' drafts: 2013

4/3/2014

MINNEAPOLIS -- We're concluding our review of the Minnesota Vikings' recent draft history today, with a look at how the team did in 2013:

First-round pick: Nos. 23 (Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida), 25 (Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State) and 29 (Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee)

Number of picks: 9

Total Draft AV: 15 (T-15th; San Diego and St. Louis were the best with a 28 AV)

Highest player AV: Patterson, 8 (T-11th; Chicago's Kyle Long was the best with a 12 AV)

How they did: Our evaluation of this draft is obviously the most incomplete of any in our series, since it happened just a year ago. The Vikings' draft was defined by their aggressive first round, in which they sent four picks to New England to move back into the first round and select Patterson, who became the best kick returner in the league and earned first-team All-Pro honors as a rookie. Rhodes looks like a solid corner, and Floyd will get every chance to fortify the middle of the Vikings' defense after playing better toward the end of the season. Those three players, though, were the only significant contributors in the Vikings' rookie class (outside of punter Jeff Locke, who unseated Chris Kluwe), and for this draft to go down as a good one, the team will have to get more out of linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti and hope its three first-rounders turn into top-end players. Based on what Patterson did as a rookie, it looks like the Vikings are already one-third of the way there.

Pivotal pick: For this one, we can use the term "pivotal" more literally than we've been employing it during the rest of the series. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was at a podium in the team's field house, discussing the selections of Floyd and Rhodes, when he got a signal that the Patriots would be willing to move out of the first round. Spielman turned and sprinted back to the Vikings' draft room, finalizing the deal for Patterson. It was a bold move, based on special teams coach Mike Priefer's enthusiasm about Patterson as a kick returner and the Vikings' belief that receivers coach George Stewart could help smooth out the rough edges in Patterson's game. After his first year in the league, Patterson looks like he could be the kind of multi-dimensional star the Vikings had in Percy Harvin.

Best pick: At this point, it's Patterson by a clear margin. If Rhodes continues to show the kind of progress he displayed late last season, though, he could challenge for the title. He figures to be a better fit in Mike Zimmer's defense than he was in Leslie Frazier's, and his press coverage skills could turn him into a valuable asset in a division full of big receivers. In the hands of Zimmer and defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, Rhodes has a chance to make a major leap forward in Year 2.

Worst pick: Hodges wasn't able to push for much playing time as a rookie, even as the Vikings had plenty of question marks in their linebacking group. Locke, who became the highest-drafted punter in Vikings history, was just OK as a rookie.