Minnesota Sports Update
Draft Class 2013
April 25 - Draft Night. The excitement was high as the fans at Mall of America Field anxiously awaited the start of the Minnesota Vikings 2013 draft. The Vikings first round pick was not until 23 but two more quick picks helped ease the waiting pain. The moment of truth saw Shariff Floyd fall through the draft right into the Vikings hands. Two picks later, Xavier Rhodes was drafted. As the crowd milled out of Mall of America field applauding the first round work by Rick Speilman and Co., work was going on behind the scenes. Could it be true? Three drafts picks in the first round? Yes! Number 29 Cordarrelle Patterson, a coveted wide receiver, was thrown into the mix. Through seven rounds, the Vikings picked up nine draft choices.
- Kim Hughes
Here is a brief summary of the top 3 draft choices:
Shariff Floyd – Pick 23:
Floyd was a big-time high school recruit from Philadelphia, winning the 2009 Maxwell Football Club National High School Player of the Year and excelling in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl (two sacks). Like many other young players, Floyd struggled with a rough childhood (bouncing between multiple homes), before settling in Gainesville. In fact, Floyd’s school held a bake sale to help him pay for the trip to the All-American Bowl, and he also received additional funds from a third party to visit campuses during the recruiting process.
The NCAA investigated those "impermissible benefits" and docked Floyd the first two games of his sophomore season (reducing the suspension from four games due to personal hardship?). He started the next 11 games at defensive end in head coach Will Muschamp’s 3-4 defense (46 totals tackles, 6.5 for loss), culminating with a 1.5-sack performance in the team’s 24-17 victory over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl. Floyd had already showed promise as a member of the coaches' Freshman All-SEC squad in 2010, playing in all 13 games with one of his two starts coming against Penn State in the Gators? Outback Bowl win (he had two tackles, a tackle for loss).
Floyd's statistics are by no means elite (26 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks in two years), but his ability to be a factor playing every position along the defensive line is a testament to his hustle and athleticism for his size. His final season saw him earn third-team All-America honors as he helped anchor a Gator defense that was amongst the best in the entire nation.
Xavier Rhodes – Pick 25:
Xavier Rhodes (pronounced "ZAY-vee-er"), a redshirt junior, started all three years he spent on the field while at Florida State, including a three-man rotation in 2011 that featured Mike Harris and Greg Reid. The Seminole is best known for his big, physical, imposing frame on the edge and willingness to press receivers in man coverage, a trait that is difficult to find at the college level. Rhodes was lucky to line up behind pass rushers like Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine during his career, but they were equally as thankful to play with a defensive back that refused to get his opposition a sliver of separation. The imposing corner does have some injuries on record, including one to his hand after only three games in 2009 and a gruesome knee injury at the end of the 2011 that turned out to be a bad sprain.
As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Rhodes started all 14 games at the boundary corner position and registered 58 total tackles, 3.5 of which went for a loss, including two sacks. He added 12 pass breakups, including four interceptions. Rhodes was forced to play in a three-man rotation in 2011, and his numbers show it. He still went on to be credited with 43 total tackles, 1.5 went for a loss. Along with the tackle numbers, Rhodes added four pass breakups including an interception. Finally, in 2012, Rhodes regained his full-time place on the boundary side of the formation, tallying 39 total tackles, two of which went for a loss. To go along with one forced fumble, Rhodes intercepted three passes on seven pass breakups.
Cordarrelle Patterson – Pick 29:
The road to Tennessee was not very glamorous for Cordarrelle Patterson (pronounced "CORE-dare-uhl"). After a solid 2008 high school season that put him on college teams' radars, Patterson did not play football in 2009 while at North Carolina Tech. In 2010, Patterson enrolled at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, where he broke numerous school records and became the top ranked JUCO product in the nation. After choosing Tennessee, Patterson was expected to line up as the school's third receiver, but after fellow junior Da'Rick Rogers was dismissed from the team, the South Carolina native burst onto the scene immediately by beating NC State cornerback David Amerson multiple times during the 2012 season opener. From there, Patterson continued to make play after play, becoming the first NCAA player in four years to score a touchdown four different ways.
During his only season at the FBS level, Patterson accumulated a wide variety of statistics while starting all 12 games. As a receiver, the junior caught 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns. As the season went along, The Vols started to use Patterson more and more from the running back position, and he tallied 208 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. The junior returned four punts for 101 yards and a touchdown. However, Patterson did most of his damage as a kick returner, compiling 671 yards and another touchdown on 24 attempts. He set an SEC single-season record with a combined kickoff and punt return average of 27.6 yards, and a school record of 1,858 all-purpose yards.
There will be plenty of time to view the Minnesota Vikings new draft choices with OTA’s that began on May 28, mandatory mini camp starting June 19 and players will report to training camp on July 25 in Mankato, MN.