The first pick in any given NFL draft is always filled with unnerving excitement, but it is the second pick that boasts the most intrigue for any team, especially when it's a team as needy as the Minnesota Vikings.
It's pretty clear that this team has a lot of holes to fill. Fortunately for the Vikings, this year's draft is filled with an overabundance of talent in multiple areas.
So allow me to set the stage for you all (in a speculative manner of course) as a way of leading us to the avenue where the second pick awaits.
As it stands right now, the Minnesota Vikings hold the number three pick in the draft, which is a pretty good coin to hold if you ask me.
The current idea that is growing is the possibility of Minnesota taking Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, which isn't a bad idea, but if it were me, I would be moving straight towards LSU's shutdown corner Morris Claiborne.
But the Dolphins, Redskins, Browns, Seahawks and Chiefs are all teams that are more than likely to target a QB ion the first round, meaning the Vikings could very easily trade down without threat of losing another high-quality position player like Claiborne.
A move like this—to the Browns or Redskins, let's say—could yield an additional first-round pick for Minnesota (Cleveland) or perhaps a first-round pick next year (Washington).
Either way, this situation that hangs in the balance sets the stage for what is to come.
I am going to base the remainder of my hypothetical story on the prediction that the Minnesota Vikings do in fact snag Morris Claiborne (CB - LSU) with their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
This will "clear the plate," so to speak, and give us a new palette to work with in regard to other pressing team needs.
With that said, I introduce the first player the Vikings should consider with their second pick: OT Zebrie Sanders of FSU.
The idea is that higher-ranked tackle Riley Reiff (Iowa) and Jonathan Sanders (Stanford) could be off the board by the time Minnesota gets to their second pick, so the organization will have to plan for comparable selections.
The more I study Sanders, the more I like him.
Sanders has the size and uncanny ability to "stay put" as an offensive lineman, making him hard to un-trench.
The additional value with Sanders, however, is the fact that he put time in as both a LT and RT, and is said to be more suited towards offenses that run similar blocking schemes for the pro-set.
The double-tight end scheme Minnesota runs is very similar in nature, making Sanders an interesting consideration, one that I feel will fit perfectly for a team who desperately needs an impact tackle right away.
Perhaps the Vikings decide to throw a wrench into the system and not take an OT with their second pick. Instead, they decide to target another area of defense.
Again, we are assuming the Vikings already grabbed Morris Claiborne at CB, and the Vikings could be sneaky and target Nebraska's LB Lavonte David, as the potential replacement for E.J. Henderson.
The Vikings need a significant linebacker in the middle who is athletic enough to defend against the run, but also play better in [pass coverage than Henderson is capable of.
David could be their man.
The knock on David is his size (6'1" - 225), but he more than makes up for his "lack of size" with his dual-threat style of play.
As a pass defender, David is the sort of linebacker who was used exclusively against spread offenses because of his speed and instincts. David also possess great ability and defense against the underneath routes, which are common attacks against middle linebackers in the NFL.
The worry over his size may prevent teams from taking him, causing them to be concerned over his ability to play against the run.
The truth of the matter is, however, David is just as good as a run stopper as he is a pass defender, playing mostly in the box against the run, and leading the team in tackles (152).
A true diamond in the rough, kids.
Depending on just how the draft situation pans out for Minnesota, the Vikings could conceivably decide to grab a QB with their second pick instead of a defensive player.
The reason for this is simple: Today's NFL is fast becoming a two-quarterback league, not a starting QB and backup QB league like thew days of old.
The Vikings seemingly have depth at QB with Joe Webb and Sage Rosenfels, but there are certainly no guarantees in Minnesota.
The Vikings need another young QB who has the skill set to become a developmental project, while also adding a little bit of value.
At 6'5", 240 pounds, Foles could be that guy.
Foles isn't viewed as an elite quarterback, but what is underestimated is his ability to move within the pocket and his uncanny ability to allow the defense to give him the play.
Foles' size is a clear advantage against opposing defense, as he is more capable of surveying the field, which makes him a bit deadlier than the average QB.
Foles is a little run-happy and has a long, drawn out delivery that will need to be changed if he is to play in the NFL for the long-term, but both disadvantages are easily worked on at the pro level.
The Vikings aren't really expected to target a WR this early, but one has to admit that it isn't out of the realm of possibilities either.
The Vikings could wind up targeting an impact receiver in free agency first, which would change the target position in the draft, or, they could pull the trigger on a guy like Michael Floyd, and here's why.
Everybody keeps talking about Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma) and granted, the kid is exceptional, but unlikely to be around when Minnesota fires off its second pick.
Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, however, could be a blessing in disguise.
Floyd isn't exactly known for his flashy speed, but he is known for his size and physicality in stride.
Floyd is the type of player who will be difficult to press in the pros, and considering teams may continue to blitz Christian Ponder early next year (or whomever is under center) that could require a receiver like Floyd, as a way of countering the man-press coverage that often associates with blitz packages.
Floyd's apparent downside is his lack of initial explosion at the line of scrimmage, and his off-field issues.
He's still worth the gamble, but there is also the strong chance he could fall a bit in the rankings which could up the overall value.
As a side note, let's see how many fantasy football writers mix him up with San Diego's Malcom Floyd.
Another certain possibility for Minnesota could be targeting their guard dilemma, and pulling the trigger on the massive Kelechi Osemele from Iowa State.
To be honest, it's pick-your-poison when regarding what position (tackle or guard) to fix first, so in essence it could wind up being a win-win for Minny, no matter how they cut things.
Osemele (6'5", 347) is the type of player who is solid in pass protection, and a force to be dealt with against the run.
Osemele easily gets his feet set and knees bent in pass defense, which also allows him to position himself a lot quicker than even most pro guards, and his unexpected speed off the line, is simply an added bonus.
As a run stopper, it's kinda hard to plow through a guy who stands at 6'5" and is coming at you with 347 pounds of gap filler.
Osemele also possess great upper body strength, and as a complete package, he's just a menacing terror on the O-Line waiting to happen for Minnesota (or whomever grabs him).
Keep an eye out all this month for my draft coverage to pick up, and by all means, leave mention below of who you think the Vikings should target with their second pick.
If you want to expand this analysis further, check out my Five "Must-Know" Fantasy Prospects. Some of these players will be found in that article.