The Minnesota Vikings will be entering in the 2012 NFL with a bevy of positional needs ranging from offensive line to corner back and even wide receiver—in other words, the perfect reason to whip up another mock draft.
It's that time of year again—a time where we forget about the unfortunate regular season that is behind us and focus our attention on the opportunities that are in front of the Minnesota Vikings.
So with all of that said, who do you think will be the first selection from Minnesota? I know what my idea is...
I think reaching for Morris Claiborne with their third pick in the first round isn't at all out of the question. We could even see the Minnesota Vikings trade down and still wind up with the youngster.
The Vikings need to not only add quality players to their secondary, but they also need to add some youth.
Claiborne is a rare all-around player who can execute coverage from man, zone and he is even prolific against the run and in the open-field defense.
Something the Vikings are without, even WITH Chris Cook.
Shortly after taking a CB, it would almost be expected that the Vikings pull the trigger on another much-needed position...
The Vikings absolutely need another player for the trenches—one that can float between guard and tackle. Not that the Vikings would necessarily use that to their advantage, but duality certainly goes a long way.
Osemele (6'5", 347 lbs.) possesses a skill set in both pass protection and run defense to suggest he is perhaps NFL start-ready.
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. His unexpected speed off the line is simply an added bonus.
As a run-stopper, it's kind of hard to plow through a guy who stands at 6'5" and is coming at you with 347 pounds of gap filler.
But after snatching up a corner and offensive lineman, the Vikings have several choices from here, and their third pick could be the most surprising....
The situation surrounding this next pick is a bit more hopeful wishing than anything else, but hey, it is a mock draft, is it not?
I can see the Vikings trading down to allow the quarterback-needed teams to compete among themselves for the lot of gunslingers who will be available.
Depending on who they trade with (Washington and Cleveland initially come to mind) will determine what they get in return, which could afford them a great position to scoop up Notre dame's Michael Floyd.
Floyd has the type of size and route-running capabilities that are terribly difficult to defend against. While is isn't known to have explosive speed off the line, what he is known for is his open-field acceleration and presence on the field.
Terribly difficult player to press if you've never seen him play.
There is a good chance that a lot of teams may focus on defensive players in the first two rounds, which could push some players back a bit. If the Vikings trade with the right team and the draft goes as anticipated, well, it seems to be a very real possibility for Minnesota.
A corner, a guard and now a receiver. Now what?
There are two aspects to consider here.
1. The Vikings need a well-coached linebacker who is start-ready and capable of making an impact as both a coverage backer, and a run-stopper.
2. Everyone knows that linebackers who come from Iowa fit the above qualifications.
Nielsen is more well known as a coverage back in various schemes, including blitz packages where he was utilized more as a defender, than a blitzing back.
Against the run, Nielsen is aggressive enough to become an immediate contributor in Minnesota's scheme. He is one of the better individual defenders against the run in the draft.
There is a real possibility that Nielsen would be available here, and I would hope that if he is, the Vikings would pull the trigger on this particular player.
Plus, if they do, it would allow them to focus their attention on their next pick, which could be...
Surprised to see an RB?
It may be a worthwhile decision to grab an RB at this stage of the draft for several reasons, but mainly for future development and depth.
Veteran Adrian Peterson is looking at the possibility of starting the 2012 season on the PUP list (to be determined), which means the Vikings would roll with Toby Gerhart and a very thin bench.
Pead is a flashy runner with great open-field speed. Clever eyes and feet and sound blocking skills making him an all-around player to consider taking.
I would've liked to have mentioned Temple's Bernard Pierce, but it's still undetermined whether or not he will enter the draft.
Well, with two picks left in the draft, what other choices could Minnesota make?
At some point, the Vikings could entertain grabbing themselves a QB. If so, I would think that it would be somewhere in the latter part of the draft.
Harnish would make a great selection here if available, and the possibility of that happening is pretty good.
Harnish is a sizable quarterback with excellent mobility and an above-average arm which could make him an excellent value pick as well, for a guy who the Vikings may want to make a project.
Harnish will need to work on his long wind-up and read ability post-snap, however, if he is to be an effective pro QB.
For depth purposes, I think it is almost a given that the Vikings will more than likely target a safety in the back end of their draft, and I believe that Duke Ihenacho would be a fine selection.
Ihenacho is a speedy safety with excellent eyes, good body control in coverage and sizable enough to play against the run.
He will have to work on his one-on-one skills to make it further than just a practice squad, however, but again, for depth purposes, this kid could be a great selection that is probably going to be overlooked quite a bit from other teams.