The Vikings are in prime position to draft one of their three needs—wide receiver, left tackle and cornerback. The names that most Vikings fans should be familiar with—because of the fact that the Vikings season was virtually over in November—are Morris Claiborne, Matt Kalil and Justin Blackmon.
Based on WalterFootball.com’s mock draft database, there is a huge split between Claiborne and Blackmon if Kalil is selected by the Rams with the second pick—the Vikings should not look past Blackmon, even if Kalil is available.
Whether the Vikings keep the pick or trade out, the Vikings should make sure to secure Blackmon.
Here are the five reasons why Justin Blackmon should be the surefire selection for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2012 NFL draft.
Justin Blackmon is the most talented non-quarterback offensive threat in the draft.
Blackmon has put up some impressive numbers during his tenure for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. In 2010 Blackmon hauled in 111 passes for 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2011 Blackmon caught 121 passes for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Although Blackmon’s numbers were lower in 2011, Blackmon did catch eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal, and Blackmon’s performance helped lead the Cowboys to 41-38 victory.
Blackmon is not the quickest player, but in open space his mix of strength and speed will be tough to stop, sort of like Adrian Peterson.
Blackmon also has a great set of hands that the Vikings desperately need to help keep the ball alive on long third downs.
A talented young wide receiver is the best gift a team can give to its young quarterback.
Christian Ponder was giving the reins as the Vikings quarterback in 2011, but with a horrid offensive line and one decent wide receiver, Ponder was never able to get into a consistent groove.
Blackmon will change that.
Although a great offensive lineman will help protect Ponder during games, a wide receiver can help Ponder get out of sticky situations and convert for first downs when the team's back is against the wall.
With the addition of Blackmon, Ponder and he can grow together for the rest of their careers and take over the league the way Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are doing right now—albeit perhaps to a more minimal extent.
Blackmon can help with Ponder’s confidence, growth and ability to keep the Vikings in scoring position.
Since Adrian Peterson joined the Vikings in 2007 he has been their biggest offensive threat and it is not even close.
All that might change in 2012.
Peterson is currently rehabilitating from his knee surgery he had in late December. Some speculate that Peterson might be back for Week 1 of the 2012 season, but others speculate that he may miss the first month of the season.
Regardless of when Peterson comes back, the Vikings need to replace his big-play ability. A left tackle cannot replace that and neither can a cornerback—but a talented wide receiver can.
Blackmon would automatically be one of the biggest offensive threats for the Vikings—with respect to Percy Harvin.
Also, without Peterson the Vikings may need to throw the ball more and without a strong wide receiver corps, the Vikings may not be able to move the ball smoothly.
With the addition of Blackmon, the Vikings will most definitely be able to move the ball consistently.
Percy Harvin is the best wide receiver on the Vikings and it is not even close—the problem is he is not a true No. 1 wide receiver.
Percy Harvin plays much better from the slot position. Harvin also plays much better whenever he has a strong wide receiver on the opposite side of him.
According to a report from Business Insider’s Dashiell Bennett, when Randy Moss played for the Vikings in 2010, Percy Harvin averaged 71 percent more yards per reception than before the Vikings had Moss.
With the addition of a true No. 1 receiver, Harvin will become an even bigger threat than he already he is. If Blackmon is effective—which is highly likely—then Harvin will be able to stretch the field because of the attention Blackmon will garner.
Harvin will most definitely benefit from the addition of Blackmon, and so will Michael Jenkins and Kyle Rudolph. With more offensive weapons on the field there will be an increase in production from all the players involved.
The winds of change have been blowing in the NFL because it has becoming a passing frenzy as of late.
The Super Bowl winners in recent history have all had strong passing attacks and elite quarterbacks—the Vikings do not have either of these.
Christian Ponder definitely has the talent and mental capability of becoming an elite quarterback in the NFL, but like I alluded to earlier, Ponder needs help with his receiving corps and offensive line.
The Vikings had one of the best passing attacks in 2009—the year they almost made the Super Bowl only to have a heartbreaking loss to a team with a better passing attack.
Whether or not the Vikings get Adrian Peterson back, they will still have a top rushing attack in the NFL—a terrific passing attack would make the Vikings an unstoppable two-headed monster.
With the addition of Justin Blackmon, the Vikings will definitely take a big step to becoming an elite passing team.
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