2012 NFL Draft: Why Minnesota Vikings Must Prioritize Wide Receiver in 2nd Round

Sammy SucuSenior Analyst IMarch 24, 2012

Gamecock Wide Receiver Alshon Jeffery
Gamecock Wide Receiver Alshon JefferyStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Vikings must draft a number one option at wide receiver before they draft a cornerback.  

With the first two picks in the draft already locked in, the Vikes have their choice between three incredible talents. If you look at WalterFootball.com's draft database, the general consensus is that Minnesota will select left tackle Matt Kalil with their first-round pick. If you listen to what GM Rick Spielman has been saying to reporters lately, the team might go with LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. 

Kalil is definitely the best move the Vikings could make. Drafting Claiborne so early would be a huge mistake because the draft is deep when it comes to talent in the secondary. Kalil will the be the protection that second-year quarterback Christian Ponder needs. Drafting a young quarterback is just like buying a new house or car; you need to purchase insurance with it as well. 

Although the Vikings had one of the worst pass defenses in 2011, they also had a very pathetic wide receiver corps. Even though Percy Harvin is a very talented wide receiver, he is not a number one option, and neither are Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins.

The Vikings need to boost Ponder's confidence and add some juice to their offense. The best way to do that is to add a stud at wide receiver. 

Minnesota will have the third pick in the second round where they will be faced with a choice between drafting a receiver or a cornerback. The right move is to draft a receiver. 

If the Vikes decide to draft a cornerback, they might have to go another season without having a true number one option at wide receiver. This will not only hurt Ponder's production, but it will put the team at the bottom of the NFL again. 

Using their second round pick on a receiver will not only provide Ponder with a true number one target, but he will also help Percy Harvin move to his comfortable position and become the possession receiver from the slot. This will also help the running game because opposing defenses won't stack eight in the box anymore because of the threat of the Vikings passing attack. 

If the Vikes decide to go with a wide receiver in the second round then they will have a couple of good players to choose from. The one receiver that has been talked about at this pick by plenty of mock drafts is South Carolina's very own, Alshon Jeffery. 

At 6'4 229 lbs., Jeffery will provide the Vikings with a red zone threat they need when the running game can't punch it in. Although he is not the fastest receiver coming out, he has the best hands out of anyone. His ability to make a catch over defenders is exactly what Ponder would need when he is in trouble. Jeffery and Ponder could make a great duo for the next decade if they are able to get on the same page, which is very likely. 

The knock on Jeffery is his speed and his lack of production last year. Many scouts attributed that to his lack of care on the field and with the game itself. This will likely change in the NFL because these players play to get paid. Jeffery will likely be drafted in the second round and there he won't find a lot of guaranteed money on his contract. That factor should delete any concern about him not caring on the field. 

Hopefully for the Vikes, Jeffery will produce like he did in 2010 where he caught 88 passes for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns, and not like 2011 where those numbers were cut in half. 

It seems more than likely that the Vikings will take Kalil with their first round pick. If that plays out to be true than the team needs to grab a number one option at wide receiver in the second round and sure up the offense. Maybe then Minnesota's offense can keep up with Detroit, Green Bay and Chicago.

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