2012 NFL Draft: Exploring Every Team Need the Minnesota Vikings Must Address

Brian DezelskeCorrespondent IIIMarch 28, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Exploring Every Team Need the Minnesota Vikings Must Address

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    Pointing out the major needs for the Minnesota Vikings isn’t a very tough task to do. Just look at pretty much every position with the exception of defensive end, running back and quarterback—and that’s even debatable to some.

    The difficult part, really, is prioritizing them.

    To the vast majority, addressing the left tackle vacancy should be numero uno on Rick Spielman’s list (keyword there is "should").

    However, after that, the priorities could be up for debate. Some feel like attacking the cornerback position should be next on the list, while others feel that adding help at wide receiver would be more of a benefit right away.

    Either way you view it, one thing is for certain: This list of needs is what Minnesota should be targeting during the draft.

Offensive Line

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    One thing is for sure, and I’d bet my lunch money on it: The Vikings are taking Matt Kalil to solidify the left tackle position.

    Now, what we don’t know for sure is whether they’ll be picking him at No. 3 or No. 4.

    No. 4? What? How? Who? Why? Could it be, Dad? Could it be Christmas in April?

    Well, according to ESPN.com NFL North Blogger Kevin Seifert, it’s rumored the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns just might be vying for the services of Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

    That means the Dolphins would have to leapfrog the Browns, or Cleveland would have to trade up one spot assure it lands the former Aggie QB.

    Although he’s not the third-best player in the draft, he is the third-best quarterback in the draft and still a potential top-10 pick.

    And with the Dolphins and Browns both missing the boat on upgrading their respective QB positions during free agency and getting outplayed by the Washington Redskins for the services of Robert Griffin III, talk has swirled about them making a play for Tannehill.

    So it's not an early Christmas just yet, but we could be hearing jingle bells and Santa's "ho ho ho's" real soon.

    If these trade rumors become reality with the Miami Dolphins, we most likely don’t see Kalil fall to No. 9. However, Riley Reiff and Jonathan Martin should both be there to fall in Minnesota's lap and there's hardly any drop-off from the top-rated Kalil.

The Secondary

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    The Vikings broke out the salary cap calculator and did some addition by subtraction by letting Cedric Griffin go.

    They also received somewhat positive news when Chris Cook was acquitted of his charges, although we’re still not sure if he gets suspended to start the season yet. One has to think Roger Goddell is going to hand down some sort of punishment there.

    Age has hit one of our favorite Vikings of the last six years. Antoine Winfield will be 35 when this season starts and he’s been getting noticeably slower over the past three seasons.

    The Vikings having Chris Carr pay a visit makes me wonder what Rick Spielman was thinking—he may have been confused and thought he was bringing in Brandon Carr instead (I’ve had sleepless nights pondering this), but we’ll never know.

    So with the very little that has been done thus far in free agency, addressing the secondary early on in this draft is paramount.

    Minnesota will most likely take the conservative route and hope that a guy like safety Harrison Smith falls to them at No. 35.

    If that scenario were to play out, most of us, including myself, would be doing back flips.

    Another possibility that could happen would be the Vikings making a play to creep back into the lower part of the first round to snag either Dre Kirkpatrick or Janoris Jenkins.

    Kirkpatrick would be ideal just for the fact that he is so tough against the run, and his 6’2” frame would fare quite well against the likes of Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall.

    Talent-wise, Jenkins is a top-15 player and may even be a better overall cover guy than Morris Claiborne. However, a number of off-the-field issues have raised red flags with teams and caused his stock to plummet.

    Kirkpatrick isn’t immune to off-field issues, either. Back in January of this year, he was arrested on possession of the hippie lettuce.

    If one of these guys were to fall past No. 25 because of these issues, the Vikings brass should really consider taking a chance and jumping up to draft them.

    They would get an extreme talent to pair with Chris Cook, solidifying the corner position for the next six years.

Wide Receiver

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    A really deep class of receivers leads most of us to believe Minnesota will likely wait until the middle portion of the draft to attack this need as there are a number of WRs that would fit this team nicely.

    Tommy Streeter is a projected third-round guy who’s raw but has all the physical tools to become a legitimate No. 1 target for this team.

    Another receiver that could fit in well would be Devon Wylie from Fresno St. The 5’9” speedster ran an eye-popping 4.39 in the 40 and ripped off 17 reps on the bench.

    Although he has been often injured throughout his college career, he possesses quickness off the ball and the route-running ability you can compare to Wes Welker, according to fellow Bleacher Report featured columnist Nick McAndrews.

    It wouldn’t surprise me—it would be upsetting, though—to see Minnesota take a receiver in the second round if Alshon Jeffery fell to the Vikings at No. 35.

    The value, even though the need isn’t great here, may be too much for them to turn down.

Linebacker

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    Erin Henderson re-signed with the Vikings, which is a good thing. He had a nice year and will look to build on that this season. The only problem is that it was for only one year. The chances are high they look to add depth at the OLB position and possibly groom someone to replace Henderson after next season.

    A guy to watch out for is OLB Demario Davis from Arkansas St.

    Coming from a small school, it's not uncommon for a player to be very raw, which he is, but his athletic ability cannot be overlooked.

    He’s 6’2”, 235 lbs. and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds. He also ripped off 32 reps on the bench and has a 38.5-inch vertical.

    He’s freakishly gifted athletically, and with the right coaching he could turn into a premier player on the weak side.

    He has been projected somewhere in the sixth round, but a good pro day may vault him as high as the fourth round.

Defensive Tackle

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    Adding depth at this all-important position will hopefully get addressed at some point in this draft. The team cut ties with Remi Ayodele, leaving it having to find a starter alongside Kevin Williams. While some seem to think Everson Griffen could see some time at DT, the most logical positions for him are either DE or OLB.

    This dilemma leaves the Vikes little choice. With one of their three picks in the fourth round, don’t be surprised to see the Vikings go after a guy like a Marcus Forston from Miami—an undersized DT by today’s standards (6’1” 301 lbs.), but still tough against the run and displays a quick first step to you need to pressure the QB.

    Another guy that could be on the Vikes’ radar is DT Alameda Ta’amu from Washington.

    He’s a 6’3”, 348 lbs. road grader-style defensive tackle that would fit perfectly in between Williams and Jared Allen.

    He’s likely a third-round selection, but if he happens to fall into the top portion of the fourth, he probably won’t go past the Vikings at No. 99.

     

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