5 Players That Christian Ponder Would Most Love the Minnesota Vikings to Draft

Nick McAndrews@@NickMcAndrewsCorrespondent IIIApril 2, 2012

5 Players That Christian Ponder Would Most Love the Minnesota Vikings to Draft

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    The NFL draft is less than a month away, and with the No. 3 overall pick, Rick Speilman and the Minnesota Vikings have a big decision to make with their selection.

    With their first-round pick in the 2011 draft, the Vikings chose to run with QB Christian Ponder as the future face of their franchise. Now that they've made that commitment, they must place the pieces around him to help make the whole team successful. 

    Regardless of who I think they'll select, there is no doubt in my mind that they will select either a Left Tackle, a Wide Receiver or a Cornerback.

    Here's a ranking of the top five players that Christian Ponder would most love for the Minnesota Vikings to select in the NFL draft.

5. WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

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    One of the most obvious areas of need for the Minnesota Vikings is at wide receiver. 

    Justin Blackmon is arguably the best WR in the 2012 class and will no doubt be available with the No. 3 overall pick. 

    Because of the boom-or-bust nature of WRs in the early part of the draft, I don't necessarily advocate for the Vikings to select Blackmon. However, the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner would make for a great pairing with Percy Harvin and a excellent target for Ponder.

    Ponder was without many good pass-catchers in his rookie season. He would love for the Vikings to draft him a new toy in Justin Blackmon. 

4. OG David DeCastro, Stanford

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    More than new targets, Christian Ponder will value being protected so that he can complete passes to the targets he already has. 

    Left Tackle is a position much more in need of an upgrade, but the interior of the offensive line could certainly use some work as well. If, hypothetically, the Vikings were to trade down out of their No.3 spot, DeCastro would be an ideal replacement for the recently cut Steve Hutchinson.

    DeCastro spent his college career blocking for the most coveted NFL prospect since John Elway. Andrew Luck is an impressive prospect, there's no doubt about it, but a lot can be attributed to the play of his offensive linemen like DeCastro and tackle prospect Jonathan Martin.

    This scenario would only happen if the Vikings were to trade down, but if they were to miss out on elite tackle prospect Matt Kalil, they would certainly pull the trigger on elite guard prospect David DeCastro--and Christian Ponder would love them for it.

3. WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

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    Back to the situation with WRs, Alshon Jeffery could offer all of the things that Justin Blackmon offers, and then some. Well, let me correct myself. Jeffery could be the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in the draft, but if things turn out right, he could be the next Julio Jones to Blackmon's A.J. Green.

    Jeffery has better size, speed and, in some cases, ability than Blackmon. But his work ethic being in question could completely ruin Jeffery's stock.

    This could work into the Vikings' benefit. If they were to trade down like I suggested on the previous slide, Jeffery would no-doubt be available for the Vikings to take. Hell, if they're lucky he'll fall to them at No. 35.

    Jeffery could come with a lot of risk, but Ponder would love a 6-foot-4-inch, 225-lb. receiver who can simply go up and get the ball in traffic.

2. CB Morris Claiborne, LSU

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    What would Ponder love more than an offensive weapon to throw the ball to? A defensive weapon that will take the ball away from the other QB and get possession for him.

    Morris Claiborne is the best defensive back in the draft and, just like Patrick Peterson before him, the LSU product could be a game-changer at the NFL level. 

    Pairing Morris Claiborne with Chris Cook on the outside would make for a pretty impressive secondary considering the state of it in 2011. The problem is, using the third overall pick on a defensive back would be a bit of reach—for any team. 

    Nonetheless, Claiborne could be a fantastic option for the Vikings to select. The class is deep with field-stretching WRs, and with Ponder's mobility, offensive line could wait until the second round. I'm sure Ponder would love to be on the field more; Morris Claiborne would facilitate.

1. OT Matt Kalil, USC

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    Yeah, I didn't believe that last sentence either. What is Christian Ponder going to love more than a blindside protector that will allow him to stay upright for the remainder of his young career?

    Kalil is the obvious pick, the smart pick, the right pick. 

    Not only does the USC product fix the offensive line issue, he'll become a cornerstone for the Vikings for the next decade. Ponder was banged up so often in 2011, there is nothing he'll love more than a behemoth like Kalil to watch his back in the future. 


    Thanks for reading.


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