2012 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings Would Be Foolish to Draft Harrison Smith

Sammy Sucu@oblivion08Senior Analyst IApril 10, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 03: Harrison Smith #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish awaits the start of play against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. South Florida defeated Notre Dame 23-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If the Minnesota Vikings select Harrison Smith with their 35th overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, it would be a huge mistake. 

According to Charley Walters of TwinCities.com, the Vikings will likely select Smith if he is available in the second round.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman loves former Notre Dame players—he already has three of them on the roster: tight ends John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph and center John Sullivan. Considering the Vikings' need at safety, Smith would be a perfect fit.

If Smith is available, there is little doubt the Vikings will pounce on him. But if he isn't, the Vikings' second-round pick could be wideout Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech, defensive tackle Kendall Reyes of Connecticut or cornerback Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama.

The Vikings have plenty of needs, especially in the secondary. Although they signed both Zack Bowman and Cris Carr in the offseason, the Vikes still need to fix their secondary that was ranked 26th in 2011. With that being said, the team should not draft a safety in the second round.

The Vikings have not had much production from the safety position ever since Darren Sharper was on the squad from 2005-2008. However, the team might be well off at that position this season. Mistral Raymond impressed many in the last few games of the 2011-2012 regular season. Some reporters, like Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN.com, believe Raymond has a chance to compete for the starting safety position. 

There has also been some discussion by Spielman and speculation from fans about moving Antoine Winfield to safety. If it were true, then a combination of Winfield and Raymond should be enough—for now. 

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Antoine Winfield #26 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on before the game against the Dallas Cowboys on August 27, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

If the Vikes were to go ahead and draft Smith, they would miss out on the opportunity of filling in their large gap at the wide receiver position. Last season, the Vikings were not able to move the ball down the field much because they only had one threat at receiver. 

With their second-round pick the Vikings should only go after a wide receiver. Either Alshon Jeffery, Stephen Hill or Rueben Randle should be available here. All three are talented enough to carry the torch as the team's No. 1 option. There are not many names in the later rounds that will have the talent to do that. 

Smith would be a great pick in the second round, but the Vikes don't need him the way they need Jeffery, Randle or Hill.  Smith may help the Vikings secondary, but the team could find a gem in the later rounds, like Brandon Taylor or Markelle Martin. Both Taylor and Martin have enough talent, and with the right guidance and coaching either of the two can grow into great starting safeties in the NFL. 

The Vikings may need a wide receiver more than they do a left tackle. The only reason they will not select a wide receiver is because Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd are not worthy of being selected at the third overall position.

Minnesota seems adamant about developing Christian Ponder into an elite quarterback. If it does not give him a primary target at wide receiver, it may stunt his growth.

Many speculated the Vikes will sign a big target in free agency, but that did not happen. Instead, the Vikings should attack the draft and pick up a wide receiver as soon as they finish drafting Matt Kalil with their third overall pick. Not only should the team draft a wide receiver in the second round, it should also continue to look for talented pass-catchers in the fourth or fifth rounds. 

If the Vikings draft Smith instead of selecting one of the three talented receivers that should be available in the second round, they will make Ponder's second year as a starting quarterback that much more difficult. The NFL has become a passing league and the Vikings may have one of the worst pass attacks in the league. 

The Vikes need to add as much talent as possible to their receiver corps if they want to join the trend in the NFL. A great passing attack, mixed in with their already great rushing attack, will put the Vikings even closer to becoming a playoff-caliber team. If the Vikings continue to not address their receiver position as early as possible, the chance to make the playoffs may be postponed for a couple more years.


Sammy Sucu is a featured columnist for the WWE. Sammy also writes about the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Lakers. You can follow him on Twitter  @ThaFreakness_BR.