NFL Draft 2012: Why This Is a Make or Break Draft for the Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have been reluctant to come out and admit that they are in a rebuilding mode, but coming off a 3-13 season, it's pretty clear the house out at Winter Park is in need of some major upgrades.
The first pieces of the overhaul were put into place last season, with new head coach Leslie Frazier and rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.
To the say that the 2012 draft is the most important in team history might not be a stretch at all, and it's certainly going to be very important for the futures of Frazier and GM Rick Spielman.
The Vikings need to find four eventual starters and need to hit on at least a couple of more picks to add depth to a depleted roster.
If the Vikings fail in this draft, the hole that's been dug over the last two seasons will only get deeper, and Frazier and Spielman might find themselves in the unemployment line.
What the Vikings do next Thursday night will set the tone for the following two days of drafting, whether they take offensive tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Morris Claiborne or trade down in order to pick up more second- and third-round selections.
The hope here is that the Vikings take Kalil, the franchise-type left tackle who can do more than any other draft option in helping the development of Ponder, the franchise cornerstone.
What should the Vikings do with their first pick?
Sometimes when planning for the future, it helps to take a look at the past. The Vikings have twice taken offensive tackles out of Southern Cal in the first round: Ron Yary, the Hall of Famer who was the cornerstone of an offensive line that played in four Super Bowls, and Steve Riley with their second of two first-round picks in 1977.
Riley was a serviceable starter and depth player for a decade for the Vikings. Two other times Minnesota has used first-round picks on USC players: Joey Browner, who was among the best defensive backs the team has ever had, and Kenechi Udeze, who's career was cut short due to leukemia.
Looming maybe most importantly in Vikings lore is the USC player the team passed on. In need of a running back in 1982, the Vikings selected Stanford's Darrin Nelson with the seventh pick, leaving the delighted Los Angeles Raiders to take local hero and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen three picks later. Allen had a Hall of Fame career. Nelson did not.
Obviously these things won't matter when it comes time to turn in the Vikings pick next Thursday, other than that Minnesota has had good luck when it comes to taking Trojans in the first round. Kalil would be a huge step towards stabilizing an offensive line that was awful in 2011.
The Vikings obviously have options when it comes to their first pick, they can make the safe play and take Kalil, they can shore up the secondary with a blue chip cornerback, or they can trade down and pick up more picks in the second and third rounds.
It's beyond the first round that will ultimately be the most important picks for Spielman and the future of the team. They simply have to hit on their picks in the second, third and fourth rounds and then come up with some useful players in the later rounds. It's a team that seriously lacks depth and with 10 picks they have a huge opportunity to shore up their talent level.
It's no secret that the most glaring needs for the purple are on the offensive line, at wide receiver and in the secondary. While most have hoped the Vikings take a corner early in the draft, many are now hoping they get the chance to take safety Harrison Smith out of Notre Dame with their early second-round pick. Smith would start immediately and be a huge upgrade over the last couple of seasons.
Holes also need to be filled at linebacker and a defensive tackle wouldn't hurt either. It's true that there is just too much to fix to hope for a huge turnaround in 2012, but with so many picks, the Vikings can take a giant step towards rebuilding a playoff caliber roster.
One of the only positives from a 3-13 season is getting high picks in each round in the following draft. It's time for the positives. It's time for Spielman and Frazier to start the rebuild. If they fail, their stay in Minnesota won't last long.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?