One pick down, one to go in the Vikings' "fan crowd-sourcing draft."
You folks have spoken, and so at No. 23, the Vikings would select a wide receiver—37 percent of you chose another weapon for Christian Ponder.
I'd say there are several players to take with that pick—Tavon Austin makes a ton of sense, as does Keenan Allen if you aren't too worried about his injury history. I've seen Robert Woods' name around a lot lately.
The next closest positions in the voting were cornerback (26 percent) and middle/inside linebacker (25 percent). I'm very interested to see where the votes from the wide receiver folks go in this next poll, particularly if they beef up the defensive tackle column—which I was surprised to see get just a measly 9.5 percent.
A benefit of having two picks so close to each other is that if you like a guy, there's a good chance he'll be there two picks from now. It's a luxury we talked a little about last time.
With the receiver pick out of the way (and maybe later this week we'll do a poll to see which receiver you'd prefer), the question becomes "which defensive position does the team attack?"
I'll post the breakdowns from last time below, with a few tweaks here and there, and add another spot—trade.
The Case for Cornerback
Antoine Winfield was old and perhaps overpriced, but he was far and away the best corner on the team.
Which points out that even before he was cut, this position needed an upgrade.
Xavier Rhodes from Florida State or Desmond Trufant from Washington could be here for this pick, but honestly, the more I watch their games and the more I read the less likely it seems.
In a league where teams like to throw—a lot—you need a crackerjack secondary. The safety position needs an upgrade next to Harrison Smith, but it's not a high priority. What is a priority is a new cornerback.
However, if there isn't a solid guy here, do you just grab anyone? I recently saw a mock with Tharold Simon going here—a guy who most sites have with a fourth- or fifth-round grade. Is that what you're reduced to? Hope whomever you get will fill the void?
I don't believe in reaches—if you like a guy, go get him because you never know if he'll last much longer.
However, the Vikings need to be careful here, and if Rhodes and Trufant are off the board, I don't see a guy sneaking into the first who is worth this pick at this position.
The Case for Defensive Tackle
The Vikings' run defense was not all that pretty last season. It started out well, but it degraded over the course of the season, and that can't keep happening.
Going with this position would hinge completely on available talent. Will Sheldon Richardson or Johnathan Hankins fall this far? For purposes of this crowd sourcing, assume yes.
Of course the dream scenario would be Star Lotulelei dropping, but as the Utah tackle cleared his latest health exams, I don't expect him to drop very far at all.
So balance out the two players mentioned and consider the strength of the second-rounders—guys like Alabama's Jesse Williams or Purdue's Kawann Short—against missing out on those two.
Not much has changed in the four days since we last looked at this, and taking a second look at the board, I have to wonder if the team (like you guys) will wait until Round 2 to address this.
The Case for Middle Linebacker
As has been chronicled all year, I love Audie Cole. That said, I'm not sure he's the guy you want to roll with as your starting middle linebacker—not yet. After Cole, there's not much.
I'm a big fan of LSU's Kevin Minter and consider a guy like Arthur Brown from Kansas State a possibility to play either outside or inside. There are also two guys bound to cause some sharp opinions but must be in the discussion—Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Georgia's Alec Ogletree.
Te'o's issues, as someone pointed out last week, go beyond the Alabama game. Teams need to take a close look at him to see if he's their guy. I think, for purposes of this team, he's a bit smaller than I'd like and might require some patience as they smooth the rough edges off his game.
I do believe he has to talent to be a solid middle linebacker, but solid may not be enough for the team.
Ogletree's got his character concerns; Brown might fit better outside.
Inside linebacker is in dire need of help here, though, and there will likely be ample players to choose from.
The Case for a Trade
There is enough depth of position in the second round to where the Vikings can easily trade back and get some more picks. While picks won't solve everything, they won't hurt either, especially if one of them is an early second-rounder.
It's entirely possible that teams will be looking to trade in and grab a late quarterback—right now the hot names include Ryan Nassib and Tyler Wilson—before another team does it.
I'd make that trade in heartbeat.
Trade this pick—get more picks in the early second and later on and take as many players from this talent-rich, deep class.
Middle linebacker and corner are big needs, so if no trade comes, take one of them.
However, if you can possibly trade this pick, that's how you maximize value.
What do you think? Vote in the poll and comment below.
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