Thanks to a deal that sent disgruntled receiver Percy Harvin west to Seattle, the Vikings now possess two first-round picks—the No. 23 and No. 25 selections. Overall, Minnesota has 11 draft picks, including five in the top 100.
However, the Vikings, despite winning 10 games and landing a surprising playoff berth last season, still have several holes that need filling, and the draft will be the likely avenue used to fill them.
In the following slides, we'll provide a one-stop shop for all the Vikings news, reports and rumors regarding the 2013 NFL draft. The tracker will update consistently over the next three weeks as the draft approaches, so stick here for everything you'll need.
April 23: According to Draft Insider's Tony Pauline, the Vikings are one of the top suitors for Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine.
April 21: Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press expects the Vikings to use one of their first-round picks on a cornerback. Both Houston's D.J. Hayden and Washington's Desmond Trufant are mentioned as likely options.
April 18: Jason La Canfora reports that the Vikings have "spent a lot of time" with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and have came away "impressed." Support continues to build for Minnesota to use on of their first-round picks on Te'o, who La Canfora now believes is a lock for the top 32.
April 18: According to Jason La Canfora, the Vikings are one of the team's who could make a move for West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin. With two first-round picks, Minnesota might move into the top-10 picks to "get him."
April 18: Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, USC receiver Robert Woods has visited the Vikings, along with three other teams. Woods could deliver another a strong option for the rebuilt Minnesota receiving corps.
April 8: Both head coach Leslie Frazier and linebackers coach Mike Singletary insinuated to Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that finding (and then developing) an inside linebacker during the 2013 NFL draft is a priority. First-round options include Alec Ogletree, Manti Te'o, Arthur Brown and Kevin Minter.
April 4: ESPN's Chris Mortensen tweeted that Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o remains a "possibility" for the Vikings.
According to Draft Ace, the following players have visited or will visit the Vikings:
RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M
WR Keenan Allen, California
WR Robert Woods, USC
OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
OG Ryan Jensen, Colorado State-Pueblo
DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
DT Mike Catapano, Princeton
LB Kiko Alonso, Oregon
CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
P – Brad Wing, LSU
P - Sam Martin, Appalachian State
The Vikings could do much worse than a receiving trio of Patterson, Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright. Minter receives little attention, but he'd be an immediate starter for Minnesota inside.
ESPN (Todd McShay, 4/4): DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State (No. 23); LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame (No. 25)
The need at defensive end isn't pressing, but Werner might be good value at No. 23. Like Minter, Te'o would slide in as an immediate starter at inside linebacker.
Sports Illustrated (Don Banks, 4/5): DL Sheldon Richardson, Missouri (No. 23); LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame (No. 25)
Richardson is one of this draft's most underrated players. He could be a force right away. Having him potentially play in front of Te'o is appealing.
National Football Post (Russ Lande, 4/3): WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (No. 23); CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (No. 25)
The vertical aspect to Patterson's game is enticing, especially in a make-or-break year for Christian Ponder. The physical Rhodes would be a fine addition to match up with some of the NFC North's top receivers (Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson).
CBS Sports (Rob Rang, 4/2): DT Star Lotulelei, Utah (No. 23); WR Keenan Allen, Cal (No. 25)
Lotulelei would be an absolute steal at No. 23. He's unlikely to last that long. Allen is impressive after the catch and could be a better fit for Ponder and the Vikings offense.
April 21: Ian Rapoprt of NFL.com has heard that the Vikings want to move to move up from No. 23 or 25 overall, likely to select a receiver. Rapoport mentions Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson and West Virginia's Tavon Austin as likely targets.
April 18: According to Jason La Canfora, the Vikings have the draft ammunition to jump into the top-10 picks and "get" West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin. With the Dolphins, Buccaneers and Rams "coveting" Austin before the Vikings pick in the mid-20s, Minnesota would likely need to bundle both picks to move up and secure the dynamo playmaker.
Few teams in the NFL need help at inside linebacker quite like the Minnesota Vikings.
If the season started today, the Vikings would be looking at 27-year-old journeyman Tyrone McKenzie as the starter at middle linebacker. Marvin Mitchell would be his primary backup.
The Vikings would be crazy to enter 2013 with such a situation still in place. All along, the expectation has been that middle linebacker will be prioritized at the start of the 2013 NFL draft.
Potential replacements for 2012 starter Jasper Brinkley, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, include Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, Georgia's Alec Ogletree, LSU's Kevin Minter and Kansas State's Arthur Brown. Considering the Vikings have two first-round picks, it's difficult to envision one of the four not landing in the Twin Cities.
If the Vikings don't want to use a valuable first-rounder on the position, other options include Florida's Jon Bostic, Oregon's Kiko Alonso and UNC's Kevin Riddick.
Regardless of whether Minnesota goes middle linebacker early or not, expect the team to add at least one player at the position. It's arguably the team's biggest need.
A tumultuous and increasingly public back-and-forth dispute between the Vikings and receiver Percy Harvin finally ended when the team dealt the versatile weapon to the Seattle Seahawks in March.
Instead of relying solely on the NFL draft to fill his rather large shoes, the Vikings signed veteran receiver Greg Jennings—formerly of the Green Bay Packers—during free agency. However, Minnesota likely isn't done fixing the receiver position.
April's draft appears to be a fine time to give quarterback Christian Ponder a weapon or two, as several options could be available either in the first or second round. The Vikings have three picks in the top 60, giving general manager Rick Spielman ample opportunity to pull the trigger on a name such as Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen.
If the Vikings can snag one of the draft's top receivers, a position of certain weakness can potentially turn into a strength. Rookie X, Jennings, slot receiver Jarius Wright and Jerome Simpson can be a capable foursome.