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Vikings 2014 Draft: Who Should Be on Minnesota's Draft Radar?

Tim ArcandCorrespondent IDecember 25, 2016

Vikings 2014 Draft: Who Should Be on Minnesota's Draft Radar?

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    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Topping the list of needs for most people, is quarterback. A quick scan of some early mock drafts all have the Vikings selecting a quarterback with the eighth pick.

    The consensus is that Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel will be a Viking next year—or at least drafted by the Vikings anyway.

    Walter Football, Dane Brugler from CBS Sports.com, Dan Kadar from SB Nation and Eric Edholm from Yahoo! Sports, all predict that the Vikings will select the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. 

    There is some dissent, with B/R featured columnist Chris Roling predicting that UCLA quarterback Brett Hudley will be Minnesota's selection. Rob Rang of CBS Sports anticipates the Vikings selecting quarterback Derek Carr from Fresno State. 

    As a sophomore, Manziel was a better passer than in his freshman season, but his rushing yardage was much less.

    YearCompAttYdsTDINTRatingRushesYds
    Freshman2954343,706269155.32011,410
    Sophomore2463563,5373213174.9121654

    If the Vikings have a chance to draft Manziel, it will bring a big name, with lots of expectations to quickly turn the Vikings around.

     

       

Quarterback Johnny Manziel

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Topping the list of needs for most people, is quarterback. A quick scan of some early mock drafts all have the Vikings selecting a quarterback with the eighth pick of the draft.

    The consensus is that Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel will be a Viking next year—or at least drafted by the Vikings anyway.

    Walter Football, Dane Brugler from CBS Sports.com, Dan Kadar from SB Nation and Eric Edholm from Yahoo! Sports, all predict that the Vikings will select the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. 

    There is some dissent, with B/R featured columnist Chris Roling predicting that UCLA quarterback Brett Hudley will be Minnesota's selection. Rob Rang of CBS Sports anticipates the Vikings selecting quarterback Derek Carr from Fresno State. 

    As a sophomore, Manziel was a better passer than in his freshman season, but his rushing yardage was much less.

    YearCompAttYdsTDINTRatingRushesYds
    Freshman2954343,706269155.32011,410
    Sophomore2463563,5373213174.9121654

     

    Drafting Manziel means bringing a big name in to be the face of the Minnesota franchise. And with it will come the expectation that the Vikings should quickly turn around their fortunes.

Defensive End Stephon Tuitt

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    Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

    With only one of their top three defensive ends signed for next year, the Minnesota Vikings will need to find a replacement.

    The top defensive end in the draft is Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina. Projected as a top-five selection, it would be virtually impossible for the Vikings to even consider drafting Clowney, especially if they select a quarterback first. 

    According to Walter Football, the second defensive end in the draft is Stephon Tuitt from Notre Dame. Projected as a late first-round or a second-round pick, Tuitt might be available when the Vikings' second turn to draft comes around. 

    The junior has led the Fighting Irish in sacks the past two seasons. In three years, he has 20 sacks and 122 tackles. 

    This season, he added an interception that he returned for a touchdown. At 6'6", 312 pounds, he has the size to be a force on the defensive line. 

     

Cornerback Kyle Fuller

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

    The Vikings' cornerback position has been decimated with injuries this season, with both Josh Robinson and Xavier Rhodes being placed on injured reserve. With Chris Cook struggling again this season, the Vikings need to find some depth at cornerback.

    If the Vikings look to address this need sooner rather than later, they might have a shot at the top corner in the draft—if you believe Walter Football.

    Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State is projected to go somewhere in the first or second round. CBS Sports concurs with that projection but ranks him as the third-best cornerback.

    Either way, if he is available when the Vikings draft in the second round, he would be a great addition. The senior led the Cowboys with six interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns. 

    He would also give the Vikings another option to return kicks. In four seasons at Oklahoma State, he returned six kicks for touchdowns. 

Inside Linebacker Christian Jones

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Even though the Vikings have selected three linebackers the last two drafts, there is still a need to improve the position.

    Second-year middle linebacker Audie Cole was promoted to starter after Erin Henderson missed a couple of games this season due to a "personal reason." That promotion came two days after the Vikings had waived Cole to make room to sign another player. 

    Their free-agent signing of Desmond Bishop didn't pay any dividends. Bishop suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 6 after playing in only four games. Erin Henderson has landed in the Vikings' doghouse since being arrested for a DWI in November. 

    Again, looking at a possible second-round selection, the Vikings might have a shot at Florida State linebacker Christian Jones. 

    According to CBS Sports, Jones is the fourth-ranked inside linebacker in the draft and projected as a second- to third-round pick. 

    In four seasons at FSU, Jones has 214 tackles, eight sacks and one interception. He led the Seminoles with 95 tackles as a junior in 2012 and played both at the weak-side and strong-side positions. 

     

     

Outside Linebacker Michael Sam

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Another player the Minnesota Vikings might consider is outside linebacker Michael Sam from Missouri. Projected by CBS Sports as a second-round pick, Sam led the Tigers with 18 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. 

    At 6'2" and 255 pounds, Sam might be able to play either defensive end or outside linebacker. That gives him two opportunities to fill a need for the Vikings.  

Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry

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    Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

    The Minnesota Vikings may have found a decent wide receiver tandem in rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and first-year free agent Greg Jennings.

    The odd man out might be Jerome Simpson, who lost his starting spot to Patterson. Simpson will be a free agent at the end of the season, and after signing him to two one-year contracts, there has not been any indication from the Minnesota front office that it will sign him for a third time.

    Needing to add some depth to the position, the Vikings might address this position somewhere in the third or fourth round of the draft. 

    One possible candidate is LSU junior Jarvis Landry.

    Landry, projected as a possible third-round pick, has led the Tigers in receptions and touchdowns the past two seasons. This year, he has 75 receptions for 1,172 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6'1", 195-pound wideout is a slightly smaller version of Patterson (6'2" and 216 lbs). 

     

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