Christian Ponder is beginning to prove his worth as a first round draft selection in 2011, but the team is going to need much more than just a quarterback if they are to move forward leaving the door wide open to speculate—per round roughly—who the Vikings could target.
Is it too early? Perhaps, but then again, why not?
Let's take a look at who I think the Vikings could target in the 2012 draft, and feel free to leave who you think the team could/should set their sights on.
Now that Ponder is beginning to establish himself as the Vikings quarterback of the future, the next move for the Vikings could be to help sure up an offensive line that has been lackluster to say the least.
Martin is one of the top offensive tackles heading into the draft currently, and at 6'6", 304 pounds, Martin is a sizable blockade for the Vikings prized quarterback possession.
Martin has great hands and solid center of gravity, and has the ability to adjust within motion of the play, allowing him to play multiple blocking schemes which could lend notion to him being a plug and play sort of lineman.
Think this is a reach? Well, think again.
Let's assume this draft is roughly based on the Vikings having the 12th and 44th pick overall in the first and second round—very feasible with the way things are going—at that point, Rhodes could easily be available as he is currently ranked 40th in the nation.
This is without taking into consideration any trading involved, or overall changes to Rhodes' rankings.
It is conceivable, then, that the Vikings could wind up with Rhodes who could provide another plug and play sort of guy with additional offensive experience to boot.
A quality OT and CB to begin the draft? What could be next?
Assuming that Michael Floyd—Notre Dame—could be off the board at this point, the Vikings could still find that diamond in the rough type of receiver in Dwight Jones.
At 6'4" 225, Jones is the type of deep-ball threat in the making the Vikings so desperately need,but there is more to the picture.
The Vikings could inevitably target a quality veteran wide-out in free agency, and even if they wind up keeping Michael Jenkins, the Vikings could have their own version of a developmental receiver a la Chiefs slot receiver Jonathan Baldwin.
Jones is known for his size and hands, while having good—not entirely great—speed and burst, so there is plenty of upside here.
Jones is the type of player who could have value written all over him in the coming years, should Minnesota decide to grab him.
The only problem with this pick is whether or not Osemele will in fact be around in the fourth round, which could be a little bit unlikely.
But then again, this is November and NONE of us can say for sure, unless someone possesses a crystal ball.
Rankings can change, draft strategies can be altered, and while there's a little wishful thinking here, the notion of the Vikings getting Martin, Rhodes, Jones AND Osemele would just be the cat's pajamas.
Here's to hoping, and remember it IS possible. Onto round five.
I mentioned earlier this week the possibility of the Vikings grabbing Lindsey in the middle rounds, and if that prediction becomes a possibility at this point int he draft, the Vikings could pull the trigger on a high quality linebacker for a very cheap price.
Lindsey plays in a highly aggressive defense at Pittsburgh that has also afforded him experience at DE—a plus for a team short on depth at both positions.
Lindsey could wind up being a guy that may see time later in the season regardless of where he goes, but he could also show himself to be another diamond in the rough.
At this point in the year it is very difficulty to predict where the Vikings will actually be regarding the fifth and sixth rounds, again, because of so many unforeseen factors.
So, we'll assume the Vikings will simply follow accord with the draft selection process and wind up with the 180th or so pick in the sixth round of the draft.
At that point, the Vikings could find a nice little gem in FS George Iloka, from Boise State.
Iloka is a sizable safety who has played in multiple scenarios defensively in his career, but it is his track record that could make him this year's top value pick should he indeed fall to the sixth round:
- Started each of the Broncos' 13 games at safety, giving him 27-consecutive starts since the beginning of his sophomore season
- Named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference,
- Boise State's third-leading tackler with 63 (49 solo), including 3.0 tackles-for-loss.
- Season-high nine tackles (six solo) against Louisiana Tech (Oct. 26).
- Recorded 2.0 TFLs against Utah in MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (Dec. 22).
- Recorded at least five tackles in six games
- Interceptions in back-to-back games against Fresno State (Nov. 19) and at No. 19 Nevada (Nov. 26) … forced a fumble against Toledo (Oct. 9)
Stats provided by CBS.com
I think at this point in the draft the Vikings could explore a myriad of avenues, but the one aspect of this team that everyone may forget is the fact that they need another quarterback added to the mix next year, if for nothing more than depth purposes.
Enter in Case Keenum from Houston.
Look, this kid is a solid long-arm Type-A thrower who is literally shattering all sorts of records at Houston right now, but what is even more intriguing is his track record; a record that still has him ranked 12th among quarterbacks, 203rd overall in the nation.
College rankings; go figure!
In four full years of service, Keenum has racked up 1,626 attempts for 1,118 completions (good for a 68.8 completion rate) alongside 13,586 passing yards and a 107:41 TD:INT ratio which is good for a cumulative 155.6 quarterback rating.
This year's draft could find a ton of high quality players falling to deeper-than-expected rounds because many NFL teams will be forced to address team-specific needs for various reasons, and while finding Keenum as a seventh round selection is going to be very difficult, it is certainly not out of the question.
Again, it is only November after all.
OK, that's what I have. What say you Vikings nation!