Minnesota Vikings NFL Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors, Storylines
The Vikings have many needs on both sides of the ball. These include just about every offensive line position other than center, wide receiver, running back, free and strong safety, cornerback and plenty of depth at linebacker.
The Vikings have 10 selections in the 2012 draft, and presumably will answer many of those needs.
The questions that still must be answered: Who will be selected with the third-overall pick? Will the Vikings trade their pick? Who will we see in Minnesota in 2012?
Latest Vikings Trade Rumors and Speculation
4/26: Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Browns have traded their 4th overall pick, 4th, 5th and 7th round picks to the Vikings for the 3rd overall pick.
TheVikingAge.com speculates that other teams' interest in the No. 3 pick seems to be fading. This is not surprising considering the fact that the Browns are reportedly willing to deal their No. 4 pick.
Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill has received a lot of attention in recent weeks. Speculation that the Miami Dolphins would trade up for Tannehill has quieted down, and the Miami Sun Sentinel reports that QB Matt Moore expects his chance to compete for the starting job.
It seemed like Miami wanted former Packers QB Matt Flynn this offseason, but just could not land him. If Matt Moore is not the answer, can they really afford to not try to land Tannehill? Maybe they're just holding out for Matt Barkley or Landry Jones in 2013.
The Bills recently worked out Tannehill as well. If there is enough interest there, Buffalo could end up becoming a trade partner for the Vikings who, at that point, might still be in a position to land Michael Floyd.
Other teams that could trade up include the Jaguars and Panthers—both of whom need help at WR. The Bengals and Patriots could also try and move up, considering both have two picks in the first round, but that is all just speculation.
Adam Schefter also reported Wednesday that the Philadelphia Eagles are trying to trade CB Asante Samuel before the draft. Though the Vikings have not been linked in trade talks for Samuel, the fact that their secondary played as poorly as it did in 2011 could surely factor in to a possible decision to pursue the veteran corner.
Samuel has a reputation for being somewhat of a ballhawk and could be a nice addition that will face Calvin Johnson Jr., Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Brandon Marshall twice a year. Should the Vikings choose not to go with LSU CB Morris Claiborne at No.3, a draft-day trade for Samuel could be in the cards.
Latest Vikings Draft News, Rumors and Speculation
Though the Vikings have the opportunity to draft the best non-quarterback prospect in the class in Matt Kalil, plenty of speculation has surfaced that the Vikings may not yet be sold on the top tackle prospect.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Vikings are interested in multiple players with the No. 3 overall pick. Schefter has said multiple times that Kalil is not a lock with the pick and that WRs Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd and CB Morris Claiborne could all be possibilities as well.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago reported that, though the Bears are interested in WR Alshon Jeffery, the Vikings are also interested in Jeffery, per a league source. Jeffery has been touted as a possible second rounder because of character concerns with his weight and work ethic.
Though Blackmon remains in the running to be selected at No. 3 as the class' top WR, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller tweeted that Blackmon does not have elite measurables or breakaway speed and even compared him to a smaller Anquan Boldin. Is that still requisite of a first-round pick, let alone a No. 3 overall pick?
The consensus seems to be that, though Vikings fans may not be happy about it, there has been no decision made on the third-overall pick to this point. The smart decision would be to take Kalil so that they could provide some protection for their "franchise quarterback" Christian Ponder, but Rick Spielman's smokescreens are difficult to see through at this point.
According to Tom Pelissero of 1500espn.com, Michael Floyd, who is a St. Paul, Minn. native, is meeting with the Vikings. Matt Kalil has also visited with the Vikings, but they have not been very vocal about the prospects they are considering as a whole.
What Will the Vikings Do with the No. 3 Overall Pick?
Despite all of the speculation that the Vikings will either not draft Kalil or trade the No. 3 pick, I only see two scenarios actually panning out for the Vikings:
1. The Vikings select Matt Kalil: The Vikings have three major holes on their offensive line, and Kalil makes up for two of them. Starting Kalil at LT allows the Vikings to move Charlie Johnson to LG to replace Steve Hutchinson.
That leaves RG as the only hole on the line and allows the Vikings to try and develop either Geoff Schwartz or Brandon Fusco into a starting-caliber player. This doesn't just help Christian Ponder in the passing game; it will create bigger running lanes for Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart and will ultimately improve the Vikings' offensive flow all together.
2. The Vikings trade with the Buffalo Bills and select Michael Floyd: Going offensive line in the first round should definitely get the most consideration for the Vikings, but trying to accumulate more picks couldn't be a terrible plan so long as the Vikings are still able to add a blue-chip player.
Michael Floyd is a homegrown kid who is touted by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller as the most NFL-ready receiver in his class. He's got great size, and he is very physical in traffic. Giving Ponder a sure-No. 1 target should be a priority at some point; if they miss out on Kalil, that might become the plan.
If the Vikings don't think they'll be able to land Kalil, Claiborne or Floyd after trading down, it just does not seem that likely.
I will speculate that Adam Schefter will be eating his words as Matt Kalil is putting on his Vikings draft cap and shaking Commissioner Goodell's hand after he's selected third overall.
What Is the Right Move in Round 2?
Should the Vikings decide to go with Matt Kalil with the No. 3 overall pick, what becomes the right move in the second round?
The Vikings have need at receiver, linebacker and cornerback, but the most important hole to fill at this point becomes safety.
Mark Barron seems to be the only prospect in this class that is receiving guaranteed first-round designation. Notre Dame SS Harrison Smith is on the threshold of Rounds 1 and 2, but the separation between the two prospects seems pretty apparent.
TwinCities.com Vikings analyst Charley Walters speculates that Harrison Smith could be the right fit for the Vikings, and he may just be right.
The Vikings' Tampa-2 base defense requires good play from both safety positions. Its reliance on the cover-2 helps to mask average or inadequate corners by taking away the deep ball.
The reason the Vikings secondary looked so awful in 2011 was not just because Chris Cook was not with the team, and it was not just because Antoine Winfield was injured. It was because injuries to both starting safeties (who really were not that good to begin with) forced the Vikings to start special teams phenom Jamarca Sanford and sixth-round rookie Mistral Raymond.
Cornerbacks get beat. It happens. That is why you need good safeties to help protect over the top and stop the bleeding. Drafting Stephon Gilmore in the second round is not the answer here; the answer is getting two safeties that can create competition in training camp and play centerfield on defense.
Harrison Smith will likely be the best available safety in the second round, and they will probably be calling his name if that becomes the case.