2012 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects the Minnesota Vikings Need for Christian Ponder

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IDecember 21, 2011

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects the Minnesota Vikings Need for Christian Ponder

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    By now, the Minnesota Vikings should be in near-full draft mode, and it is about that time to start taking a look at who, exactly, the Minnesota Vikings should be surrounding Christian Ponder with.

    This year's draft is especially deep, and this year's potential positioning has the Vikings is a very good spot—a spot that is almost guaranteed to net one or two high impact players.

    Let's see who I have in mind, and be sure to leave your mention below.

Matt Kalil: OT

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    With the way this season is going the Vikings could conceivably wind up with a very early pick, and with a lot of NFL teams in need of a QB, Kalil could wind up falling into Minnesota's lap.

    The Vikings need an OT that is a near plug-and-play prototype, and Kalil and his 6'6", 295-pound frame fits the bill.

    He may need to learn a few pulling techniques, and his overall speed may need some fine tuning, but other than that, this guy is an all-around quality draft selection.

Rueben Randle: WR

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    There a few other receivers in the first round of the draft that are getting more attention than Randle—right now anyway—but after doing the work, I believe Randle is more suited for the Vikings than Justin Blackmon or even Michael Floyd.

    It's not just Randle's physical style of play, or the fact that he is sort of an amalgamation of Greg Jennings and Calvin Johnson, but rather his ability to play in modified offenses that requires an impact receiver in specific situations.

    The likelihood of the Vikings targeting a receiver so early is very low, since they are expected to try finding one in free agency first, but certainly not out of the question.

    I like Randle.

Dre Kirkpatrick: CB

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    In the grand scheme of things, you don't "surround" a quarterback with a defensive player, but it certainly helps to have a quality impact player out there on D, holding the lead that may be built.

    What makes Kirkpatrick so damn inviting is the fact that he is one of the most physical corners in the draft right now, and he's known for it.

    Kirkpatrick has the strength to prevent himself from being bullied while using that strength to handle the more physical and challenging receivers in the league.

    His biggest asset—one that can be utilized by Minnesota—is the fact that he excels at man-to-man coverage, while also possessing above average skills in zone.

    The Vikings were burned all year by bigger, more physical receivers, and they couldn't cover squat in man-to-man, especially when blitzing.

    This player, in my opinion, should be the Vikings' No. 1 selection.

Nigel Bradham: OLB

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    I'm going to "jump ahead" to the middle rounds for a minute to target a player who I feel could wind up being a total sleeper with more value than a brand new Hyundai at Christmas.

    Nigel Bradham of FSU has a lot of developable attributes to his game as an OLB, but the player himself plays within a system at FSU that dramatically improved over the course of this year, and Bradham himself really grown into one helluva outside backer.

    The Vikings will eventually have to turn their attention toward an outside backer with great physical play and enough speed to make a stop-gap impact on D, and Bradham is looking more and more like that candidate.

Zebrie Sanders: OT

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    If the Vikings decide to pass on Kalil in favor of another positional need, they could very easily land another top quality prospect, well before the third and fourth rounds.

    One of those prospects is FSU's, Zebrie Sanders.

    Sanders has the size, speed and above-average lateral movement on the line that is said to be NFL ready, and was often used on the outside of the line in a lead block roll—a dual player on the offensive line? Sign him up, Johnny!

    Sanders isn't really known for his interior blocking on the ground game and will have to work on consistency issues that plagued him all season, but if that's the worst the Vikings have to deal with, his value and intrigue just gained a few brownie points.

    So there are my fab five. Got a player you'd like to mention and why, then leave your mention below. Got a player you would like me to cover down the road, then leave his name as well.

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