Plan of Attack for the 2012 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings

Free agency is waning down and the Draft is just hours away.  It’s time to sit down and go over every teams free agent acquisitions and losses, along with their team needs.   Using that information  we will figure out a Plan of Attack for the 2012 Draft for each team.  We’ll start with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and work our way down one day at a time, to the Indianapolis Colts and the first overall pick.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS                                                                                                      

Team Needs:  OT, CB, S, LB, RB, DT                                                            

Free Agent Additions:  WR Devin Aromashodu (resigned), CB Zack Bowman, TE John Carlson, CB Chris Carr, NT Fred Evans (resigned), FB Jerome Felton, DT Letroy Guion, OLB Erin Henderson (resigned), FB Lex Hilliard, OLB Marvin Mitchell,   

Free Agent Losses:  CB Cedric Griffin, G Steve Hutchinson, S Tyrell Johnson, OLB Kenny Onatolu

Round 1:
Potential Targets: 
OT Matt Kalil, CB Morris Claiborne, WR Justin Blackmon

Round 2:
Potential Targets: 
S Harrison Smith, WR Stephen Hill, WR Ruben Randle, WR Alshon Jeffrey, WR Brian Quick, WR AJ Jenkins, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Josh Robinson, DT Devon Still, DT Brandon Thompson, DT Kendall Reyes, OLB Lavonte David

 Round 3:
Potential Targets: 
S Brandon Taylor, S Antonio Allen, CB/S Chase Minnifield, CB Jayron Hosley, CB Trumaine Johnson, CB Dwight Bentley, WR Marvin McNutt, WR Ryan Broyles, WR Nick Toon, WR Chris Givens

 Plan of Attack:  The Minnesota Vikings hold the third pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and while they are currently sending out signals against it, OT Matt Kalil from USC should be the pick.  Kalil is a big dancing bear at left tackle.  He has a great drive and fights defenders until the whistle.  He comes from good bloodlines and is a potential 10 year starter and mulitple Pro Bowler.  He is the only left tackle in this draft that one can say that about.  If the Vikings take Kalil they will upgrade not just one position but three.   Kalil would start at left tackle, kicking Charlie Johnson inside to guard.  That upgrades the entire left side of the line.  The added protection would give second year QB Christian Ponder more time to throw, in turn making him better.  It’s basically a no brainer type of pick, so that is why its odd we are hearing rumors they want to trade down or would take CB Morris Claiborne or WR Justin Blackmon here.  It’s not that those two players aren’t worthy of the no. 3 overall pick, it’s that the corner and receiver class is so deep the Vikings should be able to find a starter or contributor later in the draft.

After taking Kalil in round 1, the Vikes will have two targets in mind for pick 35, S Harrison Smith from Notre Dame or WR Rueben Randle from LSU.  They have arguably the worst group of safeties in the league and Smith would be a 16 game starter in his rookie season.  He is nearly 6’2, very smart and instinctive and has the speed to cover.  He is a great tackler but his ball skills are just average.  The other route the Vikings could go would be to take LSU Rueben Randle.  Randle is a tall lanky receiver with good vertical speed.  He’d have much better numbers coming out of college if he would have had a decent QB to throw him the ball.  They need to get Ponder weapons and Randle would be the best pass catcher they could hope for in round 2, assuming Stephen Hill doesn’t fall.  If both Randle and Smith are gone, the Vikings should just take the highest player on the board and could find DT Devon Still or Kendall Reyes avaialble, or maybe even LB Lavonte David.

In round 3 the Vikings will address their secondary if they missed out on Smith in round 2, or a reciver if they didn’t land Randle.  Some defensive backs that could catch their eye would be safeties Antonio Allen or Brandon Taylor, and corners Jayron Hosley from Va Tech, Chase Minnifield from Virginia, or Dwight Bentley from Louisiana Lafayette.  Hosley is especially intriguing as he is a ball hawk.  The Vikings went about 10 games last year without a single interception.  Hosley had 10 alone his junior year.  He’d give the Vikings secondary the big play ability they’ve lacked.  If the Vikings do get Harrison Smith in round 2, corner would still be in play, but it’s likely they’d look for a WR to help Ponder’s development.  They want one with size and vertical speed, and could look at Iowa’s Marvin McNutt, or Wisconsin’s Nick Toon.


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