What makes sense?
With two first-round picks Thursday, Nos. 23 and 25 overall, the Vikings have a chance to make a splash early in the draft. So who might they target? Here are six players to watch:
Notre Dame middle linebacker
Why it makes sense: The Vikings need a starting MLB. And in 2012, Te’o was the emotional leader and playmaking linchpin for the 12-1 Irish.
Reason to pass: Lacks elite speed. Plus that whole fake girlfriend hoax soap opera could bring an unwanted and exhausting media swarm.
LSU middle linebacker
Why it makes sense: If you get past his ordinary combine numbers and simply zero in on film, Minter is proven as an alert and aggressive run-stopper.
Reason to pass: Might be a half-step too slow for what the Vikings want their MLBs to accomplish in coverage.
Why it makes sense: Allen might not have eye-popping speed. But he is proficient at making catches in traffic, blessed with the instincts on how to use his 6-3, 205-pound frame.
Reason to pass: Without top-end speed, he doesn’t project to be a consistent deep threat, which is what the Vikings offense needs most.
Why it makes sense: Christian Ponder could use an outside speed guy. Hunter is that. He’s 6-4 with long strides and ran the 40 in 4.43 seconds at the combine.
Reason to pass: The depth at receiver this year gives the Vikings the potential luxury of waiting into Round 2 to grab a quality pass catcher.
XAVIER RHODES º
Florida State cornerback
Why it makes sense: In a division with Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall, a corner with Rhodes’ size (6-1, 210), speed and physicality would be hard to ignore if available.
Reason to pass: Rhodes is at his best in press coverage and might not be the ideal fit in a zone-heavy Vikings defense.
North Carolina defensive tackle
Why it makes sense: In the search for a successor to Kevin Williams, Sylvester Williams’ combination of power and quickness makes him a matchup headache.
Reason to pass: His two-year stop at UNC was filled with inconsistency and he might have stamina issues.
Also keep an eye on: Alec Ogletree, Georgia LB; Robert Woods, Southern Cal WR; Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee WR; D.J. Hayden, Houston CB