Anchor for Vikings D-line is possible in Round 1

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 24, 2013 - 1:07 AM

With the contracts of Kevin Williams and others expiring, the Vikings could look to beef up.

 

The Vikings have more pressing needs at middle linebacker, receiver and cornerback, but don’t be surprised if they draft a defensive tackle in the first round for the first time since taking Kevin Williams ninth overall 10 years ago.

Yes, it has been 10 years since the Vikings stocked the inner core of their defensive line with a blue-chip first-rounder. In fact, over the past nine drafts, the team has selected only four defensive tackles, none of them higher than the fourth round.

Asked if any of his “8,000 different scenarios” for Thursday’s first round includes an irresistible defensive tackle coming to Minnesota with the 23rd or 25th picks, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman just smiled.

“Potentially,” he said.

Spielman, of course, would have said the same thing regardless of the position in question. April isn’t a wise month for NFL general managers to share their innermost thoughts and dreams.

But look at this draft and you’ll see what Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman calls “the meat-and-potatoes draft.” Light on skill-position players, but heavy on, well, heavy guys.

“It may not be the flashiest thing, but it’s exciting,” Roseman said. “It’s hard to find big guys who can move, play with power.”

The first four picks could be offensive tackles or defensive ends/outside linebackers. Three left tackles could be taken in the first seven selections. Even a guard or two could go in the top half of the first round.

The Vikings won’t be taking an offensive tackle and probably wouldn’t take a guard. But defensive line, where age and expiring contracts are a concern, is another story.

Williams and the team’s top three defensive ends — Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen — are in the final year of their contracts. Williams recently accepted a pay cut from $7.5 million to a guaranteed $4.9 million for this season. He’ll most likely play for the Vikings this season, at age 33, but he’s no longer under contract for 2014.

“One thing I’m looking at very hard is where our depth is in 2014 as well,” Spielman said. “If there’s a significant player there that may not have as big a significant role in 2013 but can have a tremendous impact for our team in 2014, that is definitely going to come into consideration as well.”

There are four or more defensive tackles who could go in the first round Thursday night. Typical of first-rounders at that position, these are players who have the rare combination of tremendous size, power, quickness and foot speed. Just like Williams had back in 2003 when the Vikings were lucky enough to miss their draft turn twice and still end up with one of the best defensive tackles in team history.

Utah’s Star Lotulelei, a 6-3, 325-pounder, is a potential top-10 pick now that it appears his heart issue, which was discovered at the scouting combine in February, isn’t a concern. Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, who is smaller but still strong at 6-3, 295, also is up there.

Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson (6-4, 295) could fall to the Vikings, but the defensive tackle whose name has been linked to the Vikings the most through various mock drafts is North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams (6-3, 305). Ohio State defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins also is a possibility in the second round.

The Vikings have had a lot of success at defensive tackle despite little investment through the draft the past decade. Part of that is the longevity of Williams, a five-time All-Pro who remains an effective player. Part of it was getting six strong seasons (2005-10) out of free-agent nose tackle Pat Williams.

As for the draft, the only players the Vikings selected from 2004 to 2012 were C.J. Mosley in the sixth round in 2005, Letroy Guion in the fifth round in 2008, Christian Ballard in the fourth round in 2011 and Trevor Guyton in the seventh round last season.

Mosley was traded after his rookie year and Guyton never made it out of his first training camp. Guion starts at nose tackle while Ballard remains a promising backup.

  • related content

  • Position-by-position analysis of the Vikings' draft needs

    Wednesday April 24, 2013

    The Vikings head into this week’s NFL draft with plenty of currency. They have two picks — Nos. 23 and 25 — on Thursday and 11 selections overall

  • NFL draft facts

    Tuesday April 23, 2013

    2013 NFL draftWhen: Thursday (first round, 7 p.m., 10 minutes per selection); Friday (second and third rounds, 5:30 p.m., seven...

  • NFL picks 23 and 25 over the past decade

    Tuesday April 23, 2013

    The Vikings have picks 23 and 25 in this year’s draft. Here are players taken at that position since 2003.OVERALL...

  • Vikings notes: Spielman says phone lines have been buzzing

    Wednesday April 24, 2013

    Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman might be looking to trade.

  • NFL roundup: Former Ravens linebacker urges pros to support gay marriage

    Tuesday April 23, 2013

    Former Baltimore Ravens reserve linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo called on professional athletes Tuesday to stand up for marriage equality because he...

  • Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, addressing the media on Tuesday at Winter Park, enters the NFL draft on Thursday night armed with two first-round picks.

  • Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams, sacking Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, is 33 and isn’t under contract for 2014.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Jets 3 3rd Qtr 7:49
Buffalo 24
Baltimore 7 1st Qtr 5:45
New Orleans 0
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
LA Clippers 93 4th Qtr 5:20
Charlotte 82
Portland 100 4th Qtr 4:48
Philadelphia 91
Orlando 64 4th Qtr 5:55
Cleveland 95
Phoenix 58 3rd Qtr 6:52
Toronto 69
New York 38 2nd Qtr 1:24
Houston 49
Indiana 25 2nd Qtr
Dallas 24
Chicago 8:00 PM
Utah
Pittsburgh 2 3rd Prd
Boston 2
Philadelphia 0 3rd Prd 15:46
NY Islanders 0
Ottawa 1 2nd Prd 8:06
Detroit 2
Minnesota 2 2nd Prd 4:39
Florida 1
East Carolina 49 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Nevada 56 FINAL
Weber State 59
Evansville 58 FINAL
Fresno State 52
Purdue 79 FINAL
Kansas State 88
Dillard 73 FINAL
Alcorn State 95
Clemson 64 FINAL
LSU 61
Georgia State 69 FINAL
Chicago State 46
MD-Eastern Shore 55 FINAL
Detroit 69
Missouri 53 FINAL
Arizona 72
Austin Peay 57 FINAL
Indiana State 61
Milwaukee 56 FINAL
Louisiana 52
Marist 43 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 58
Gardner-Webb 46 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
Hampton 62 2nd Half 4:00
Appalachian St 72
Grambling St 46 FINAL
Ball State 88
FIU 70 2nd Half 0:30
Ga Southern 74
Jacksonville 71 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 89
Colgate 71 FINAL
James Madison 77
Savannah State 26 FINAL
Louisville 87
Arizona State 73 FINAL
Maryland 78
Santa Clara 50 2nd Half 1:09
Michigan State 79
Western Carolina 74 1st OT 0:40
Oakland 71
SE Louisiana 62 FINAL
Tenn Tech 81
Bucknell 65 FINAL
Toledo 92
Villanova 75 2nd Half 3:34
VA Commonwealth 51
Nicholls 42 2nd Half 2:59
Wake Forest 70
East Tenn St 61 2nd Half 2:12
Winthrop 61
Murray State 62 FINAL
Xavier 89
Eastern Wash 52 2nd Half 10:37
Indiana 59
Stephen F Austin 22 2nd Half
Baylor 33
Lipscomb 27 2nd Half
Belmont 41
Brown 35 2nd Half
Illinois 31
Pepperdine 30 2nd Half
Iowa 35
Rider 22 2nd Half
Kansas 51
Prairie View 23 2nd Half
Memphis 38
Clayton State 18 2nd Half
Miss State 29
Miss Valley St 20 2nd Half 19:20
TCU 60
TX A&M-Int 34 2nd Half
Incarnate Word 51
Oregon State 18 1st Half 6:13
Oklahoma State 16
Hawaii 17 1st Half 7:43
San Francisco 21
Seton Hall 8:00 PM
Illinois State
NJIT 8:00 PM
Marquette
Stetson 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Florida A&M 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Pittsburgh 8:00 PM
Chaminade
Alabama 8:30 PM
Iowa State
Michigan 8:30 PM
Oregon
Colorado Christian 8:30 PM
Northern Colorado
Chadron State 8:30 PM
South Dakota St
Western Mich 9:00 PM
San Diego
SIU Edwardsville 9:05 PM
Portland State
Tulsa 10:00 PM
Auburn
BYU 10:30 PM
San Diego St
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
Montreal 24 FINAL
Hamilton 40
Edmonton 18 FINAL
Calgary 43
Grambling 51 FINAL
George Washington 89
Saint Louis 57 FINAL
Vanderbilt 75
NW Nazarene 69 FINAL
Idaho State 88
Millersville 60 FINAL
Delaware State 71
NC State 51 FINAL
Tulane 60
Harvard 43 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 97
Austin Peay 65 FINAL
Chattanooga 76
Brescia 68 FINAL
Morehead St 98
Troy 65 FINAL
Florida A&M 59
Sam Houston St 49 FINAL
South Dakota St 60
UNC Greensboro 70 FINAL
Longwood 64
Rhode Island 69 FINAL
Columbia 79
Western State 37 FINAL
Northern Colorado 85
TX A&M-CC 54 FINAL
Rice 59
Cornell 58 FINAL
Fairfield 47
St Johns 49 FINAL
Marist 48
Bradley 63 FINAL
Stony Brook 79
Mount Ida 41 FINAL
UMass Lowell 93
Thomas (GA) 55 FINAL
Georgia State 101
Loyola-Maryland 43 FINAL
(10) Maryland 65
Campbell 57 FINAL
Western Carolina 67
North Florida 47 FINAL
Samford 81
Tennessee St 42 2nd Half 1:49
(4) Tennessee 90
Barton 37 2nd Half 8:41
UNC-Asheville 55
Prairie View 19 2nd Half
(7) Texas A&M 29
Eastern Washington 45 2nd Half 20:00
Abilene Christian 41
Missouri State 28 2nd Half
Oral Roberts 33
Cal-Irvine 31 2nd Half
South Dakota 56
Quinnipiac 21 2nd Half
Holy Cross 34
East Tenn St 30 2nd Half
Indiana State 36
(5) Stanford 8:00 PM
New Mexico
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Cal State Fullerton 8:00 PM
Weber State

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close