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

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 24, 2013 - 12:27 AM

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

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o could be the linebacker that the Vikings covet to play next to Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson.

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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, offering General Manager Rick Spielman ample opportunity to upgrade the roster.

So just how will the organization choose to use its picks? Here’s how we see the Vikings’ priorities by position:

Linebackers

Level of draft need: High. Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson bring continuity. But the Vikings are without a starting middle linebacker and need to find a guy who not only has athleticism, toughness and coverage ability but offers intangibles as an on-field leader and can be relied on as a three-down force.

 

Cornerbacks

Level of draft need: High. Antoine Winfield’s exit — released March 12, signed by Seattle on April 12 — might have made cornerback the position of highest priority for the Vikings. At present, the team’s top three corners are Chris Cook, Josh Robinson and A.J. Jefferson. And there’s little quality depth beyond that.

 

Receivers

Level of draft need: High. Even with Greg Jennings aboard, the Vikings owe it to themselves to surround quarterback Christian Ponder with as many weapons as possible if they want to complete his three-year evaluation fairly. Ponder and the offense badly need an outside speed threat. More reliable depth at the position is necessary, too. Nabbing at least two receivers in the draft seems likely.

 

Defensive line

Level of draft need: Moderate. The Vikings are content with the way the Letroy Guion-Fred Evans tandem worked at nose tackle in 2012, so the priorities at defensive tackle will revolve around finding additional three-technique options in the search for Kevin Williams’ successor. The defensive end position seems more solidified. But it is worth noting that Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen are all entering the final year of their contracts.

 

Offensive line

Level of draft need: Moderate. The Vikings started the same five players for all 16 games last season. And that quintet returns intact with growing confidence and chemistry. But more quality depth is needed. Day 3 could be the place to find some.

 

Safety

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

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