Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Early-entry deadline approaches

Posted by: under Vikings, NFL draft, Vikings fans, Vikings draft Updated: January 14, 2011 - 11:07 AM

While we wait for coaching news from Winter Park, we wanted to mention that college underclassmen have until Saturday to declare for the NFL Draft.

As expected, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton entered his name on Thursday. The junior won the Heisman Trophy and led his team to the national title in his first season at the school. He is expected to be a first-round pick.

ESPN reported Friday that Newton's teammate, junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley, will declare for the draft today. Fairley, who had a dominating performance in the title game, is expected to be one of the first few players selected in the draft.

ESPN has a running list of the early-entrants right here

The Vikings have the No. 12 overall pick. Judging by the feedback we received on the quarterback story/chart we ran this week, many Vikings fans hope the team uses its first-round pick on an offensive lineman and then try and get a quarterback in later rounds.

That certainly seems like a possibility, but our belief remains that the team needs to draft a quarterback early -- first or second round -- and hope he develops into a franchise-type quarterback.

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