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.


PFW mock draft has Vikings taking USC tackle

Posted by: under Vikings, NFL draft, Bryant McKinnie, Phil Loadholt Updated: April 9, 2011 - 4:28 PM

Pro Football Weekly draft expert Nolan Nawrocki, who received plenty of attention this spring for his criticism of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, has published his fourth mock draft.

Nawrocki has Carolina taking Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green first overall; Denver selecting Texas A&M defensive end Von Miller second; and Buffalo taking Newton third. Nawrocki then projects that Cincinnati will select Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones and Arizona will take Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

As for the Vikings at No. 12? Nawrocki now is going with Minnesota taking Southern Cal offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

Nawrocki writes: "A strong pro-day performance might allow Smith to be the first tackle drafted. Bryant McKinnie has continually invited trouble, and Phil Loadholt has struggled heavily with speed rushers. The key to developing a quarterback is to give him enough time to function in the pocket, and Smith could help provide it."

Here is Nawrocki's mock draft.

 

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