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.


Third round: Vikings' No. 66 pick should still net quality defensive back or receiver

Posted by: under Vikings, Lions, Packers, Leslie Frazier, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier, Vikings draft Updated: April 11, 2012 - 8:23 AM

At this point, everyone from the expert level draftnik to the most casual Vikings fan has discussed the Vikings' No. 3 overall pick ad nauseam. But what about the team's nine other picks? What might a squad with numerous holes to fill do on Days 2-3 of this month's NFL draft? Access Vikings is taking a round-by-round look at the team's history in Rounds 2-7 since Rick Spielman began overseeing the draft preparation as director of player personnel in 2007. We'll also take a look at players Spielman, now the team's general manager, might select later this month.

 
[[[ See our previous breakdown: ROUND 2 ]]]
 
TODAY'S ROUND: 3.
VIKINGS' PICK: 66th overall.
 
SINCE 2007: The Vikings have made only two third-round selections in the past five drafts. Instead, they have frequently used their third-round pick in high-profile trades. In 2008, for example, they traded two third-round picks plus a first- and sixth-rounder to Kansas City in exchange for Jared Allen and a sixth-round pick. Last year’s third-round pick went to New England in the ill-advised midseason 2010 trade that brought Randy Moss back to Minneapolis. In 2010, the Vikings’ also surrendered their third-round pick as part of a trade that allowed them to move up to draft Toby Gerhart in Round 2.
 
HITS: 0.
 
MISSES: 1.
1, Marcus McAuley, CB, Fresno State, 72rd overall 2007: McAuley played 26 games in his first two seasons with the Vikings and started nine as a rookie in 2007. But the Vikings will admit they overvalued McAuley’s athleticism even when their evaluation of him on film didn’t register as overly impressive. After being cut by the Vikings’ at the end of the 2009 preseason, McAuley bounced all around over the next 12 months – from Detroit to Tampa to New Orleans to Washington to Indianapolis. But he never could breakthrough. His most recent football action came with the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the United Football League.
 
TO BE DETERMINED: 1.
1, Asher Allen, CB, Georgia, 86th overall, 2009: Allen may never be a Pro Bowl-caliber corner and has only four interceptions in his first three seasons. But even as the rest of the secondary fell apart around him last season, Allen was one of the few players in the defensive backfield to show noticeable growth. By season’s end, head coach Leslie Frazier was impressed with Allen’s consistency and smarts and willingness to step up when forced into a heightened role. In 2012, if the Vikings can stay healthy in the secondary, Allen will likely settle back into a less demanding role that fits his skill set better.
 
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH IN ROUND 3, 2012:
1, Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana: This draft is full of talented corners who may be asked to convert and play safety in the NFL. Johnson fits that description. He was a two-time All-American playing for Montana in the Football Championship Subdivision. He has good size (6-2, 204 pounds), keen instincts and obvious confidence. If he can excel as a corner, Johnson sees himself as a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie type. Yet if he’s asked to move to safety, he could flourish similarly to the way Malcolm Jenkins has with New Orleans.
 
2, A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois: Odds are good the Vikings will address their receiver needs in Round 2 if they don’t pounce on the opportunity to do so at the very top of the draft. But if they’re still searching for a vertical threat by the time pick No. 66 rolls around, Jenkins would be a fantastic get. Not only is he a fluid route runner with good hands, he also ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the combine.
 
3, Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State: The knock on Quick is that he is extremely raw. He was a basketball star in high school and one played one season of football. He then played his college ball in the Football Championship Subdivision. But Quick has incredible size. He’s 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds with long arms and big hands. Given his need to develop, Quick might be worth a roll of the dice for a young and rebuilding team that has a far sharper vision for the future than it has for the present.
 
4, Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina: The Vikings need depth at linebacker and Brown would be a steal early in the third round. His speed is his greatest strength and he also has stellar reactions and an ability to get to the ball.
 
5, Mike Martin, DT, Michigan: A three-year starter for the Wolverines, Martin combines impressive strength with impressive agility. He had a solid Senior Bowl week in January. Then Martin did 36 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press at the combine and added a 33.5-inch vertical leap and a time of 4.88 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Not bad for a guy weighing in at 306 pounds.

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