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2012 Minnesota Vikings Preview and Draft Abalysis

Everybody knows the Vikings were horrible last year. We all saw the failed Donovan McNabb experiment. In comes Christian Ponder. I do believe he is “the guy”. Now that we have our QB of the future, we need to build around him. I believe we will go after a guy like Robert Meachem or Pierre Garcon to be our number one receiver, which would open up the middle of the field for Harvin, the underneath routes for Rudolph and relieve the eight man fronts Peterson sees on a weekly basis. I would absolutely love to see Matt Kalil taken at #3. Charlie Johnson could move to right guard, which is his natural position, although he did protect Peyton Manning’s blind side. Now that Hutch, Herrera and Griffin are gone, I can see them pursuing somebody like Ben Grubbs. Maybe put Johnson at left guard and have Grubbs on the right side. Our offensive line would go like this: Kalil, Johnson, Sullivan, Grubbs, Loadholt. That would be a much-improved unit than last year. Second round, I would Target Chase Minnifield or Stephen Gilmore. Both of them are solid prospects and, most likely, be instant starters. Now, it is quite possible the Vikings could wind up with two third and fourth round or three third round picks this year, depending on the grades Ray Edwards and Sidney Rice get. I will say they get a 3rd and 4th just for argument’s sake. With their first third round pick, I see them targeting somebody like Marvin McNutt out of Iowa. He’s a big receiver, who doesn’t have blazing speed, but has solid hands. The other third round pick would be LaMichael James, running back out of the University of Oregon. He’s a Darren Sproles type player who would be a great third down back with excellent receiving skills and we haven’t had that since Chester Taylor left for Chicago. With one of the two 4th round picks, I would take Tank Carder, linebacker out of TCU. He could compete with Brinkley for the Mike linebacker position. He has an excellent nose for the football and isn’t a liability in coverage. The next guy I would take is the speedy corner out of Firmament.

Unfortanetly, I am having difficulty remembering his name right now, but the Vikings could use some speed on the defense. If he doesn’t pan out as a corner, they could at least move him to punt returns. Fifth round, I really like Brandon Brooks. He’s an athletic guard out of Georgia, I believe. We need depth along the offensive line and he would be a solid pick here. Now, my next pick is a longshot to be here at this point, but, if George Iloka, free safety out of Boise State is there, they need to take him. Abdullah is the only starting caliber safety we have on the roster (although I believe Mistral Raymond will develop into a solid safety, he’s not there yet). As far as the two seventh founders go, I would take a developmental DT or DE as well as a kicker and run Ryan Longwell out of town. Again, names are escaping me at this moment.

Now getting back to free agency. I hope the Vikings go after Cortland Finnegan and Brandon Carr. Carr is excellent in zone coverage and Finnegan would bring some attitude to the defense. Also, Dan Connor or David Hawthorne would be great additions to the linebacking core, although Hawthorne has had legal issues as well. The Vikings are roughly $23 million underthe cap, and, if they could extend Jared Allen’s contract, it would lower his cap hit of over $10 million as well. If they are active in free agency, like I hope they are, we could see a quick turnaround and witness the start of something special brewing in Minnesota. Thanks for reading!

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