As things stand right this minute the Vikings won’t pick again until the top of the third round. But as we know Rick Spielman likes to trade so it’s just possible the Vikings will swing a deal to move back into the second. What position might the Vikings target with this as-yet-unacquired second rounder? There are several possibilities. Let’s run them down quickly:
Leslie Frazier said yesterday that Jerome Simpson filled their need for a deep threat, so receiver may not be a priority at this point in the draft. However, if there’s a guy they love and they think they can get him by trading back into the mid-to-late second? Maybe they do it. I don’t know who this theoretical must-have wide receiver might be though. It’s probably not Alshon Jeffery or Mohamed Sanu. It could be Rueben Randle but I doubt it. Maybe Stephen Hill or Brian Quick but frankly I don’t see that either.
In all honesty, I don’t think the Vikings will go receiver with either of their next two picks, whichever rounds those picks happen to fall in. Too many needs at other spots. They can pick up a Nick Toon or a Marvin McNutt in the fourth. If they want a developmental guy, they can pick up Dale Moss, a man I’ve mentioned before on this blog. Or Mario Louis or someone else in the late rounds. The addition of Kalil, and the help he will provide in getting Christian Ponder more time to throw, will make the whole passing game better. It’s time to work on that defense.
I figured the Vikings would take at least two defensive backs in their first six picks. Yesterday they took Harrison Smith. Will they now take a cornerback? The possibility is good. The best talent left on the board at that position is Janoris Jenkins, and there is plenty of sentiment at least among the fanbase in favor of selecting him. But we know all about Jenkins’ baggage. That baggage may not keep him off the Vikings’ board entirely, but I think it pretty much guarantees they won’t be trading up for him.
If the Vikes do trade back into the second for a cornerback, Trumaine Johnson and Josh Robinson are two possible targets. Another name to keep in mind is Casey Hayward, a player the Vikings liked enough to bring in for a visit. Hayward could still be on the board in the third but there is a chance he won’t be. If the Vikings trade back up into the late second, Hayward might be the man on their mind.
The Vikings brought in Dontari Poe for a visit. Does that mean anything? Maybe not. It could be they were simply intrigued by Poe’s physical talent and figured it couldn’t hurt to look him over just in case he dropped to late in the first (he didn’t drop and they came nowhere near selecting him). Or maybe the Poe visit revealed something about Leslie Frazier’s wish list? Nose tackle was a problem last year; Remi Ayodele was a bust and Letroy Guion didn’t develop. Guion was given a decent contract this off-season but not such a huge one that he’s automatically a starter.
The team has said nice things about Guion’s ability to penetrate but the fact is, their defense functions best with a guy at nose tackle who can penetrate at times but is mainly an anchor. Guion is not that guy. Neither is Fred Evans. Pat Williams was but he’s gone. Fat Pat 2.0 could lurk somewhere in this draft and the Vikings could be keen to find him.
So which of the remaining nose tackles fits the bill for the Vikings? I have one name: Alameda Ta’amu. He has the size (348) and he can be a three-down player. He’s a run stuffer with the ability to penetrate. Inconsistency is the main sticking point with him, as it seems to be with every big defensive tackle in this draft. Ta’amu is the only nose I’d trade high back into the second to go after. Lots of people like Jerel Worthy but I’m skeptical on him due to his attitude issues, plus he’s not necessarily a nose in the NFL. If Ta’amu isn’t the guy, I’d just as soon sit and wait to take someone like Mike Martin or Josh Chapman, or maybe pick a project player like Nicolas Jean-Baptiste.
Evaluating the linebacker need is tricky. We know the Vikings don’t have a proven MLB with E.J. Henderson leaving, but frankly MLB becomes a less important position the more pass-happy the league gets. The Vikings figure to play more nickel this year than last, maybe using Harrison Smith almost as a spur, and Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson are perfectly adequate nickel linebackers (be nice to see Greenway do more in coverage but oh well). So do the Vikings even look at linebacker before the fourth round? I’d be surprised. There certainly doesn’t appear to be anyone on the board worth trading back up to go for. The one name that comes up often is Audie Cole, a 5th-round-rated MLB from NC State who the Vikings saw at the Senior Bowl and spoke highly of. Maybe there’s someone they like in the third but I doubt that too.
It seems unlikely the Vikings would go guard on the second day. The Kalil pick allows them to shift Charlie Johnson to left guard and at right guard they have multiple options including Brandon Fusco, Joe Berger and Geoff Schwartz. One guy the Vikings did kick the tires on is Amini Silatolu and though he looks like a good player, again, do you trade back into the second for him? Kenio Selemete is a guy the Vikings reportedly like and he’s probably a fourth at best. As with linebacker, it probably makes the most sense to sit still and see what trickles down.