Jasper Brinkley is gone and the Vikings seem disinclined to replace him via free agency. So I guess that means they’ll be drafting a linebacker in the first round this year. There are several LBs currently receiving late first round grades from draftniks, including that Manti Te’o guy from Notre Dame. Outside of the ancillary issues that come up with Te’o, he seems like a decent fit for the Vikings. But he’s not the only name out there. Let’s quickly look at a couple other LB prospects who could make sense for the Vikings at 23 or 25.
Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Big red flag on this guy after a DUI arrest. And his combine wasn’t so hot either. But he showed great athleticism on the field and looks like a major talent. There are questions about his tackling technique but he has terrific upside.
Kevin Minter, LSU
He’s a more polished tackler than Ogletree but doesn’t have the pure athletic ability. Might not have the range you like from an MLB but seems to have good football IQ. Could be the best option.
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Small but tough. Has been compared to Curtis Lofton. If enough teams are scared away by his lack of size, might be a guy you could snag in the second round. But will the Vikings have already taken their linebacker by then?
Sio Moore, Connecticut
Showed up big at Senior Bowl week. Another smaller guy but he has quickness and good coverage skills. Could the Vikings reach for a guy like this or Brown in the first round? Or might they trade back?
There are some intriguing guys in there. Any of them could presumably play the middle in the Vikings’ system. Minter looks like the surest best. Ogletree has the most upside but also the most bust potential. The last two guys you might be able to wait around and pick up.
But I don’t think the Vikes will wait around. I think they’ll jump on a linebacker early. And I think that linebacker will be Manti Te’o. For better or for worse.