The Vikings made a move to shore up their safety depth this offseason, signing former Eagle Kurt Coleman to a one-year deal, but that doesn’t mean they are not looking at that position in the draft as well.
In fact, the Vikings have taken a look at several safeties during the pre-draft process. Deone Bucannon was one of their visits, and now we’ve learned, per Adam Caplan, that they also visited with Northern Illinois SS Jimmie Ward.
The 5-11, 193 pound Ward may be a little undersized as a safety, but scouts like his versatile skill set. Given his size, there are some who think he might be better used as a corner. But he tackles well enough to play safety and his coverage skills mean he can line up one-on-one against receivers.
Ward’s combo skill set could intrigue the Vikings. Jamarca Sanford has nice ability as in in-the-box defender but struggles when called upon to cover receivers and tight ends. Kurt Coleman represents a slight upgrade in the coverage department, but he’s not as good against the run as Sanford.
Ward has a more multi-faceted game. Mike Zimmer likes using his safeties all over the field, so he might prefer a player like Ward who gives him that flexibility.
A lot of other teams have recently become intrigued by Ward as well, prompting many to nudge him into the late first round on their mocks.