Sep 7, 2013; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Donte Moncrief (12) catches the ball and carries it in for a touchdown during the first half against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Draft: Considering the Merits of Donte Moncrief

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There has been much discussion in recent weeks about the Vikings’ wide receiver corps and whether receiver should be considered a true need position headed into the draft.

Some look at the corps of Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright and see more than enough weapons to make Norv Turner’s offense click.

Look a little deeper though and you start to wonder. Who is the true X receiver in that group? Do the Vikings have someone who can take the top off a defense and open things up underneath?

Patterson may eventually develop into that field stretching player, but right now he is still viewed as someone who is best utilized in various spots, more of a Percy Harvin-type. You might actually be doing Patterson a disservice by trying to remake him as a pure vertical receiver.

Truth is, the Vikings have no reliable true X on their roster. Jerome Simpson comes closest but he has his issues. Jarius Wright is sneaky in that department, but he may also not be the answer.

It’s quite possible that when Norv Turner submitted his wish list to Rick Spielman, at the top of that list was not a quarterback but a vertical threat at receiver.

Everyone talks about Turner’s quarterbacks, but he’s always had big downfield receivers too, like Josh Gordon last year in Cleveland, and Vincent Jackson in San Diego.

In a perfect world you would address this shortcoming by taking a receiver with the #8 overall pick, maybe Mike Evans of Texas A&M. But the Vikings have so many needs, especially on the defensive side of the ball, that addressing receiver that high might not be the best option.

This leaves you looking farther down the draft board for someone who could fill the hole. If there’s any one player in this year’s receiver field who looks the part, it’s Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss.

Moncrief hasn’t gotten the buzz of a Sammy Watkins or a Mike Evans or an Odell Beckham, but there are some pretty significant people on his bandwagon, including Greg Cosell who went straight to the Josh Gordon-Demaryius Thomas comparison when extolling the player’s virtues.

“I really, really like this kid,” Cosell told Ross Tucker Podcast back in March. “He’s a big, physical kid who can run.”

Moncrief at 6-2, 221 is definitely big, and after running a 4.40 40 at the combine he left little doubt that he is fast. Though Moncrief has gotten consideration as a late first rounder in some mocks, he’s not a player who is widely seen as a first round lock, even though he has a solid combination of skills, with enough speed, good hands and plenty of proven route-running polish.

Could Moncrief be an option for the Vikings if they stay put in the early second? I think it’s on the table.

It all depends on Norv’s assessment of the receiver corps and whether he sees the pieces there to make his offense work. It’s possible that receiver is considered a more pressing need within the walls of Winter Park than it is among the fans and the mock drafting community.

If there’s even a small amount of merit to the Josh Gordon comparison, then Moncrief definitely warrants significant consideration in the second round. You could have a Steal of the Draft candidate on your hands with this young man.

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