7. Keanu Neal – S – Florida
Safety is the one big need position we have not yet discussed. If the Vikings elect to go safety in the first instead of wide receiver (or any other position), their best option might be Florida’s Keanu Neal.
Neal (6-0, 211) showed off some pretty good athletic ability at the combine, posting a 38-inch vertical, a 132-inch broad jump and running a 4.62 40. Neal uses his great speed and athleticism to deliver pain to ball-carriers, garnering a reputation as a big-time hitter.
Coverage-wise, Neal has the speed and leaping ability to be a great playmaker, but there are questions about his awareness. Neal will miss tackles and get burned in coverage from time to time, and that’s the kind of thing Mike Zimmer doesn’t put up with.
Take Neal’s skill-set overall and he seems like the perfect player to pair with Harrison Smith in the defensive backfield. I would really love to see the Vikings take this guy if he’s there in the second round, but I can’t see them making him the #23 pick. All this speculation about what the Vikings might do in the first round is fun but the fact remains, their biggest need is wide receiver, and it’s almost a dead certainty that they will address that need in the first.