Thursday, April 19, 2012

On The Clock: Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have essentially been on the clock since the Washington Redskins gave up everything for the number 2 overall pick (a decision that I think will come back to haunt them). Especially today after news broke that the Colts will draft Andrew Luck. Everyone knows that the Washington Redskins are going to take Robert Griffin III. With that, the draft will basically start with the Minnesota Vikings. 

Christian Ponder had an average season as a rookie quarterback. He finished the season with 1,853 yards, 13 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 54.3 completion percentage. In all fairness though, Ponder did not have a lot to work with. Adrian Peterson only played in twelve games but was hampered by injuries all year long (he only broke 20 attempts in a game 5 out of his 12 games). Furthermore, the Vikings wide receivers are....well, there really are none. I will give you a second to think about it, besides Percy Harvin, name another Vikings wide receiver. You will have to try hard. Devin Aromashodu was their number 2 last year, with Michael Jenkins as their number 3. Their best receiver is Percy Harvin who is nothing more than a burner and should not be relied on as a number 1 wide out. To make matters worse, the Vikings were fifth worse in the NFL by allowing 49 sacks. 

The Vikings have a number of needs, but the question is which direction will they go? Here are my top three options:

1. Matt Kalil - Offensive Tackle - Southern California - This should be the pick for Minnesota as Kalil is easily the second most talented player in this draft. As previously mentioned, the Vikings had a porous offensive line in 2011. They drafted Christian Ponder in 2011 with their first round pick and should spend this year's on a player to protect him. Even if Ponder does not turn out to be their franchise quarterback, Kalil will turn out to be their franchise offensive tackle. The other benefit of taking Matt Kalil is that it will help their franchise player (Adrian Peterson) become even better. The Vikings need to rely on their run game and defense to win and Kalil would make their run game even more potent. The Vikings would be insane to pass up on the talented Matt Kalil but they do have other needs and could turn to

2. Justin Blackmon - Wide Receiver - Oklahoma State - As I mentioned, the Vikings wide receivers make Matt Millen's philosophy of drafting wide receivers in the first round constantly look smart. They have one decent wide receiver and plenty that should probably not be in the league. Blackmon would provide them the big body to go over the middle and grab the ball. It would also give them a player opposing defenses would have to focus on, allowing Percy Harvin to go deep. Blackmon has the talent to be drafted here and the Vikings could decide to give Ponder another weapon on offense. However, with the receiver position being so deep this year, you have to think the Vikings would look to take Alshon Jeffrey or Mohammad Sanu in the second round instead. They could also look to go defense and draft

3. Morris Claiborne - Corner back - Louisiana State University - The last of my possible three picks for the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings were dead last in the NFL with eight interceptions last year. When you consider the fact that the Vikings led the league with sacks (50), it becomes obvious that the corner backs just plain stink. Normally whenever a team is able to pressure the quarterback, they are going to be able to get interceptions as well. Minnesota's best corner back is 34 years old. Claiborne has every thing a team looks for in a corner back. Speed? Check. Man coverage? Check. Zone coverage? Check. Hard hitter? Checkmate. Claiborne would add to the Vikings potent defense. They could easily take the best defender in the draft and then look to take an offensive tackle in the 2nd and grab a wide receiver in the 3rd round. This is probably the least likely pick, but it definitely is a possibility. 

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