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Minnesota Vikings 2013 Draft Preview
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - Since the Minnesota Vikings brain trust has seemingly married itself to a limited quarterback in Christian Ponder, it's imperative the team has all the pieces around the Florida State product to succeed.
Possessing MVP running back Adrian Peterson, ascending tight end Kyle Rudolph and a solid offensive line is a good start but the Vikings need help outside, especially after trading the dynamic Percy Harvin to Seattle.
Minnesota did bring in veteran Greg Jennings, who was once a legitimate No. 1 receiver and will certainly be a better citizen and more of a leader than the enigmatic Harvin ever was. That said, Jennings has been injury prone in recent years and will be turning 30.
The Vikings also need a middle linebacker after losing Jasper Brinkley in free agency to Arizona and could use depth at the cornerback position after dropping veteran slot man Antoine Winfield, who ended up in Seattle with Harvin.
It's also time to start reinforcing the defensive line, traditionally a strength in Minneapolis. Fewer reps would serve veteran All-Pro Jared Allen as well as the undersized Brian Robison well, and the Vikings need to find the heir-apparent to the declining Kevin Williams at defensive tackle.
Minnesota has two first round picks, Nos. 23 and 25, and 10 selections overall. Jennings' presence makes receiver less of an immediate issue but Winfield's release labels cornerback a priority and the Vikings reportedly have fallen for Mississippi State's Johnathan Banks, a player they project as a starter early on. Banks could team with Chris Cook and Josh Robinson to give the Vikings three solid young corners, something you need in a division in which Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler play quarterback.
Meanwhile, Minny general manager Rick Spielman has already hit big on Notre Dame prospects in back-to-back years (Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith) and would love Fighting Irish middle linebacker Manti Te'o but Georgia's Alec Ogletree is a far more athletic player who is better-suited for the Vikings' somewhat antiquated Tampa-2 base scheme.
2012 Record: 10-6
Top Needs: MLB, CB, WR, DT
First Three Picks: No. 23, No. 25, No. 52
Number of Selections: 10 (1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2012 - Matt Kalil (LT, USC), Harrison Smith (S, Notre Dame); 2011 - Christian Ponder (QB, Florida State); 2010 - none; 2009 - Percy Harvin (WR, Florida); 2008 - none; 2007 - Adrian Peterson (RB, Oklahoma); 2006 - Chad Greenway (LB, Iowa); 2005 - Troy Williamson (WR, South Carolina), Erasmus James (DE, Wisconsin); 2004 - Kenechi Udeze (DE, USC); 2003 - Kevin Williams (DT, Oklahoma State); 2002 - Bryant McKinnie (OT, Miami-Florida).
04/15 13:56:14 ET