Minnesota Vikings 2014 Draft Preview

 

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(SportsNetwork.com) - Will he or won't he?

The Minnesota Vikings clearly need a franchise quarterback, but after trading for the underwhelming A.J. Feeley while in Miami and swinging and missing badly by reaching for Christian Ponder back in 2011 draft, general manager Rick Spielman probably doesn't have the political capital to roll the dice on any signal caller with the eighth overall pick.

Add in the fact the aggressive Mike Zimmer is the new coach in Minneapolis and defense should be the obvious direction for the Vikings.

Minnesota has already addressed the front four (re-signing promising pass rusher Everson Griffen and inking ascending nose tackle Linval Joseph along with underrated swingman Corey Wootton), as well as cornerback (snaring slot star Captain Munnerlyn and the lengthy Derek Cox) in free agency, but the Vikings have been quiet on the linebacker front, save for bringing back the limited Jasper Brinkley on a make-good deal.

The prudent strategy for the Vikings might be moving down a few spots and taking former Alabama star C.J. Mosley, who turned a few people off at the NFL Combine by not running the 40-yard dash and refusing to address the media. If Mosley checks out medically, however, he could be the type of seek-and- destroy player who could be a terror in a Zimmer scheme. UCLA edge-standout Anthony Barr is another option.

"C.J. Mosley is somebody I think that doesn't get talked enough about," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said in a recent conference call. "When you watch him on tape, in scouting we talk about guys being clean players on tape. I don't have a lot of negatives when I watch him."

The only QB who could make Spielman bite at No. 8 is UCF's Blake Bortles but it remains unlikely that Bortles falls that far. Second-round options at the position figure to include LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Pitt's Tom Savage, Alabama's A.J. McCarron and possibly the plummeting Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville.

2013 Record: 5-10-1

Top Needs: QB, LB, DE, CB

First Three Picks: No. 8, No. 40, No. 72

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

CALLING THE SHOTS: Spielman has actually done a very good job in the guts of the draft since arriving in Minny as the vice president of player personnel in 2006. He was promoted to general manager in January of 2012 and used ex-coach Leslie Frazier as the scapegoat for the team's 2013 debacle, even though the Ponder pick set the franchise back years. Spielman will only get one more chance at hitting on a QB before he is scapegoated himself.

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2013 - Shariff Floyd (DT, Florida), Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State), Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee); 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).

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