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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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Look for Vikes to take a DE or OLB (04/21/2004)
By John Edstrom

Well fans, the Vikes have already done much to shore themselves up defensively by acquiring free agent cornerback Antoine Winfield from Buffalo. He is supposed to be a genuine shutdown corner, a major cut above Denard Walker and Ken Irvin of last year's bag. That takes care of one of the Vikes two most pressing needs on defense. On offense, the further addition of Marcus Robinson eliminates any need to spend a high draft pick on the receiving corps, although with the quality and depth available this year, don't be surprised if someone who would be a sure first rounder in an ordinary year fell to the Vikes in the second round. The same could be true of a cornerback.

However, last season's glaring defensive inadequacies are most likely going to force the Purple to draft for need in the first round, either at defensive end or outside linebacker. There is a chance that Will Smith of Ohio State will still be around at pick #19; if so, the Vikes are almost sure to snap him up. Smith is generally rated behind Kenechi Udeze as the second best DE in the draft, certain to go in the first round and probably by the fifteenth pick. He has elite speed and is probably big enough to play every down immediately, solidifying both the pass rush and run defense.

If Smith is gone, it probably will mean that outside linebacker D.J. Williams still remains, generally considered this year's best of a not great group. He is very fast, big for an OLB at 245, and would be a safe, solid pick at #19.

I would bet 2 - 1 that one of these two will be the Vikes first pick, but the possibility of DE Antwan Odom of Alabama is very real. I have read that the Vikes think he is just as good a prospect as Will Smith, and DE is the greater need as opposed to OLB.

Other pundits have the Vikes taking Vernon Carey, the highest ranking guard in the draft, who would probably replace David Dixon towards the end of this season, and could also play right tackle, should Mike Rosenthal continue his false-starting ways. There is also the possibility that a cornerback or wide receiver might be available of such quality that he would be snapped up regardless of need.

If the Vikes get a DE in the first round, look for them to choose a linebacker in the second and vice versa, although by then they are likely to take the best player available if there is much disparity. 


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