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Looking to the Future

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While Adrian Peterson has given the Vikings renewed hope going into the second half of the season, it's never too early to begin looking at various mock drafts from around the Interweb.

As far as I can see, our three biggest needs to address in this year's draft are quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive line (just the right side, mind you).  The good folks at DraftTek, a site that SBNation partnered up with at draft time last year, already have a three-round mock draft up on their site, and it was just updated this morning.  Here's what they have for Minnesota in the first three rounds.  They've got the Vikings selecting #12 overall.

  1.  Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
  2.  Fred Davis, TE, Southern Cal
  3.  Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
For some reason, DraftTek isn't reflecting the fact that Minnesota owns Denver's third-round pick in 2008 thanks to the Broncos moving up to select Marcus Thomas in the 2007 draft.

While this would be an outstanding draft for the Vikings, there are a couple of issues I can see here.  The most important one being that, in my opinion, I don't think Limas Sweed is going to be there in the third round of the draft.  Coming into this season, he was one of the best WR prospects in the country, but has missed much of Texas' season this year with a wrist injury.  Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE for Sweed to fall that far and for Minnesota to grab him, but I don't see the chance of that happening being all that great.  If we've got any Longhorn fans out there, please let me know what you think of his draft stock.

As far as quarterback goes, I think that this should be the Vikings' main position of focus.  Each day that passes gives me a greater sinking feeling that the Tarvaris Jackson project just isn't going to work out.  Now, in this year's draft class, the consensus is that there are three high-level quarterback prospects.  Those three are Ryan, Louisville's Brian Brohm, and Andre Woodson from Kentucky.  The current DraftTek sim has Woodson going to Chicago at #10, while Brohm drops all the way to Jacksonville at #25.  While I don't think that Brohm is going to drop that far, I do think that Woodson is the best QB in this year's class, and I would love to see him in purple in the near future.

My idea first three rounds at this point, based on the Vikings picking at #12 where DraftTek has them, would probably look like this:

  1.  Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
  2.  James Hardy, WR, Indiana OR Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
  3.  Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt (Denver's #3)
  4.  Craig Steltz, S, Louisiana State
I like James Hardy a lot at WR.  I know that Indiana is pretty far from being a football factory or anything like that, but Hardy is a pretty good talent.  I think he'd be a solid possession guy to match with the deep threat of Sidney Rice for the near future.  Hell, an offense consisting of Andre Woodson, Sidney Rice, James Hardy, and Adrian Peterson makes me downright giddy just thinking about it.

Chris Williams would give us a very solid option at RT so that Ryan Cook and/or Marcus Johnson could go and get numerous false start and holding penalties somewhere that isn't Minnesota.  Steltz is the guy that's replaced LaRon Landry at LSU, and with Sharper getting a little older and Dwight Smith not exactly being a spring chicken, either, I think he'd potentially be a pretty good replacement for either of them at that position.

A couple of other potential spots to look at could be offensive guard, even though I like Anthony Herrera a lot at that position.  Possibly defensive end, but I think we're alright there, too.  Positions we definitely don't need to worry about right now are defensive tackle, linebacker, corner (unless we DO end up moving Winfield to safety, then CB becomes a need), and (obviously) running back.

What say you, folks?  Like I said, I know the draft is a good 5 months or so away yet, but it's never too early to start taking a look, in my opinion.