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Middle Linebackers: A Treatise In Settling

Should the Vikings trade up to grab their favorite middle linebacker?


With Star Lotulelei and Sheldon Richardson gone, the Vikings may not be able to grab the defensive tackle they like the most. With that in mind, the defense could use work at another, higher profile position—the middle linebacker.

It's hard to overstate the importance of the middle linebacker, especially in the Tampa-2. But the fact that he's the quarterback of the defense should reinforce the importance of the position. With the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Chicago Bears all potentially looking or a middle linebacker, it could be difficult for the Vikings to target who they want.

So should the Vikings trade up to get their guy?

It wouldn't be productive. The inside linebacker class is neither impressive nor unimpressive, but it does, for the first time in a long time, have a number of players perfectly fit for the position later on in the draft. Sure, if a player like Ogletree or Te'o falls to 23, it would be right to pull the trigger. But moving up to jump Chicago or New York would lose valuable draft picks that could be used to secure important positions elsewhere on the team.

If they don't grab Ogletree or Te'o, they could easily grab Arthur Brown, who looks instinctive and has excellent range in deep zones.

Those additional picks could easily mean a cornerback like Jamar Taylor or receiver like Markus Wheaton, both positions of need that can be upgraded with the players available late. Even if the Vikings find themselves missing out on a linebacker in the first and second rounds, Jonathan Bostic and Kiko Alonso could fill in and start immediately for the Vikings while still being an improvement over last year.

To back them up, a player like A.J. Klein or Jonathan Stewart could create instant special teams value and provide insurance and competition for an earlier pick.

Most of the time, you shouldn't settle. But this time, settling with who falls to you could easily make the team better.