The Minnesota Vikings created a hole in their defense with the release of veteran Antoine Winfield. They might still bring Winfield back at a reduced salary, but either way they need to inject some youthful competition into their cornerback corps.
The Vikings almost certainly will draft at least one cornerback, but where in the draft might that happen?
Dee Milliner, a projected top-five pick, is sure to be gone by the time the Vikings execute their two first-round picks, at No. 23 and No. 25, and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes Desmond Trufant is likely to be drafted before the 20th pick.
That could leave the Vikings in a no-man's land with the first two picks when it comes to value in the first round with cornerbacks. So if the Vikings eschew cornerback in the first round (linebacker, wide receiver and defensive tackle are other likely targets), then what are the possibilities on Day 2 and maybe even beyond?
The Vikings had at least two cornerbacks, Tyrann Mathieu and Will Davis, in for their "top 30" predraft visit earlier this week. Mathieu could be a second- or third-round pick and Davis is expected go in the next couple of rounds after that.
Kiper, however, believes there are a plenty of options in the second and third rounds.
He believes D.J. Hayden from Houston, Jamar Taylor from Boise State and Blidi Wreh-Wilson from Connecticut could all be drafted sometime late in the first round or early in the second round, after Milliner, Trufant and Rhodes.
"There's going to be a major run on corners in that second-, third-round area. That's where (Leon) McFadden is being viewed to be a possibility," Kiper said. "I'd say at the worst fourth round. So I'll say third or fourth round for McFadden."
Along with Leon McFadden, Robert Alford of Southeastern Louisiana is another cornerback that had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and could be drafted somewhere around the third round.
Kiper continued to rattle off the possibilities at the end of Day 2 and into Day 3 of the draft.
"Third-, fourth-, fifth-round guys, it's a lot of depth there. B.W. Webb from William & Mary could be a guy, Darius Slay from Mississippi State, Dwayne Gratz from Connecticut, Johnny Adams from Michigan State could be a possibility, Tyrann Mathieu from LSU would be in that third-round mix."
"… I think there's going to be a decent group of corners that'll be in that third or fourth round mix that could certainly impact … team(s) looking for a corner."
At some point, likely in the first four rounds, the Vikings should be one of those teams. Ideally, they would get a player that could compete for a starting job, but even if they wait until Day 3, there are plenty of cornerback options available.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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