Cornerback a definite area of Vikings need

With an aging Antoine Winfield and injuries piling up on the knees of their other starters, the Vikings have a need at cornerback and just might have a shot at one the top rookies that fits their style of defense.

The Vikings selected Chris Cook with their first pick in the second round of last year's draft, but that doesn't mean cornerback won't be a priority again this year.

Starting left cornerback Antoine Winfield will turn 34 years old in June. Starting right cornerback Cedric Griffin has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in both knees in the past two seasons and Cook underwent surgery on both knees last season after suffering a torn meniscus in each.

The Vikings traded away Benny Sapp for wide receiver Greg Camarillo just before last season but quickly learned there was no such thing as too much depth at cornerback when Cook and then Griffin got hurt.

Asher Allen, a third-round pick in 2009, struggled at times when used in a regular role and veterans Lito Sheppard and Frank Walker also saw time. Sheppard will be a free agent after a new collective bargaining agreement is in place and isn't expected to return.

Walker was signed as a free agent off the street after Griffin was injured four games into the season.

Louisiana State's Patrick Peterson will be long gone by the time the Vikings pick 12th in the first round, but there is a chance Minnesota could have a decision to make on Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara.

Amukamara is projected as a top-15 pick and was a finalist for the Thorpe award in 2010 after he started 14 games at left cornerback for the Cornhuskers. Amukamara, who is 6-0, 201 pounds, finished his collegiate career with five interceptions in 49 games, but all came during the 2009 season.

The Vikings could look to take a cornerback later in the draft given their multitude of needs (quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, etc.). Minnesota has only two picks in the first three rounds before having seven in the last four rounds, including two in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Miami's Brandon Harris and Texas' Aaron Williams are projected as first- or second-round picks. Potential second- and third-round picks include Louisville's Johnny Patrick, Virginia's Ras-I Dowling, Texas' Curtis Brown, and Colorado's Jimmy Smith.

Williams is an interesting case because he's projected by some to move to safety and that's another spot at which the Vikings need help.

The Vikings are hoping Griffin and Cook can rebound from their knee issues, but a draft pick could fit into the equation as the eventual starting left cornerback.

Winfield is being used as a nickel cornerback and considering he isn't getting any younger he eventually will need to be replaced.

Of course, if Griffin can't return to form after the two knee surgeries there also is chance there might be an opening for playing time at right cornerback.

There is speculation the Vikings could trade back in the opening round to try to grab a quarterback such as Jake Locker or Christian Ponder and also recoup their third-round pick in making that move. It's possible the Vikings could turn that move into a cornerback.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" The Vikings selected Chris Cook with their first pick in the second round of last year's draft, but that doesn't mean cornerback won't be a priority again this year. Starting left cornerback Antoine Winfield will turn 34 years old in June. Starting right cornerback Cedric Griffin has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in both knees in the past two seasons and Cook underwent surgery on both knees last season after suffering a torn meniscus in each. The Vikings traded away Benny Sapp for wide receiver Greg Camarillo just before last season but quickly learned there was no such thing as too much depth at cornerback when Cook and then Griffin got hurt. Asher Allen, a third-round pick in 2009, struggled at times when used in a regular role and veterans Lito Sheppard and Frank Walker also saw time. Sheppard will be a free agent after a new collective bargaining agreement is in place and isn't expected to return. Walker was signed as a free agent off the street after Griffin was injured four games into the season. Louisiana State's Patrick Peterson will be long gone by the time the Vikings pick 12th in the first round, but there is a chance Minnesota could have a decision to make on Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara. Amukamara is projected as a top-15 pick and was a finalist for the Thorpe award in 2010 after he started 14 games at left cornerback for the Cornhuskers. Amukamara, who is 6-0, 201 pounds, finished his collegiate career with five interceptions in 49 games, but all came during the 2009 season. The Vikings could look to take a cornerback later in the draft given their multitude of needs (quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, etc.). Minnesota has only two picks in the first three rounds before having seven in the last four rounds, including two in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh. Miami's Brandon Harris and Texas' Aaron Williams are projected as first- or second-round picks. Potential second- and third-round picks include Louisville's Johnny Patrick, Virginia's Ras-I Dowling, Texas' Curtis Brown, and Colorado's Jimmy Smith. Williams is an interesting case because he's projected by some to move to safety and that's another spot at which the Vikings need help. The Vikings are hoping Griffin and Cook can rebound from their knee issues, but a draft pick could fit into the equation as the eventual starting left cornerback. Winfield is being used as a nickel cornerback and considering he isn't getting any younger he eventually will need to be replaced. Of course, if Griffin can't return to form after the two knee surgeries there also is chance there might be an opening for playing time at right cornerback. There is speculation the Vikings could trade back in the opening round to try to grab a quarterback such as Jake Locker or Christian Ponder and also recoup their third-round pick in making that move. It's possible the Vikings could turn that move into a cornerback. 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