As with middle linebacker, the Vikings could be on the edge of the first-round values at cornerback.
Most draft analyst have three cornerbacks rated as first-round values – Dee Milliner, an anticipated top-five pick, Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant. Milliner will be long gone before the Vikings' first pick, at No. 23, and there is a possibility both Rhodes and Trufant could be selected by then, too.
However, if the Vikings do want to replace Antoine Winfield, who agreed to a one-year deal with Seattle last week, immediately, there is one cornerback who is similar to Winfield, according to NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas.
"Trufant. I like cover men better than guys that attack the ball. Give me a guy that's going to stay with the man. In Desmond Trufant, they end up getting another Winfield," Thomas said.
The issue for the Vikings is that they have other pressing needs, as well, including middle linebacker, wide receiver and defensive tackle. Middle linebacker and cornerback appear to be weaker in depth in this year's draft class than wide receiver and defensive tackle, but the Vikings' primarily zone scheme could allow them to wait until their second- or third-round pick and still find a good match at cornerback.
While "shutdown corners" can be all the buzz on draft day, the Vikings value physicality and tackling in their cornerbacks to fit their Tampa-2 base defense.
Trufant was the star cornerback of Senior Bowl week, but Oregon State's Jordan Poyer showed he is worthy of second-day consideration during his time in front of NFL scouts in Mobile, Ala.
"Jordan is a physical hitter. Jordan will come in and really knock you on your (butt)," Thomas said. "You go back and look at Ike Taylor down at Pittsburgh, Jordan Poyer's his clone, and he's also a good return man. You're bringing in a guy that not only is a good return man but also is a good coverage man on special teams, so I'm going to get some good value out of this guy early."
Two other Senior Bowl participants – Leon McFadden of San Diego State and Robert Alford of Southeastern Louisiana – also had solid weeks at the college all-star game. They likely will be picked in the second or third round, according to the draft grades several analysts assigned to them.
"What I like about (McFadden) is he sticks on people," Thomas said. "What I like about him is his leaping ability. This kid goes up for the ball. This kid's got great, great hands, and he's got good bloodlines, too — his father (Leon) was a good baseball player."
McFadden and Alford are both 5-foot-10; McFadden is built a little thicker.
"Big week down at the Senior Bowl but (Alford is) very small. He reminds me of Carlos Rogers. I like to stay away from those small defensive backs," Thomas said.
Viking Update's most recent mock draft had Jamar Taylor projected to the Vikings as their second-round pick, but Thomas sees a different role for Taylor at the NFL level.
"I like the guy, but I like him more as a free safety. He reminds me so much of Brian Dawkins," Thomas said. "I just don't know about his coverage skills. He bites a lot on play-action and misdirection. I'd much rather have him playing the deep secondary than covering a man. The same thing holds true with David Amerson. Move him to free safety and you're going to have yourself one hell of a ball-hawk."
The options at cornerback after the first round are there for the Vikings, and it shouldn't come as a surprise if they draft one in the second round. They've selected a defensive back 12 times in 55 second-round picks – more than any other position.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Second-round CB options could fit for Vikings
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