Late-round CB was expected among visitors

The Vikings were expected to make a projected late-round cornerback among those they visited with before the draft. Find out more about him and what skills he could bring to the NFL.

The Vikings were expected to have another defensive back among their stable of visitors, according to Jon Scott of PatriotsInsider.com on the Scout.com network. The exact visit dates weren't known, but cornerback Ellis Lankster of West Virginia was expected to be one of the prospects to visit the Vikings, who hosted 28 of the allowable 30 predraft visitors last week.

The interest in Lankster, who is expected to be a late-round draft pick, further underscores the team's desire to upgrade the depth at the cornerback. In addition to re-signing nickel back Charles Gordon, who is recovering from a serious ankle injury suffered during the 2008 season, and his replacement Benny Sapp, the Vikings also added former Denver Broncos cornerback Karl Paymah via free agency.

Lankster is one of multiple cornerbacks the Vikings have either interviewed or will be visiting with before the draft.

Lankster transferred to West Virginia after two seasons at Jones County Junior College. At Jones, he was an All-American return man and returned an interception a school-record 98 yards for a touchdown, along with blocking four field goals.

In 2008, his only season as a starter for the Mountaineers, he earned second-team All-Big East honors while registering 68 tackles and three interceptions.

At 5-foot-9 and 191 pounds, Lankster is considered flexible enough to play either cornerback or safety in the NFL, and NFLDraftScout.com calls him a "typical zone corner/free safety prospect" who "plays best when off the line to close quickly on receivers' short routes." That is typical style of play among Vikings cornerbacks in their Tampa-2 defensive scheme, which calls for corners to be strong in run support.

Lankster's size would indicate an Antoine Winfield type, the Vikings' Pro Bowl cornerback who is entering the final year of his contract but has proved to be adept at knifing through traffic and making a play on a running back or a receiver on a bubble screen.

Lankster also has the added the benefit of being a kickoff and punt returner, two unsettled positions for the Vikings. Last year, he had 26 punts returns for 171 yards and eight kickoff returns for 195 yards.


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