Vikings draft fits

The Vikings are in a good position with their roster, but they have to balance drafting for need and keeping the future in mind. Their first-round decision could come down to two Florida prospects.

Day one and two draft fits: C Maurkice Pouncey, RB Jonathan Dwyer, CB Chris Cook

The Vikings find themselves in an interesting position entering this draft.

Coming off an appearance in the NFC title game, Minnesota isn't a team that has many glaring holes but there are plenty of positions at which it can add for the future and get stronger in the short-term by doing so.

The Vikings have eight picks, including a compensatory pick in the fifth round, and hold the 30th overall selection in the first round.

Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman stressed last year that he wanted to keep all of his picks this year. Spielman has run the Vikings draft since 2007 and the past two years he has had five selections in each.

One name that has come up regarding the Vikings is former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Spielman went to Tebow's Pro Day in Gainesville last month and Spielman and Vikings coach Brad Childress worked out Tebow and several of his teammates recently in Florida.

The Vikings seem to like Tebow and his new throwing motion and might feel he could learn behind Brett Favre, assuming the future Hall of Famer decides to return.

The big question is would the Vikings be willing to spend their first-round pick on Tebow? Speculation on when he might be selected has been all over the board.

One of the players Childress and Spielman watched in Gainesville was Pouncey. If the interior offensive lineman is around late in the first round the Vikings could grab him and allow the Florida product to compete with John Sullivan for the starting job or compete with Anthony Herrera at right guard. Pouncey has Pro Bowl potential.

TEAM NEEDS

Cornerback: The Vikings have issues with their two starters at this spot. Veteran Antoine Winfield was slowed by a broken foot for much of last season and Cedric Griffin tore his ACL in the NFC title game at New Orleans and likely will start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Veteran Benny Sapp and Asher Allen, a third-round pick last year, provide depth but the Vikings likely will be on the lookout for a future starter at corner and someone who can add immediate depth. They held a private work out for Cook at Virginia. Other possibilities include Rutgers' Devin McCourty, another player they worked out, and Florida State's Patrick Robinson, who was among the predraft visitors.

Offensive line: The Vikings lost the versatile Artis Hicks to Washington in free agency, meaning their top backup at both guard and tackle spots is gone. Ryan Cook, for now, is the primary backup but this likely isn't enough for the team. There is a chance the Vikings could look to bring in competition for the starting jobs at center (Sullivan) and right guard (Herrera) although it's not a given a change would be made. Bottom line is the Vikings would like to add some quality depth in the line.

Linebacker: Chad Greenway and Ben Leber are both entering contract years and E.J. Henderson is returning from a broken leg. There isn't much depth here and it appears a good bet that Leber could leave as a free agent after next season. All of this means the Vikings likely will be looking to the draft to add a player who could take over a starting role in 2011.


Viking Update Top Stories