With selections one and two firmly in hand, it can be said that the Minnesota Vikings have clearly addressed two of the teams biggest three needs ( Nichol corner w/ future starting potential still needed ).
Percy Harvin fills out a potentially strong receiving corps while the second round selection of Phil Loadholt should nicely fill the right tackle position for the potentially the next eight to ten years.
So, what is left to do and who’s still out there that fits the Vikings needs and scheme? Here are four Gems that have for one reason or another have slid to day 2. The Vikings would be very fortunate to secure any one of these even if it cost them a 5th or 7th selection in order to move up.
1. D.J. Moore – CB – Vanderbilt – 5’ 10” 190 lbs. – Could he possibly slip to the Vikings at # 86. Doubtful ! But if the Vikings really want to make a splash today, then they might consider trading up to select Moore. I for one am stunned that a talent this good is still on the board. He is an elite cover corner who fills a large need for the Vikings. I personally had him as the 3rd or 4th best corner in the entire draft an felt he had first round ability and was an absolute steal in round two. He is a bit undersized, but is a great playmaker and excellent kick returner. His abilities are a good fit for the cover two that the Vikings employ.
2. Antoine Caldwell – C – Alabama- 6’ 4” 310 Lbs. – Has ideal size/strength for a Center. Is quick off the ball with good hand use. Has the flexibility and power to recover quickly and make his block. Plays with a vicious mean streak and can effectively drive block. Very smart with fast feet. Has good lower body power and the hip flexibility you look for in a center prospect. Able to pick up stunts and blitzes with ease. Plays with urgency and speed. Has a unique ability to hold his in-line block just long enough to allow his guards to take over.
Caldwell is a complete package of upper and lower body power. In most drafts, Caldwell would be the first center off the board. He has a strong core. Almost always wins the battle if he gains inside hands off the snap. Can also play both guard positions as well as center. Is a unique athlete who is comfortable on the move and in space. He has the size, athleticism, intelligence and strength to excel. Was voted AP all-American first team and would upgrade the Vikings offensive line considerably.
3. Jonathan Luigs – C – Arkansas – 6’ 4” 300 Lbs. – Has Good size and quick feet and uses them well in both the running and passing attack. Plays under control with good upper body strength to handle bull rushers and the finesse to deal with quicker defenders. Is a tough and competitive.
Needs to improve pass protection technique and learn to bend at his knees. Lacks the applied strength to physically dominate at the line of scrimmage. But he works hard on every play. Could become a dominant blocker in the NFL with some hard work in the weight room. Luigs has the potential to start immediately for the Vikings, and could be an upgrade over John Sullivan, though time would have to tell.
4. Jared Cook – TE – South Carolina – 6’5” 250 Lbs. Big and powerful target. A strong TE prospect who’s college career has consistently shown the ability to adjust and make great catches on off-target passes. Runs routes precisely and aggressively. Accelerates to full speed quickly and can get in and out of cuts quickly to gain separation from the defender.
Gets to full speed fast and has the burst to run away from defenders. Shows the strength and balance to keep his feet against hard hits. Runs through arm tackles to consistently gain yards after contact. Blocks aggressively and stays with it while keeping his feet moving through the play. Does not always show great effort in the blocking part of his game, but when motivated he shows the tenacity you want in a TE.
Displays the quickness to slide out and pass block blitzing linebackers, but must be more aggressive with his hands to improve his blocking. Clearly has the acceleration, playing speed and receiving skills to be solid in the NFL early in his career. Could be a good special teams player and provide good depth while learning the West Coast offense behind Klinesasser and company.