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Updated: 15 min 31 sec ago

Vikings have enough needs for to be very flexible at No. 11

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 13:35
Looking at the Vikings’ CURRENT roster, which includes a pretty good running back who’s, um, well rested, here’s one man’s opinion of the top four needs heading into the first round of the draft, which will be held in what will seem like 3,457 days … 1. Receiver: Not just any receiver. A big, fast, prototypical No. 1-type receiver with some polished route-running skills. (Google: Big receivers/Bears/Lions/really hard to defend). There’s no guarantee Cordarrelle Patterson will put in the work or grasp what is necessary to be an elite receiver, so the train moves on. If he wakes up, great. The Vikings would have two elite big receivers for Teddy Bridgewater to look for. 2. Left guard: The offensive line just flat-out isn’t good enough and another first-round investment might be due. Four of the positions — left tackle, center, right guard and right tackle — are manned by young guys who are either doing a good job, are capable of doing a good job and are here because the team invested heavily in them financially  and/or through the draft. Charlie Johnson won’t be brought back and David Yankey is a fifth-round pick who never saw the field this season. An elite left guard would help the line overall and could steer left tackle Matt Kalil’s career back to the path it should be on. 3. Strong safety: Free safety Harrison Smith should have made the Pro Bowl and would have gotten more All-Pro consideration if the team had been better. Now imagine placing another elite, first-round caliber safety next to him. Someone with the same instincts, tackling ability and versatility. Might come in handy for those Green Bay games against a QB who is about to win his second MVP award and has thrown 477 passes and 38 touchdowns since his last pick at Lambeau Field 4. Cornerback: Josh Robinson, for the most part, played better than expected as the No. 3 corner in his first season with Mike Zimmer and his staff coaching him. But he’s a shaky No. 3 in the NFC North. Plus, there’s no guarantee the Vikings will remain as healthy in the secondary as they were in 2014. Anyone who saw the team play in 2011 and 2013 knows what happens to a defense when the secondary is ravaged by injuries. Also, Captain Munnerlyn was an upgrade from Chris Cook, but he didn’t reach a level that screams automatic starter for 2015. So if things line up a certain way and corner is the top talent on the board in Round 1, take him and move Munnerlyn to the No. 3 nickel slot spot if you have to. Although the top four needs were listed in order, we aren’t saying automatically take a receiver first, a guard second, etc. The Vikings have enough needs that every position, except quarterback, should be in play when they  pick 11th overall. Just pick the greatest talent and make the necessary adjustments. Four rookies made the Pro Bowl this season. All four were selected below the 11th pick. Any one of them would fit with the Vikings, even the one who is a defensive tackle because, well, he’s that good and those big fellas don’t play every snap. The Giants got receiver Odell Beckham 12th overall. He’s going to win offensive rookie of the year. The Rams took defensive tackle Aaron Donald  13th overall. He’ll likely win defensive rookie of the year. At No. 16, the Cowboys got guard Zack Martin. All he did was earn All-Pro honors. At No. 17, the Ravens took linebacker C.J. Mosley, a playmaker who helped Baltimore’s defense go on the road and win at Pittsburgh in last week’s wild card round. Obviously, the Vikings also did well for themselves, picking up linebacker Anthony Barr at No. 9 and Bridgewater at No. 32. Whether the Vikings give Barr help on defense or Bridgewater help on offense should come down to the best player, not a preconceived notion of which position should be filled by which round.
Categories: Local

Hartman: Nanne recalls good times with Parise

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 22:44
As teammate, employee and friend, the ex-North Star was cherished.
Categories: Local

Gophers need to skate through weak Big Ten foes

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 22:17
The Gophers had better dominate a weak league to get an at-large bid.
Categories: Local

Series preview: Gophers hockey at Michigan

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 21:47
Categories: Local

Wild's strong effort isn't rewarded against Chicago

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 21:46
Playing with heavy hearts for their teammate Zach Parise and a day after being called out by their coach, the Wild out-shot Chicago by a large margin but lost 4-2 at Xcel Energy Center.
Categories: Local

Anderson: Low gas prices keep optimism high at Sportsmen's Show

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 21:10
Fuel prices could mean a boost in fishing and boating tourists heading Up North.
Categories: Local

Wolves rookie Wiggins starting to live up to the hype

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 20:41
Categories: Local

Wild GM Fletcher: 'We're good enough to turn this around'

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 20:31
GM Chuck Fletcher still believes in his team, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t working the phones.
Categories: Local

Conditions not ideal for Vonn setting win record in Austria

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 20:28
The ex- Buck Hill skier is ill and has notdone well before on this weekend’s course.
Categories: Local

There's another Carter working out for Vikings at receiver

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 20:12
WR Duron Carter, son of Vikings Hall of Famer Cris, is seeking an NFL job. He is scheduled to work out for the Vikings on Friday.
Categories: Local

Connecting with Twin Cities fatbikers

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 20:00
Categories: Local

Wolves add some help at center with Raduljica

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 18:14
The continued absence of starting center Nikola Pekovic has prompted the Wolves to add 7-footer Miroslav Raduljica. Minnesota signed the Serbian to a 10-day contract.
Categories: Local

Despite winless start, Minnesota is "better than last year," Pitino says

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 17:41
The Gophers are 0-3 in the Big Ten, but coach Richard Pitino is trying to keep his players positive. "We are significantly better than last year," he said Thursday.
Categories: Local

TFD: Plenty of precedent for Minnesota coaches getting fired right after best year

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 16:36
The Wild’s struggles and Mike Yeo’s meltdown Wednesday continue to fuel speculation that the head coach’s job is in jeopardy. This is a yearly tradition — even if our guy Russo, who is as plugged in as anyone, says that as of Wednesday (pre-meltdown) he believed Yeo’s job was “completely safe.” Goaltending is clearly the team’s No. 1 problem, and it’s not even close. So don’t take this post as an indication of what we think is going to happen with Yeo. Rather, it’s a reminder that just because the Wild and Yeo had their best season together a year ago — winning a playoff series and earning the coach a contract extension — it by no means guarantees his job security. For examples, we only need to look at Minnesota coaching history. The 2000 Vikings made the NFC title game; in 2001, Denny Green was fired before the season was over. The 2003-04 Timberwolves made the Western Conference finals. In the middle of the next season, Flip Saunders was fired. In 2009, the Vikings again made the NFC title game. Before 2010 was over, Brad Childress was fired. And in 2012-13, Tubby Smith led the Gophers men’s basketball team to an NCAA tournament victory. Shortly after that, he was fired. It’s a cliche to say sports are a “what have you done for me lately” business, but it’s undeniably true. The good vibes from the Wild’s playoff run a year ago are quickly fading. A lot of it isn’t Yeo’s fault, and again — we’re not saying he’s in trouble. But if you think he’s safe just because of the recent past, we’d say you should think again.
Categories: Local

What others are writing about J.P. Parise

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 14:38
Categories: Local


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