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Secondary Draft Prospects

Posted by cjsiewert on February 21, 2010 – 12:48 pm

Many Vikings enthusiasts would agree that the team needs to focus on the secondary as a primary concern in this year’s NFL Draft.  These feelings are a result of both Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield dealing with injuries this offseason.  With regard to Vikings secondary situation, here are a few possibilities that the team may consider in the early rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft.

If the Vikings draft a CB in the 1st round:

Michigan CB Donovan Warren has good height, excellent speed, and tough physical play that the Vikings would value as a 1st-round pick.  The 6-0, 185 pounder accumulated 4 INTs last season for the Wolverines, returning 1 for a TD.

If the Vikings draft a safety in the 1st round:

At 6-4, 225 pounds, USC S Taylor Mays has extremely rare height and reach for a S.  Last year, Mays compiled a career-high 88 tackles (45 solo, 43 assist), with 1 INT.  Mays also has the ability to change direction quickly and generate big-play hits.

After researching many of my favorite sites, these 2 individuals stand out as candidates for a starting position in the Vikings secondary.  Certainly, there are many more options that the Vikings may consider during the early rounds of the draft, but either Warren or Mays would be a great addition to the team’s pass defense.

Stay up-to-date on possibilities concerning the Vikings draft options throughout the following weeks on vikings.com.


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Posted in CJ Siewert | 32 Comments »


32 Responses to “Secondary Draft Prospects”

  1. By Thor on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    I’d like to see the team draft a CB that has a history of jumping routes for a lot of interceptions. I can remember at least 3 of the 11 picks we got all year were bålls either thrown or tipped right at the defender, and I can remember a few of the same types of bålls falling to the ground anyways. This is the one area that I want our defense to improve on most next year, as it can drastically improve the confidence of your team, simultaneously deflating that of the opponent and has a good chance of adding points without the offense even taking the field.

  2. By Thor on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    On a side note, does anyone else find it hilarious that a site that blogs about a sport that uses a bäll as its primary item of play has censor out the word bãll or bâlls? Maybe a better idea would be to have a Site Monitor come on once or twice a day and remove the obviously offensive content rather than having a backwards system that attempts to block any string of letters that has a possibility of being used for offensive messages.

  3. By Bruce on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    I really don’t know cjsiewert, I think it’s a draw between a quality tackle and a quality cornerback. If Favre had the protection that Manning gets with his Number #1 rated O-line, just think what Favre and AP could do? Just a thought

  4. By TW VIKE on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    We need secondary help ! Plain & simple. We need DBs & safeties that can catch the ball. Via draft or free agency.

  5. By moorevikes on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    true tw vike but if we don’t address the oline as well we will really need those d.b.’s because we’ll be spending alot of time on def

  6. By paul on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    Vikings need to change to a 3-4 defense and commit to running the football

    Linebackers,Quarterback&Center.

  7. By Thor on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    I’ll be the first to comment on Paul’s ignorance this time: The 4-3 defense has been working great for the Vikings, and with all curent personnel it would be asinine to do anything different. We still have both Williams DTs who have been argued for years now as the best pair of DTs in the NFL. If you move to a 3-4, you are now only playing with a single DT, and losing half of what makes them so great. Even if we were to keep them both, moving Kevin out to the Left End, then you are losing a proven player on that side in Ray Edwards who continues to improve with 8.5 sacks on the year, behind only Allen’s 14.5. Also, and probably the strongest argument of all, is that we are already hurting for players behind the D-Line. We have 2 good linebackers, and a 3rd whose status for next year is still up in the air with injury. A 3-4 Defense requires a 4th linebacker as well, where is he going to come from???

    We had a great defense last year mostly because of the 4 man D-Line that we had in place, all of whom are returning healthier than any other group of players on the team. It would be insanely foolish to switch away from that simply because so many other teams in the NFL already have.

  8. By medicineball on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    We need to draft Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri in the first round. I would describe him as a player in the Ray Lewis prototype. Weatherspoon has no character concerns whatsoever.

    Weatherspoon is a great weakside linebacker. This draft pick would light a fire under Ben Leber. If Leber’s play is declining due to age, however, we will have a good option ready to go should the need arise.

    Weatherspoon’s most natural position could be middle linebacker in the Tampa Two that the Vikings play. He has elite speed and coverage ability. He is a playmaking defensive star that would immediately help the Vikings like Brian Cushing helped the Texans.

    What sets Weatherspoon apart, however, are his intangibles. He is capable of becoming the heart and soul of the defense for when EJ Henderson retires. He is a natural leader of men. He is fiery and competitive and loves playing football.

    I am a fan of Jasper Brinkley, EJ Henderson, and Ben Leber. With the various question marks about their ability to perform on the field in 2010, however, and Weatherspoon filling two different positions very well, we should draft Sean Weatherspoon in the first round. Weatherspoon is going to be a great NFL player. He fills a need on the Vikings in a big way.

    As for cornerback, there are many in this draft. A very good cornerback could be taken in the 2nd round, or even in the 3rd.

    On Taylor Mays, he has great athletic prowess. He has all the makings to be a star in the NFL at free safety, except for one thing. Scouting reports on the Internet say he has “tight hips” and he can’t cover well. Coverage isn’t the primary responsibility of the free safety, but it is important. Due to this flaw in Taylor Mays’s game, we should absolutely take Weatherspoon over Mays, but it’s close.

  9. By medicineball on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    On Ben Leber, while he put up good numbers in 2009, he dropped six interceptions in December and January. He has peaked.

  10. By Thor on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    Oh and BTW Paul – Did you say that you want to draft a center?? That is one of the areas on the team that I can guarantee we will not be addressing in the draft. It’s definately the one area on the O-Line that needs to be addressed the least. Sullivan has been doing well in his first year as a starter, and Ryan Grant is a solid back-up option. Meanwhile Hererra has been questionable as a guard, and the tackles need to improve quickly or step back for someone else to take their place.

    Your other calls are almost as ludicrous. Only draft a Quarterback (in the first 2 rounds anyways) if Favre calls it quits. Even then it may be unadvisable knowing that Favre will unquestionably start second guessing himself soon after.

    And if you’re going after a LB it should only be because EJ has shown that his injury has made him less than what we need. He has been one of the best LBs in the NFL for some time now, but kept out of the spotlight with injuries.

    Draft needs to be: CB, OL (outside of Center) and then maybe a DT to replace Pat after his retirement at the end of the season.

  11. By Thor on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    Medicineball – I think your stats are a little off. I looked up Leber’s post season stats, and he was credited for 4 deflections and 1 interception in the 2009 post-season. Most deflections aren’t catchable (by the defender) anyways, so I doubt that all 4 of these could have been considered dropped. But after looking at his stats over the past couple of years, it does look like he plateaued in 2007 and 2008, having a significant dropoff in 2009, though it is still as good as his 2006 numbers, so I wouldn’t count him out just yet.

  12. By vikings2010 on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    our vikings need a corner or safty, i would love for us to draft taylor mays first or if he is not there draft kyle wilson from boise state…..they both will be good fits for the vikings….

  13. By greenwayfan on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    A corner would be a great addition and I think our safety play was less than outstanding this year. If our corners are all healthy and we resign Benny Sapp I think we are really solid at corner but I question whether Cedrick Griffen will be 100% by the beginning of next year. I also know that the style of defense that the Vikings play doesn’t give the safeties alot of opportunities for interceptions. Just look at what Darren Sharper was able to do with the Saints this season. He didn’t just become a much better player, he moved to a system that gave him the freedom to do what he does best, and that is create turnovers. Our defense keeps everything in front of them and then come up and make the tackle. Also the safeties are expected to do alot in run support. I will say that I lost some confidence in Tyrell Johnson when Jamarca Sanford, a rookie 7th round pick came in and played for him at the end of the season. I do know that in the end the Vikings will take the best player available and that is the best way to build a quality team.

  14. By vikings2010 on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    we can also draft a franchise qb cause tjack sucks…maybe someone like sam bradford if he still there or tim tebow he would be nice to…..but we don’t need OL’s or DT’s……anyone agree…..

  15. By vikings2010 on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    i hope we don’t resign t-jack cause he is not worth holding on to even if we don’t draft a QB….t-jack is not a franchise QB so we should just let him go….tjack sucks big time…..go vikings….

  16. By vikings2010 on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    i love to see taylor mays out of usc or kyle wilson of boise state at DB’s for us…..and for QB i don’t mind seeing sam bradford or tim tebow in purple…we need one of them four on our team if they are still there when we pick….anything else would be bad picks in the first round…..

  17. By GW on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Sorry Guy’s….I had to post this. I am still grieving after the conference championship game and 40 years of following this team.

    The NFL is acknowledging that a third-quarter hit on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre should have been called a penalty, which would have nullified a New Orleans Saints interception on the key play in the NFC championship game.

    “It’s the type of hit that we don’t want,” NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said, “… because clearly we’re trying to protect the knees and we need to focus on this to make sure we don’t miss [them].”

    The score was tied at 21 at the time, and the Vikings would have kept the ball and been inside the Saints’ 20-yard line had the penalty on the Saints’ Bobby McCray been called.

  18. By jbork88 on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Get out of here GW, we don’t need to here that over and over again. “If a penalty had been called, they would have won” you people need to stop making excuses. The season is done.

  19. By jbork88 on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Ya i am dissapointed they lost too, but i got over it that same night.

  20. By xavier on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    I think we should try to draft Major Wright from florida he is a solid safety with good ball couverage skills

  21. By medicineball on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Thor, John Sullivan’s backup is Jon Cooper. Ryan Cook would also be available as a backup center. Ryan Grant plays for the Packers.

    EJ Henderson is beloved by me and Vikings fans everywhere. I read he starts walking around again in May. That is after the draft. At the time of the draft, we just will not know how far EJ can come back. Reality must set in. He has a challenge ahead of him. Meanwhile Leber is aging. We can’t know what level of play our linebackers will have in 2010 and so we must draft a very good linebacker. The only one that really fits us is Sean Weatherspoon. Rolando McClain is good, but he will be drafted in the first 15 picks. If we draft Weatherspoon, and then EJ, Ben, and Jasper Brinkley all play great, in addition to Greenway playing great, we will be stacked at linebacker.

  22. By medicineball on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Ben Leber is beloved by myself and Vikings fans, too.

    The thing is, linebacker is a position where a rookie can come in a play at a high level right away, even start. We saw that with Brian Cushing (Texans) and Clay Matthews (Packers) last year, and we have seen it in other years, too.

    Leber’s presence as a veteran signal caller for the defense, however, should not be underestimated in importance.

    If the Vikings draft Weatherspoon, the linebacker corps go from a question mark to a solid and reliable unit in 2010. That’s where I’m coming from.

  23. By medicineball on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Specifically on the secondary, the strong safety must be a sure tackler. The free safety must be good in coverage.

    A foot injury sometimes limits a cornerback from playing very long, but it would not limit a safety. A safety does not have to cut as much as a cornerback. Winfield has publicly stated that if he was asked to play safety, he would love the opportunity. If Winfield is moved to safety, his playing career could be extended, and he would start each play in the center of the field, where he can make more plays with his ability.

    We should move Antoine Winfield to strong safety. I believe he could beat out Tyrell Johnson for the starting job. Tyrell Johnson is a very fast football player.
    He is not as good at tackling as Winfield, though.

    Next, allow Tyrell Johnson to compete for the job at free safety.He could give Madieu Williams good competition for the free safety starting job. Most likely though, Madieu would keep his job as starting free safety. Tyrell would be the backup free safety in 2010. Johnson can also contribute on special teams.

    Jamarca Sanford can remain the backup strong safety. Tyrell Johnson can also play strong safety if necessary.

    At cornerback, re-sign Benny Sapp. Our starting cornerbacks at the beginning of 2010 will include Sapp and Asher Allen. I like how Sapp has played. I think Asher Allen could be a Pro Bowl cornerback one day.

    In nickel situations, Winfield could move to nickel cornerback and Sanford could come in the game at strong safety. As the season progresses, the rookie cornerback that we draft can start getting time on the field, allowing Winfield to remain at strong safety in nickel situations.

    By the middle of the season, Cedric Griffin will be able to return. His likely return to a starting job, or temporarily the nickel cornerback job until he recovers completely, will make the secondary stronger.

    Then the question becomes, what cornerback should the Vikings draft? I have a list below. After drafting Weatherspoon in round 1, a cornerback should be drafted in rounds 2 or 3.

    We can draft an excellent cornerback in the 2nd round, and possibly even the 3rd round. Some good ones include Jerome Murphy, South Florida (hard hitter, makes many tackles), Walter Thurmond, Oregon, (very highly rated until injury and now off the radar), Kareem Jackson, Alabama (underrated), and Amari Spievey, Iowa (played in the Cover-2 in college). In addition, a player like Donovan Warren, Michigan, Patrick Robinson, Florida State, or Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest, could be good. Alterraun Verner, UCLA, played in a Cover-2 scheme in college.

    Out of that group, I think Jerome Murphy has the biggest upside, although I am working with limited knowledge. On the other hand, Verner and Spievey are both familiar with the Cover-2 and might contribute more to the Vikings in the 2010 season.

  24. By nordicgold on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Medicineball, your point about Leber is so crucial. He had clutch games for us when we lost EJ’s veteran presence. I thought DB would be the way to go early but if Witherspoon were available that would give us an incredible group of young linebackers. I too am a huge fan of EJ but has to be a question mark, at least, and Leber is very good too but is likely nearing a decline in production/ability. Brinkley proved a lot to me last year and I think he will be excellent. Pairing him with Greenway and Witherspoon would be awesome with Leber the first guy off the bench. The depth at safety in this years draft gives me confidence in getting a player who can contribute in the second or third rounds. I hope Asher Allen can develop enough to pair with Sapp if Winfeild and Griffin are not 100% to start the year, lessening our need to draft a corner early. Lastly, we could address guard in the second or third round as well, trying to find someone to be groomed as Hutch’s eventual replacement, or plugged in as Herrera’s immediate replacement. I trust Spielman and his guys to pick the best players available…. SKOL!!!!

  25. By nordicgold on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    medicineball you are on fire right now! Winfeild at ss/nickel corner makes a lot of sense. If we were to do that a second round pick on a cornerback could give us a really good player

  26. By Thor on Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

    Medicineball – Thanks for the correction, I guess my head wasn’t on straight last night.

    Ever since hearing about Antoine’s preferance to move back to safety in late-midseason I have been hoping that the coaches decide to make that move, especially after seeing the quality that the backups provided at corner while Antoine was out.

    Nobody talks much about Asher Allen, but he was our 3rd round draft pick last year for a reason. I would expect that we intend him to start playing much more this year and compete for a starting job in his 3rd year at the latest.

  27. By GW on Feb 23, 2010 | Reply

    jpork88… don’t REED it then, and you won’t have to HERE it.

  28. By RoytoyJonez on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    this is regarding paul’s comment way up top: i was gonna say exactly what thor said but he beat me to it by just a bit haha anyways… PAUL that might be the dumbest thing ive ever heard!!! 3-4 really???? why would we break the williams wall and what MLB’s would we use?!?! hendersons already a question mark and unless we have two elite MLB there is no way they would break up pat and kevin. we might as well start sage and forget about favre and while we are at it we could let taylor go and pick up LT and then we should let winfield go to!

  29. By Robman30 on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    U people are nuts ! We have to draft a QB ! Instead of getting all these old quarterbacks for 1or 2 seasons ,lets try developing a young guy like TIM TEBOW ! the guys is a winner ! something that we dont know about in the twin cities (winnig!) If we dont we’ll be watching the packers holding the superbowl trophy soon

  30. By xavier on Mar 2, 2010 | Reply

    Taylor mays jus ran an amazing 4.24 forty he would look good in a purple uniform

  31. By purpleman-68 on Apr 1, 2010 | Reply

    The vikes should go after Kyle Wilson from Boise State and in 2yrs. Boise States QB Kellen Moore would be the ABSOLUTE QB for our future! If any Vike fans get a chance to see this young man in action DO he will impress you!!!

  32. By purpleman-68 on Apr 1, 2010 | Reply

    One more item Boise State has one of the best programs as well as one of if not the BEST coach in Chris Peterson and his great staff. jLike I said just take a look at Kellen Moore as an example. The Vikes already have Ian Johnson who played against Adrian in the 2007 Fiesta bowl considered to be one of if not the BEST NCAA bowl game ever.

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