Vikings painted into a corner?

Patrick Robinson (NoleDigest.com)

The Vikings are showing an awful lot of interest in the cornerback position for this year's draft, for good reason, but figuring out which corner is the tough part. They invited several to Winter Park last week, but there are other options that make sense as well. Also benefitting them is the fact that the 2010 draft is considered deep at the position.

There have been no solid indications of which way the Vikings might be leaning with the 30th pick of this month's NFL draft, but it was interesting that Minnesota had at least five cornerbacks in for a visit this week.

The Vikings like to bring in almost all of their draft-eligible prospects at the same time for visits.

Among the corners believed to be at Winter Park were Indiana (Pa.) product Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Wake Forest's Brandon Ghee; Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis, South Florida's Jerome Murphy, and Florida State's Patrick Robinson.

It would make sense the Vikings would be intrigued by this deep corner class given that Antoine Winfield battled a broken foot for much of last season and Cedric Griffin tore his ACL on the opening kickoff of overtime in the NFC title game. Griffin might not be ready for the start of the season.

The Vikings like Asher Allen, a third-round pick last year, and they re-signed Benny Sapp, who has proven capable as an emergency starter and is the regular nickel back. But there is no question the Vikings could stand to add depth.

Winfield will be entering his 12th season and even if he returns healthy there is going to come a time when he might need to be shifted into the nickel role or even consider a move to safety.

Although he wasn't believed to be on Vikings' invite list, one cornerback who might make sense with the 30th pick is Rutgers' Devin McCourty.

McCourty appears to be a good fit for the Vikings' base Tampa-2 defense and also is an outstanding special-teams player. His talents in the latter area is something on which the Vikings put a premium and would mean he could be active as a rookie even if he doesn't play a ton at corner.

  • The Vikings have started their offseason workout program for players with one-to-three years experience and players with four or more years in the league will join on Monday. The workouts are voluntary so many players likely will come and go.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think every year is a new year but I think it's a very competitive division. I think Detroit, Chicago and Green Bay all are very good teams. It's a wide-open division every year and I respect every one of the general managers and head coaches in that division because they all do an outstanding job and it makes it very competitive. You can't predict what goes on during the season, but I know everybody works to get their rosters better this time of year." — Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman on the NFC North.


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