Found April 21, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
Today is the 11th day of two weeks of Minnesota Vikings coverage leading up to the April 26 beginning of the NFL draft. April 12: Five best first-rounders in the past 25 years April 13: Five worst first-rounders in the past 25 years April 14: Quarterbacks position preview April 15: Running backsfullbacks position preview April 16: Offensive tackles position preview April 17: Guardscenters position preview April 18: Tight ends position preview April 19: Wide receivers position preview April 20: Defensive linemen position preview April 21: Linebackers position preview Today: Cornerbacks position preview April 23: Safeties position preview April 24: Rick Spielman's draft strategy April 25: Forecasting the first-round pick TODAY'S POSITION: CORNERBACKS Importance (1-to-10 scale): 9 On the roster The weakest position on the Minnesota Vikings' roster at the end of last season looks a little better for Minnesota heading into the draft. Veteran Antoine Winfield should return from neck surgery after missing 11 games last season. Tall, cover corner Chris Cook was acquitted of domestic assault charges and is likely will assume the starting spot left behind by the release of Cedric Griffin. The Vikings have signed Chris Carr and Zack Bowman in free agency to add to the depth. Both have started in the past and Minnesota could have gotten a bargain with Carr, who is a former starter for the Ravens but had injuries last season. The Vikings also have Asher Allen returning. Allen has started 20 games the past two seasons as the team has dealt with injuries. Marcus Sherels, Nick Taylor, Brandon Burton and Reggie Jones are also on the roster to compete for reserve spots. Minnesota has a lot of bodies but could be looking for more quality depth or a true No. 1 corner. Last five cornerbacks drafted 2011--Brandon Burton, Utah: fifth round (139th overall) -- still with the Vikings 2010--Chris Cook, Virginia: second round (34th overall) -- still with the Vikings 2009--Asher Allen, Georgia: third round (86th overall) -- still with the Vikings 2007--Marcus McCauley, Fresno State: third round (72nd overall) -- released, September 2009, out of the NFL 2006--Cedric Griffin, Texas: second round (48th overall) released, March 2012, signed with the Washington Redskins Philosophy at the position The Vikings have been willing to draft cornerbacks early, including Cook, Allen and Griffin in recent years. Minnesota has also had the three-time Pro Bowler Winfield steady the position for the past eight seasons. Yet, with the Cover 2 defense that coach Leslie Frazier employs, the Vikings can get away without a stout, shutdown cornerback because of the defensive scheme. That said, Minnesota has been hit hard by injuries at cornerback the past two years. So, the team could use more depth and a player that could either start from Day 1 or be developed into an eventual starter to take over for the aging Winfield. While the defensive scheme protects the cornerbacks, any team could use the true shutdown corner that the Vikings don't seem to have on the roster. Day 1 name to remember (Round 1) Morris Claiborne, junior, Louisiana State (5-11, 188). Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has reportedly said the team is trying to decide between left tackle Matt Kalil, receiver Justin Blackmon or Claiborne with the No. 3 overall pick. Claiborne started the evaluation process as the standout cornerback in the draft and hasn't lost that reputation. He won the Jim Thorpe award as the best defensive back in college football last year and then decided to forgo his senior season at LSU. He has good size, quickness, and cover ability and likely could step into a starting role right away as a rookie. He's a true cover corner and has good ball skills, as indicated by his 11 total interceptions the past two years. He also has played elite competition and handled top receivers. He's even willing to stick his helmet in to support the run defense. He won't last very long, so if Spielman decides on Claiborne it will likely have to be at the No. 3 spot. A trade back might mean missing out on this elite prospect. Day 2 name to remember (Rounds 2-3) Trumaine Johnson, senior, Montana (6-1, 204). There are four to five cornerbacks who could sneak into the first round. Johnson could be one, but more than likely he will be available high in the second round when the Vikings pick. Johnson has the size that would come in handy for Minnesota, playing in the NFC North against receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson. He's tall, has long arms and can jump. Coming from a small school, he has upside that could be brought out with NFL coaching. He's athletic and is willing to jam receivers at the line and can tackle. Johnson might not have the elite speed that some cornerback prospects have and he hasn't played against top-level competition. Because he comes from the small school, it could take him time to develop in the NFL. Day 3 name to remember (Rounds 4-7) Dwight Bentley, senior, Louisiana Lafayette (5-10, 182). Bentley is a small-school player who the Vikings might have a better read on than many other teams because of their experience coaching at the Senior Bowl. Bentley made a name for himself during Senior Bowl week. He lacks the ideal size but is considered a pure cover cornerback. Bentley was a four-year starter and is very instinctive. He is quick and athletic and could be a better fit in a zone-type system similar to Minnesota's. He can jump and stick with receivers but is undersized. He's likely a development project regardless of the system. FOXSports.com draft expert Taylor Jones says: "Even with Claiborne, people have their concerns. You look at a guy who ultimately could be the best player at his position compared to the rest of the talent, and he's kind of fallen under the radar if you can believe that. Patrick Peterson had all the pub last year and then (Tyrann Mathieu) had all the pub this year, And Claiborne is probably better than both of them and he hasn't even been talked about. He's the 5-11 corner that probably plays like he's 6-3. Long length, got good arms, good long arms, defends a big catch radius of a wide receiver, but I do think that Dre Kirkpatrick is not all that far behind him. Don't get me wrong, he is behind him, but I don't think it's that significant as maybe a (Matt) Kalil to (Riley) Rieff." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Could the Vikings leave Minnesota?

Vikings, NFL may need to use the 'M' word

ST. PAUL, Minn. For years, Minnesota Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf have tried to be patient and work with state legislators to find a solution for replacing the outdated Metrodome.A process that started under previous owner Red McCombs and continued when the Wilfs bought the team in 2005 has led nowhere. The Vikings still play in the Metrodome, where they rank 31st out of 32...

Vikings Headed To L.A.?

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has been attempting to get taxpayers to pay for a new stadium for some time now. The Metrodome is in horrendous shape & not long ago the roof collapsed. The bill asking for $975M to build the new stadium was voted down on Monday & there has been rampant speculation that [...]

NFL Helps Revive Vikings Stadium Plan

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - With the help of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Minnesota legislative leaders revived a proposal for the Vikings to build a new stadium. A Senate committee voted 8-6 to move forward with a plan for about $975 million stadium in the downtown section of Minneapolis. The vote came only hours after Goodell visited the state Capitol. The commissioner...

Report: Vikings owner visits LA

Commissioner Roger Goodell is set for a crucial Friday meeting with Minnesota politicians, looking to push state lawmakers forward on a bill to finance a new stadium for the Vikings. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's private plane touched down in southern California Thursday, just days after a visit by Goodell for talks with Los Angeles Mayor...

Wife of former Viking Joe Senser charged

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The wife of a former Minnesota Vikings tight end goes on trial this week in a hit-and-run case that killed a man. Amy Senser has admitted being at the wheel when 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong was run down in Minneapolis last August. He was filling his car with gas on a freeway exit ramp at the time. Senser says she didn't know she hit anyone and that...

Donovan McNabb deserves serious Hall of Fame consideration

Donovan McNabb spoke up yesterday on his career and stated that he “absolutely believes” he is a Hall of Famer. He defended his comment by saying: “Peyton (Manning) never won the big game until he won the Super Bowl finally. Dan Marino never won the big game. But does that mean his career is a failure? [...]

Jerome Simpson to visit Vikings

Wide receiver has been an area of dire need for the Vikings over the past two seasons. The Vikings missed out on Pierre Garcon during free agency this year and couldn’t finalize a trade deal with the San Diego Chargers for Vincent Jackson two seasons ago while Sidney Rice was recovering from hip surgery. Rice departed Minnesota for Seattle last year. Now, NFL.com is reporting...

Trial looms for ex-Viking's wife in hit-and-run

The wife of a former Minnesota Vikings tight end has admitted being behind the wheel of her husband's sport-utility vehicle last August when it struck a man on a highway exit ramp, killing him. But much of what happened that night is disputed, including whether Amy Senser even knew she hit someone. Jury selection begins Monday in Senser's criminal vehicular homicide trial...

John David Booty Previews the Minnesota Vikings Draft

Happy Hitler Birthday! Or ... wait, April 20th ... That's "another day" that "certain people" "celebrate" for "innocent" reasons, reasons being that they generally like to smoke a bunch of weed and get higher than Sidney Rice going for a jump ball in the back of the endzone. Or ... You know, before his hip went all geriatric on us. Anyway...

Minnesota Senate committee approves stadium bill

In a swift turnaround, a Minnesota Senate committee has green-lighted a proposal that would help subsidize the construction of a new stadium for the Vikings. This comes on the heels of a private meeting between Roger Goodell, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, Governor Mark Dayton, and congressional leaders in Minnesota and a day after Goodell met with Los Angeles mayor Antonio...

Donovan McNabb: Hall of Famer (Just Ask Him)

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of discussion about the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting process being flawed. We’ve discussed it. People thinking their specific guy (Will Shields, Jerome Bettis, Bill Parcells, Cris Carter) deserves to be there have discussed it. Even people thinking their entire league are being blacklisted discuss it. But what are some possible...

Jerome Simpson To Visit Vikings

Wide receiver Jerome Simpson is slated to visit the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Fantasy Spin: Simpson has off-the-field issues and is facing a suspension of at least four games stemming from his drug possession charge, but the Vikings do need a dynamic receiver to complement Percy Harvin on the outside, and Simpson flashed big-time potential...

Minnesota Vikings’ Draft Needs

The Minnesota Vikings had a very disappointing 2011 season, finishing 3-13 and last place in the NFC North. Their poor performance landed them the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft. They have a lot of needs to fill before the 2012 season starts. Let’s see where the Vikings need help the most. It’s almost certain that the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins are going...

Minnesota Vikings Narrow List Down to 3 Players with No. 3 Pick in 2012 NFL Draft

The 2012 NFL Draft is now less than one week away, and the Minnesota Vikings have reportedly narrowed down its list of possible draftees down to three players with the No. 3 pick, provided they do in fact stand pat and decide to not trade down from their current draft spot. According to multiple sources, including the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.