Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 4/21/12
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.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons has fracture in foot

Olympic wrestler turned ISIS recruit killed in U.S. drone strike

Report: Jamaal Charles to play Sunday against Steelers

Dez Bryant says he will not play Sunday against 49ers

Bill O’Brien officially rules J.J. Watt out for season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Eric Decker out Sunday with partial tear in rotator cuff

Report: Browns planning to part ways with Josh Gordon

Noah skips dinner at West Point because he's anti-war

Giants could use wide receiver at safety against Vikings

Ryan Tannehill does not mince words regarding offense

Russell Wilson on playing Sunday against Jets: ‘No doubt’

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

Box Score: 9/30 - Dolphins, Popovich and MLB umps

Seven most absurd stats heading into NFL Week 4

Antonio Brown to honor Arnold Palmer with custom cleats

The best and worst from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Players Jurgen Klinsmann may call up for USMNT friendlies

Byron Scott has no relationship with D’Angelo Russell

Steve Kerr favors shorter NBA preseason to limit back-to-backs

Flaws of MLB replay system exposed in Cardinals’ victory

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

NBA winners and losers: Gregg Popovich as a voice of reason

WATCH: Will LSU have to sell its soul to find its next head coach?

The clubhouse leaders for MLB Rookies of the Year

Goodbye, Ted: 20 years of highs and lows at Turner Field

Forza Horizon 3 review: Going Top Gear

NFL Kickoff Week 4: Guess what? The NFL is dying again

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker