FELDY: All three of our Vikings "experts" at the P-B wrote in the print edition this week that we think the Vikings will take a cornerback at No. 30 tonight, in the first round of the NFL Draft.
I went with Florida State's Patrick Robinson; Phersy went with Kareem Jackson of Alabama (there's a spoiler, for those two of you who will read our Faceoff column in print today); and Guy Limbeck went with .... well, I think he picked about four different guys, but settled on Devin McCourty of Rutgers.
All of those picks are likely moot, now that Lito Sheppard has signed. But, let's look at what the Vikings could do now with pick No. 30:
Cornerback. Even with Sheppard signing yesterday, the Vikings still have some questions at corner. Their group of CBs has the potential to be among the best in the league. It also has the potential to get lit up by opposing QBs and WRs. When Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin are healthy, the secondary is strong, as they can play Benny Sapp or Sheppard in the nickel. Asher Allen, last year's third-rounder, also played well in spots, though he struggled against the elite passing teams. If Griffin isn't able to recover well enough to play as he has the past two years, then Sapp becomes a bigger part of the picture. Bottom line: The Vikings should go corner only if they think they'll get a guy who can be a starter or key player in the nickel right away.Offensive line
. If it's for depth only it's hard to justify a first-round pick on an OL. Get a good guard and/or tackle in second round or later. If the Vikings know that something is still wrong with Steve Hutchinson's back, then a first-round OL is a very good decision because the team doesn't have good depth right now. Some media members think Florida interior lineman Maurkice Pouncey
will drop to the Vikings. If he's there, the Vikings should pounce on him (no pun intended) because he's big (6-4, 305), fast and, most importantly, versatile.
Quarterback. Not Tim Tebow. Please, not Tim Tebow. Yes, he's a leader. Yes, he's working on his mechanics. But he can't change that awkward throwing motion overnight and he spent his whole college career in the shotgun -- running the ball a significant amount (217 carries in his senior season alone). The upside to drafting a QB at No. 30 is that you're looking at giving him probably $8-9 million guaranteed, which isn't bad if you think the guy can be your franchise QB. It's not nearly the gamble that St. Louis is likely to take on Sam Bradford, who likely will get more than $40 million guaranteed for going No. 1 overall (last year's No. 1 overall, Detroit QB Matt Stafford, got $41 mil guaranteed).
Linebacker. Drafting an LB at No. 30 wouldn't be a bad decision, but it would signal one of two things (maybe both): 1) Ben Leber's time as a Viking is over after this season, when his deal expires; 2) E.J. Henderson is having a difficult time healing from his broken leg and the Vikings are concerned about his ability to get back to 100 percent.
Trade down. Not that I'd like to see the Vikes use their first pick on a QB, but if they are going to, I'd rather see them try to trade down 8-10 spots and hope that Colt McCoy is still there for them. I have no idea if he's better than Jimmy Clausen or Tim Tebow, but if they're intent on taking a QB early, I'd rather see them move down a few spots, get another draft pick and still get one of the top three or four QBs.
The pick. Maybe Bryant McKinnie will not be welcomed back after this season, and the Vikings could go for Indiana OT Roger Saffold or USC's Charles Brown (Packers fans have their Charlie Brown jokes ready, I'm sure). But after all of those possibilities, one position we haven't touched on is defensive line. Pat Williams is clearly ready to retire in the next couple of years. Jimmy Kennedy is in place as a very good backup. Is he a potential full-time starter? Maybe, but maybe not if the Vikings can add another young, disruptive big guy in the middle. That's UCLA's Brian Price, who will be the pick at No. 30.