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Approaching The Draft: Wide Outs

Brandon Gibson
CURRENT STATUS: The Vikings would obviously like to make an upgrade to their starting wide outs. Bernard Berrian has been a success since signing with the club last year. Sidney Rice has been plagued by injury and inconsistency. Bobby Wade seems to understand his routes better than anybody and has proved to have pretty dependable hands. Aundrae Allison seems to be getting better, and could prove valuable in the return game. Jaymar Johnson saw very little playing time last year, but also can return kicks when tasked to do so. Darius Reynaud registered no catches last year, but again, he has skills in the return game. Recently signed Glenn Holt is also a return specialist who’ll fight with Reynaud and Johnson for a roster spot. Where the Vikings would most like to improve is that #2 spot, which is why they tried to get a deal done with T.J. Houshmenzedah.

With the exception of Michael Crabtree, it is possible that the Vikings could have their choice of any other wide out in the draft at the #22 spot. While Childress has been reluctant to pick up wide outs in the first round because of the big money and big ego that come with it, the whiff on Housh may leave them wanting to snag someone here. The most popular name mentioned in mock drafts in connection with the Vikings is Percy Harvin. Harvin is one of those under-sized speedsters that can do a variety of things to impact a game. Other consideration will be given to Hakeem Nicks, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jeremy Maclin, and Kenny Britt.

WHO THEY SHOULD TARGET: If the goal is truly to find somebody to provide a threat across from Berrian as a solid #2, then I think the Vikings need to look at Ramses Barden from Cal Poly-SLO. At 6’ 6” and fairly fast, Barden could provide the Vikings with a legitimate threat for years to come with only a third rounder invested in him. Barden went to a small school and needs some technique coaching, but his frame and raw physical skills could make him one of the best end-zone targets the league has ever seen. It doesn’t matter where you play, if you gain 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns then you are a good football player.

Anyone who watched the combine will probably agree with me that Patrick Turner should’ve stayed home. The USC wide out looked awful in most drills and I would be surprised to see the Vikings even consider a guy that has that much trouble hanging onto the ball.

MOST LIKELY TO BE TARGETED: Rumor has it that Brad Childress has a man-crush on Washington State’s Brandon Gibson. Usually when Childress locks onto a guy like that, he trades up to draft him a full round earlier than he should’ve been drafted. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Childress reach for Gibson with a third rounder. Gibson isn’t bad, but he doesn’t appear to be anything real special either

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