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Approaching the Draft: Tight Ends

If you haven’t seen yet, I’m going though the Vikings roster position by position and making some predictions (I’ll be happy if I get one right when the draft actually roles around) as to what the Vikes should, could, and won’t do come draft day.

So far I’ve done QB’s, RB’s, and WR’s. So check them out.

Now, on to the tight ends (I’ll go back and do the fullbacks after this whole Tahi thing is settled).

CURRENT STATUS: The Vikings are suddenly very solid at the tight end. After Jim Kleinsasser hit free agency for a couple of minutes, the Vikings re-signed him. After Visanthe Shiancoe stunk up his first year and a half on the team, he’s really come around as one of the top pass catching tight ends in the league. After Brad Childress managed to really tick of Bill Belichick for stealing Garrett Mills of the Patriots practice squad, Mills is an interesting option who has shown some promise at tight end. Needless to say, the Vikings don’t really need an upgrade at tight end unless an opportunity too great to pass up comes along.

ROUND ONE: Oklahoma tight end Brandon Pettigrew is the top rated player in the draft at his position. There is a pretty good chance that Pettigrew is available when the Vikings pick at #22, and he’s a playmaker worth taking at that spot. However, I would say that the Vikings will have a solid prospect in a position of need available to them when they pick, and will pass up on Pettigrew.

While Jared Cook of South Carolina will warrant serious consideration if he falls to us in round two, I’d say the Vikings should really just bring in a “project” guy to compete in training camp and possibly stick to the practice squad. Someone like Brian Mandeville from Northeastern has all the measurables (6’ 6”, 258 lbs.) to be really good on the NFL level after a few years of coaching. The price will be right as his knee injury almost guarantees that he’ll go undrafted.

LEAST LIKELY TO BE TARGETED: The nice thing about Pettigrew is that he’s as good of a blocker as he is at catching the ball. However, his poor 40-time at the combine and his arrest for assaulting an officer will almost guarantee that the Vikings find somebody less risky to spend their first round pick on.

I think the Vikings will refrain from using any of their picks on a tight end this year. Their thinking should be pretty in-line with mine, and I’ll bet they target some training cap fodder like the previously mentioned Mandeville. They could also look at some other undrafted guys like David Johnson of Arkansas or Brandon Myers of Iowa.

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