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Approaching The Draft: Safety

This is the last of my “Approaching The Draft” segements, but soon I will compile them together as a complete position-by-position Vikings draft guide.

CURRENT STATUS: I think that it is ridiculous that safety isn’t thought of as a bigger need for the Vikings. Madieu Williams was a solid free agent pickup last year, but 2008 proved yet again that he has trouble staying off the injury report and an adequate backup is needed. Tyrell Johnson will take Darren Sharper’s place at starting strong safety, but after the Philly playoff game, there has to be some questions about whether the second round pick is ready to carry the load. Behind the two starters are safeties Husain Abdullah, Eric Frampton, and Roderick Rogers.

The three backups have a combined starts total of only one game. Rogers was on the practice squad most of last year, while Abdullah and Frampton spent most of the year being a part of a horrible special teams unit. If Williams gets injured again or if Johnson stumbles as a starter, the prospects of bring one of the current backups into the starting role is a scary one. The Vikings desperately need help at safety.

ROUND ONE: It is possible, that unless you count Malcolm Jenkins as a safety, that no safety will be picked in the first round this year. However, if the Vikings decided to go that route, then I think Sean Jones the safety and corner tweener out of Utah would be the preferred choice. Jones has a massive frame at 6’ 4” and 214 lbs, ran a decent 4.53 at the combine, and was a great playmaker on a championship team. While it might be viewed as a reach, Smith could be a decent option at #22.

WHO THEY SHOULD TAKE: David Bruton played for a miserable Notre Dame team, but on the bright side he was a captain on a miserable Notre Dame team. Bruton was one of only two safeties to break 4.5 at the combine and has good size and strength. What most impress me though was the fact that he posted a 41.5” vertical jump at the combine. Projected as a fifth round pick, I think he’s a natural leader with great athletic skill that will prove to be one of the most productive sleepers in this draft.

LEAST LIKELY TO BE TARGETED: Everyone would love to get an explosive safety, but Marcus McClinton of Kentucky takes that saying to a whole other level… and not in a good way. In 2007, McClinton was charged with making explosives from household ingredients. His four interceptions in 2008 will not enough to get the Vikings to over-look his off the field problems and his injury riddled college career. Not a chance.

MOST LIKELY TO BE TARGETED: Troy Nolan from Arizona State just seems like a Childress type of guy. By that I mean he’s versatile and productive. With 10 picks in two years, combined with good tackling ability, I think he has to be a guy that the Vikings consider when they’re back on the clock in round 5 if he’s still around.

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