Saturday, January 28

Vikings enter Friday’s second round near front of the line, and with more needs


After trading back 20 spots in Thursday night’s first round, the Vikings won’t have to wait long to be on the clock Friday night.

The Vikings hold the second pick – 34th overall – in the second round, which general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could take in multiple directions with needs remaining at cornerback, defensive line and receiver, among others, and other NFL teams potentially looking to trade up. Minnesota also has two third-round picks, at 66th and 77th overall, on Friday.

“We’ve got three really good chances,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said Thursday night. “I really felt like the value could present itself in that kind of 30ish to 70-something type of picks, we have a lot of guys on our board stacked there who can help us win a lot of football games.”

Adofo-Mensah referenced a “curveball” in getting a late trade offer for the 32nd overall pick on Thursday night, when they ultimately selected Georgia safety Lewis Cine. He still expects other NFL general managers to be interested in their next pick with another day to prepare.

“My cellphone is always charged,” Adofo-Mensah said.

“That’s the dynamic,” he added. “A lot of times people reset their boards and things like that.”

The Vikings addressed the secondary by drafting Cine at the end of the first round, with Adofo-Mensah citing his “special” range in coverage. Cine, who starred for the national champion Bulldogs last season, could be an immediate starter opposite Harrison Smith after last year’s starting safety, Xavier Woods, signed with the Panthers in free agency.

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The Vikings could still use more secondary help at cornerback. Two prospects discussed as possible first-round options, Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. and Washington’s Kyler Gordon, didn’t hear their names called and may be worth a swing at the top of the second round.

There’s also the defensive line, where the Gophers’ Boye Mafe and the Wolverines’ David Ojabo might be the top edge rushers available. Both could be fits as outside linebackers in coordinator Ed Donatell’s 3-4 defensive front, although Ojabo’s slide out of the first round is due to an Achilles injury at Michigan’s pro day in March.

If the Vikings wait until the third round to add depth behind Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, they might find fits in Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie, Kentucky’s Joshua Paschal or Dominique Robinson from Miami of Ohio.

A below-radar need is the interior D-line, where Donatell’s three-down front is currently projected to include Dalvin Tomlinson, Harrison Phillips and Armon Watts. The Packers took one of the top options at 28th overall, Georgia’s Devonte Wyatt, leaving Alabama’s Phidarian Mathis, Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal and Iowa State’s Eyioma Uwazurike as the top-rated options left.

Intriguing receivers remain in this deep draft class despite the Vikings passing up the chance to take Alabama’s Jameson Williams, whom the Lions drafted at No. 12 overall after trading with Minnesota. Detroit joined a hectic run at the position, which quickly thinned the top of the class as six receivers were selected within the first 18 picks.

Remaining are big perimeter wideouts, like NDSU’s Christian Watson and Georgia’s George Pickens, shifty slot receivers in Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore and Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson, as well as a recent riser in South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert.

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