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The Vikings have an extra first-rounder from Seattle for trading wide receiver Percy Harvin. They have 11 selections in the seven-round draft, including six of the first 120 picks, with needs at wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle.
After their surprising 10-6 finish and spot in the playoffs last season, the Vikings traded the multi-skilled Percy Harvin to Seattle and also lost cornerback Antoine Winfield, one of their most respected players, to the Seahawks in free agency. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, in the final year of his contract, will be 33 before the season starts.
"It will be a very exciting draft, because I think there’s going to be a lot of depth and a lot of value throughout the draft that you’re going to be able to get some pretty good players that can come in and help your ballclub," Spielman said.
That certainly was the case last year. The Vikings found potential future stars in the first round with left tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith, and sixth-round selection Blair Walsh made the Pro Bowl as a kicker. They also picked cornerback Josh Robinson, fullback Rhett Ellison and wide receiver Jarius Wright, who made significant contributions as rookies.
That productivity ramped up the team’s timeline to return to competitor status in the stacked NFC North, so much so that Spielman uncharacteristically splurged in free agency to sign wide receiver Greg Jennings away from rival Green Bay to help withstand the loss of Harvin.
At wide receiver, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin is a lot like Harvin, but he will probably require the Vikings to trade up to get him. This draft is considered to be deep at this position, which might be the team’s greatest need even after signing Jennings and bringing back Jerome Simpson on another one-year contract.
So the Vikings could wait until the second or third round and likely still find a ready-made prospect. Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee, Keenan Allen of Cal and Robert Woods of USC are three options.
"There’s a lot of guys that are athletic guys that can stretch the field," Spielman said. "There’s some guys that are smaller but very unique. There’s some guys that are maybe not as fast but have some unique catching skills that make them good players."
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