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If we can't trade out of the eighth spot, what would be wrong with selecting the top-rated cornerback instead of linebackers Anthony Barr or Khalil Mack? Our defense gave up the lead several times late in games last season. A top cornerback would help. The Vikings can look at drafting a second-tier quarterback later. -- Dave P. Texas
In theory, there is nothing wrong with taking the top-rated cornerback at No. 8. And in fact, the average draft position of the first cornerback taken in each the past five drafts is 8.2. Where this could become questionable this year is if, according to the Vikings draft board and their player evaluations, the top-rated cornerback doesn't have a grade requisite of being selected eighth overall. If, in that scenario, you take the cornerback anyway, you are then reaching for a player to satisfy a need, and that's where mistakes happen in the draft.
As the draft get closer, the words phrase "best player available" is always attributed to Vikings GM Rick Spielman and his philosophy. What happens if the best player available is an offensive tackle? Do you see the Vikings selecting that position while having two stalwarts at the position already? -- Ian H. Riverbank, CA
No, I don't see the Vikings taking an offensive tackle at No. 8 this year, even if that particular player is the best available. That is an unlikely scenario, though, because it's common for the highest available graded player to actually be a group of two or more players. For example, let's say a team grades on a scale of 1-10. At the grade of 7.5, that team may have four or five players grouped. In that case, a team would take a look at that group of players when they're on the clock and select the one they think would fit best with their team, taking into account position, scheme and many other factors.
With all the buzz and fan hype surrounding Johnny Manziel, why would the Vikings not just take him? Regardless of whether he wins games or not, he would sell seats and make the franchise money that way. -- Shaun S. Bakersfield, CA
That is one way to look at it. I would submit to you, though, that teams do not make personnel decisions based on which players will cause fans to buy tickets. They base their personnel decisions on what will get the team to win more games because winning games is the best way to get people to buy tickets.
I'm just not convinced of any quarterbacks in this draft. What I would rather see is the Vikings draft defense hard and heavy the first three picks, and maybe even more if we could trade back from No. 8 and acquire extra early-round picks. Also, I know most fans will disagree, but I'm still wondering if Norv Turner can work with Christian Ponder and get him to be a good, consistent quarterback. What are your thoughts on the quarterbacks in the draft, Ponder and drafting defense over offense? -- John T. Lincoln City, OR
There are a lot of people who study the draft every year and agree with John on the quarterbacks – they just aren't convinced. I go back and forth on several of them, and ultimately there are quarterbacks in this draft that I would feel comfortable taking and grooming as the future starter. But if I was a GM and we as a personnel staff felt as John does about the quarterbacks this year, I would think long and hard before taking one at No. 8. Taking a quarterback in the top 10, in my mind, means you are in love with that player and you think he is the answer at quarterback for the next decade. If you can't put that kind of endorsement on the guy, then I wouldn't take him eighth overall. So if that's how I felt about this year's quarterbacks, then I would absolutely endorse taking a defensive player at No. 8, presuming he has the best grade of the available players.
As for Ponder, it is well within the realm of possibility that the presence of Turner will lead to improved play from Ponder. I'm not saying I'm counting on it or I expect it, but I am saying it's a possibility and I am looking forward to watching Ponder take on the challenge.
View images of new Viking S Kurt Coleman from his days in Philadelphia.
What do you have on this Kurt Coleman? Is he a starter or was he signed for special teams? -- Terry V.
If you're on the roster, you have a chance. As long as you're on the roster, you have a chance to make the team, to contribute on special teams and to earn a starting role. If Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer didn't think a guy could play or wasn't good enough to ever earn a starting role, I don't think they'd bring that guy aboard. In four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Coleman has played in 59 games with 29 starts. He had a two-season stretch where he nabbed six interceptions and he also registered over 100 tackles in 2012. I think he has the goods to compete for a starting safety spot and will most certainly be a special teams contributor.