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Speed Not Only Factor in Drafting Wide Receivers

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It remains to be seen whether or not the Vikings will select a wide receiver in the 2016 NFL Draft later this month.

If they do, months and months of evaluations will come to fruition.

Eric Oslund with Viking Update recently wrote that speed shouldn't be the biggest factor when evaluating a wide receiver.

Instead, Oslund said elements such as defensive scheme recognition and mental awareness also play into a player's success.

*When watching tape of receivers in college, it is always clear to see who the athletically superior players are. They put up big numbers, make circus catches and seem to just be all-around better than the cornerbacks they are facing. The problem, though, is that they are not really doing anything other than running a simple route and then beating the player in front of them. *

*Sure, sometimes in the NFL all a receiver has to do is beat the player in front of them. The problem, though, is that cornerbacks in the NFL are the best in the world and oftentimes better than what a receiver in college is used to going up against. That is why it is important for them to develop a recognition of what coverage a defense is running and develop a complex route tree versus the one or two routes they might have run in college. *

Oslund also referenced ESPN analyst Merril Hoge's thoughts on a conference call Tuesday in which Hoge said he'd take a slower player who has better route-running skills.

"You can go, 'I run the 4.4 and this guy runs a 4.6.' Do you really know the difference at the finish line of a 40-yard dash between a 4.4 and a 4.6? I mean it's the blink of an eye," Hoge said. "So that's insignificant, especially if you can't run routes. I'll take a guy who runs a 4.6, runs routes, identifies the coverage, gets in and out of breaks and is going to have instincts for me way over a guy who runs a 4.3 and all he can do is run a go route. I will take that. He'll help my offense; he's going to transition better and quicker for me."

Possible positions of need for Vikings

With the draft just over three weeks away, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com took a look at the top five needs for each team.

Zierlein said Minnesota could look to go with a wide receiver, cornerback, offensive tackle, guard or punter in the draft.

Teddy Bridgewater needs to have "his guy" -- a receiver who he clicks with for big plays and who can grow with him throughout his career. Finding that player will likely warrant early round consideration. The Vikings have to improve at cornerback and offensive tackle. Even with the addition of RG Alex Boone, the depth of the interior offensive line can be improved.

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