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Washington Post: Vikings Rank 14th in Draft Value Since 1996

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The Washington Post released an*in-depth breakdown of each NFL team's draft value *and where they rank among the league since 1996. The Vikings were ranked 14th.

Minnesota has had an average draft position of 17th, and the summary said the Vikings have been more successful than the NFL average over the past decade. The authors determined Minnesota's best draft pick to be defensive tackle Kevin Williams, selected ninth overall in 2003.

Tim Meko, Denise Lu, Bonnie Berkowitz and Lazaro Gamio contributed to the piece, and they explained the breakdown:

This piece uses a metric called draft value, created by the math gurus at Pro-Football-Reference.com. It weighs factors such as games started, individual stats, team performance and all-pro honors.

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This measure isn't perfect. Playoffs aren't included, for instance, and some skills don't show up in statistics. Longevity counts, so newer players don't have high numbers yet. But if you combine the values of all players a team chooses, you get a snapshot of whether that teams drafts well or … not so much.

In addition to Williams, the Vikings' most valuable first-round picks were identified (in order) as Adrian Peterson (2007), Daunte Culpepper (1999) and Randy Moss (1998). Coming in next on the list was former center Matt Birk, who wasn't drafted until the sixth round in 1998.

Ranking first in the league, according to the breakdown, are the Pittsburgh Steelers, followed by the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers in second and third place, respectively. The first six teams have all made Super Bowl appearances. Interestingly, however, the Jacksonville Jaguars – who have not had a winning record since the 2007 season – came in seventh on the list.

Coming in last were the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns.

With longevity being a component to the calculation, it will be interesting to see how the breakdown and rankings change over the next few years, especially since the Vikings have retained eight first-round selections since the 2012 draft.

This story was visually driven and includes a number of interesting illustrations of the breakdown – we encourage you to*go take a look. *

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Might Vikings draft for depth at DT?

In his weekly Twitter mailbag, ESPN's Ben Goessling fielded fan questions Thursday in a one-week countdown to the 2016 draft.

The Vikings defensive line unit played well in 2015 and seems like a lower priority heading into the draft, but Goessling said he wouldn't be surprised to see Minnesota build some depth at defensive tackle, especially in a talented draft class.

*You can make a strong argument for the Vikings adding a defensive tackle somewhere in the first four rounds of this draft. Linval Joseph is mostly recovered from turf toe, but Shamar Stephen is returning from a knee injury. Sharrif Floyd missed time with knee and ankle injuries last year, and Tom Johnson will be 32 before the start of the season. *

Goessling speculated if the Vikings would consider taking a defensive tackle in the first round if Baylor's Andrew Billings fell to them with the No. 23 pick. He wrote:

It's certainly not their biggest need, but I've been impressed with what I've seen of Billings on tape. He's a powerful man who moves surprisingly well for his size, has fast hands and gets into the backfield with regularity. It wouldn't hurt the Vikings to address the position, and Billings could be a name worth keeping in mind if the Vikings decide to go against the conventional wisdom that has them taking a receiver in the first round.

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Will Vikings draft a cornerback in 2016?

As part of a positional analysis series, John Holler of Viking Update took a closer look at the Vikings current cornerback situation and also some cornerback prospects in this year's draft.

The Vikings have used a first-round pick here twice in the last three years – taking [Xavier] Rhodes in 2013 and [Trae] Waynes last year. With the combination of young talent and veterans like [Terence] Newman and [Captain] Munnerlyn, the Vikings seem pretty well stocked at the position. Compounding matters is that, if they keep [Marcus] Sherels, they will already have five cornerback spots taken. This is a deep class so it wouldn't be out of the question to see a cornerback taken relatively early in the draft, but the first round would seem like a stretch to project given their recent investment in the position.

Holler said the 2016 class is one of the deepest cornerback pools the draft has offered teams in a while.

A case can be made that five or six cornerbacks will come off the board on opening night and just as many following them in the early part of Day 2. This is a deep class that will produce prospects throughout the draft and every round will likely include a handful of cornerbacks being selected, with many of them being good enough to have a legitimate chance of making a roster and 10 or more having the expectation of becoming starters sooner than later.

Holler said Jalen Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves and Eli Apple are the top three cornerbacks and predicted them to be off the board in the first round.

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