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Updated: April 22nd, 2013 9:22pm
Vikings by position: Signing Greg Jennings alone didn't fix WR depth

Vikings by position: Signing Greg Jennings alone didn't fix WR depth

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Editor's note: Each day until the NFL Draft begins on Thursday night, Tom Pelissero is breaking down the Minnesota Vikings' roster by position, based on observations of games and practice, tape studies and interviews with NFL coaches and scouts.

Day 6

Receivers.

On the roster (6)

Stephen Burton, Greg Childs, Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Chris Summers, Jarius Wright.

Departures (2)

Percy Harvin (traded to Seattle), Michael Jenkins (released, signed with New England).

Unsigned (1)

Devin Aromashodu.

Breakdown

The Vikings outbid Green Bay to land Jennings (5-11, 198 pounds), who got $17.8 million in guarantees on the five-year, $45 million contract he signed after seven seasons with the Packers. He's an excellent route runner with the versatility to move inside and out, likely starting at the flanker position previously occupied by Harvin. If the season began now, Simpson (6-2, 190) would remain the starting split end despite underwhelming production in the face of persistent back problems last season. He got a $2.1 million on a one-year deal that included a $500,000 bonus -- the premium for ensuring the Vikings had one veteran with knowledge of the system. They passed Simpson on his physical and will give him one more shot to show he can be the vertical threat they need. Wright (5-10, 180) brings speed, too, but he's still learning to run NFL routes and probably is more of a situational No. 4 receiver at this stage. Burton (6-1, 221) is a solid blocker whose size/height/weight combination have yet to translate to production in the passing game. Summers (6-5, 213) has rare physical traits and impressed enough last season on the practice squad the Vikings contemplated promoting him to the 53-man roster. Childs (6-3, 217) sat out his rookie season after tearing both his patellar tendons in a training camp fall. He has said he intends to play in 2013, but it's tough to count on anything from him, since last time he suffered the injury in one knee and needed 18 months to feel like himself again.

Draft outlook

Receiver ranks among the Vikings' most pressing needs, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them draft more than one for a second consecutive year. There even have been rumblings about the Vikings trading up to nab West Virginia slot man Tavon Austin, who seems to be the only consensus first-round draft pick in the class. However, the smart money says they'll wait until they go on the board at Nos. 23 and 25 or maybe until Round 2 and take the best outside receiver available. There is a lot of talent there -- just not a lot of sure things. Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter, California's Keenan Allen, Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins and Southern California's Robert Woods all could be possibilities. The Vikings figure to be typically active in rookie free agency, too, ending up with around a dozen receivers on the 90-man camp roster as they do every year.

Last 10 drafts

• 2012: Wright (fourth round, 118th); Childs (fourth, 134th).
• 2011: Burton (seventh, 236th).
• 2010: None.
• 2009: Harvin (first, 22nd).
• 2008: Jaymar Johnson (sixth, 193rd).
• 2007: Sidney Rice (second, 44th); Aundrae Allison (fifth, 146th); Chandler Williams (seventh, 233rd).
• 2006: None.
• 2005: Troy Williamson (first, seventh).
• 2004: None.
• 2003: Nate Burleson (third, 71st); Keenan Howry (seventh, 221st).

Linked in

Allen and Hopkins made official visits at the Vikings' Top 30 event. The team also reportedly spent extra time with Woods after his campus workout and has shown strong interest in Austin.

High fives

Mel Kiper, ESPN: 1. Austin; 2. Patterson; 3. Hunter; 4. Allen; 5. Woods.

Mike Mayock, NFL Network: 1. Austin; 2. Patterson; 3. Hunter; 4. Allen; t-5. Hopkins; t-5. Woods.

Up next

Tight ends.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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