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Updated: April 13th, 2010 11:37pm
Vikings predraft roster analysis, Day 3: Defensive backs

Vikings predraft roster analysis, Day 3: Defensive backs

by Tom Pelissero
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Over the past two weeks, Tom Pelissero has broken down the Minnesota Vikings' roster position by position, based on conversations with scouts around the NFL. To read the full series, use the links below.

QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST

Defensive backs.

Cornerbacks: Asher Allen, Cedric Griffin, Benny Sapp, Antoine Winfield, DeAndre Wright.
Safeties: Husain Abdullah, Colt Anderson, Eric Frampton, Tyrell Johnson, Jamarca Sanford, Madieu Williams.

Cornerback arguably is the most glaring need on the roster. Winfield missed six games last season with a foot injury, turns 33 this summer and will make $6.5 million this year. Griffin only will be six months removed from ACL surgery when camp opens and was a weak link even before the injury. According to the independent research firm STATS, opponents threw at Griffin 74 times last season, completing 41 for 590 yards and three touchdowns -- all team highs, although the comparison is skewed because Winfield missed time. Sapp is a scrapper but lacks the physical tools to play every down outside. Allen is a No. 4 guy with upside. Many scouts like Johnson's talent even though his hold on the starting job was tenuous by December, with Sanford seeing action in the regular-season finale. Johnson had to take a big leap in competition from Arkansas State, in essence adding a year to his development. Williams is a traffic cop who is coming up on an important season -- his total compensation jumps from $3.074 million this season to $5.5 million in 2011. Sanford, a seventh-round pick last year, could get a chance to compete but more likely is a special teams guy. Frampton, another special teamer, signed his $1.101 million franchise tender on Monday.

"The one thing that's tough is when you have a team that scores as many points as Minnesota does, inevitably, the ball's going to be in the air a lot more from the opponent. There's a lot of opportunities for people to make plays against you and that kind of sticks in people's minds. But I don't think it's any kind of a dire need (at safety) by any stretch. I kind of believe in Tyrell Johnson -- I just think it's going to take a little time."
-- Former Cleveland and Baltimore scout Daniel Jeremiah of

The Vikings could take a corner as early as the first round and might take more than one, considering there only are five on the roster and no starting-caliber options behind Winfield if Griffin isn't ready. Safety is a position that more likely would be addressed later, if at all, although nothing can be ruled out if a player the Vikings covet is on the board.


Joe Haden, Florida (5-11, 190)
Kareem Jackson (6-0, 193)
Devin McCourty (5-10, 190)
Kyle Wilson (5-10, 186)
Patrick Robinson (5-11, 193)

Eric Berry, Tennessee (5-11, 203)
Earl Thomas, Texas (5-10, 197)
Taylor Mays, Southern Cal (6-3, 235)
Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (6-1, 210)
Nate Allen, South Florida (6-2, 206)

Tight ends.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 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