Vikings predraft roster analysis, Day 3: Defensive backs
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ON THE ROSTER
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.
ONE SCOUT'S TAKE
"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 movethesticks.com
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.
MEL KIPER'S TOP FIVE
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)