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Updated: April 23rd, 2010 7:57pm
Two days of dealing fills two needs

Two days of dealing fills two needs

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Fearing Houston would pounce first, the Minnesota Vikings tried to trade up even higher for Stanford running back Toby Gerhart before acquiring the 51st overall pick from the Texans.

They also received five to seven "feeling out" calls about moving down themselves before standing pat to take Virginia cornerback Chris Cook at No. 34.

In both cases, the Vikings addressed a significant need on a roster that had few glaring holes entering the NFL Draft.

And that was it on Day 2 for the Vikings, who traded out of Thursday's first round in a deal with Detroit, then sent second- and third-round picks to Houston in the deal that landed Gerhart. Their next pick is in the second (No. 100 overall) in Saturday's fourth round.

The Vikings plan to use Cook as an outside cornerback -- not a nickel or safety -- where he can use his long arms to his advantage in press coverage.

"He has some versatility," Spielman said. "Some teams could look at him as a potential safety. I think we see it as something different than what we have. I mean, he's a 6-2 corner that can run, has vertical jump and very good ball skills, that he can probably get up and play press (coverage). And one of the things is getting on the same page as the coaches -- what specific skill set are you looking for at the position? And then we can go ahead and put those type of players, what they're describing to us."

Spielman said the team "felt very comfortable" selecting Cook after looking into the reasons he was academically ineligible in 2008. The Vikings also dispatched defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to spend extra time with Cook and the Virginia coaching staff and put Cook through a private workout.

Reports on Friday indicated the Vikings had two other cornerbacks higher on their board: Boise State's Kyle Wilson, who went 29th to the New York Jets, and Florida State's Patrick Robinson, who went 32nd to New Orleans after the Vikings traded out of the No. 30 pick.

But Wednesday's signing of veteran cornerback Lito Sheppard provided insurance the Vikings "didn't have to really push or reach or do any of that kind of stuff," coach Brad Childress said. "(Cook) was there and he's got some familiarity and he's a good player."

Thin only days ago, the roster now includes seven cornerbacks, including four veterans with starting experience and their top draft pick.

The Vikings view Gerhart as an inside-zone runner with good hands out of the backfield who also can block, although both Spielman and Childress dismissed the notion Gerhart might be used at fullback.

They were worried enough about the Texans taking Gerhart they "actually called teams before Houston's pick and then kept working down and were able to make the trade with Houston," Spielman said.

Like cornerback after Cedric Griffin tore an ACL in January, halfback became an obvious need for the Vikings when Chester Taylor signed with Chicago last month -- leaving Pro Bowl starter Adrian Peterson without his top backup.

"Chester and him are a little different style of runners," Spielman said. "Toby is a bigger runner. He has excellent in-line quickness for a big back. ... He's a big back that can stand there in pass protection, and I always felt and believed that you have to have two backs in this league, because one back -- regardless of how great that back is -- to take a 16-game pounding, and plus hopefully into the playoffs, it just wears and tears on a body."

Spielman declined to discuss whether the team considered taking Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen at any point in the second round, while Childress said the team was focused on the players they had identified.

"Both those players, we are very excited to get," Spielman said, "and I thought we've helped our roster a lot today."

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.
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