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Updated: May 7th, 2014 1:25pm
Zulgad: Unlike last year, Day 2 of the draft should grip Vikings fans

Zulgad: Unlike last year, Day 2 of the draft should grip Vikings fans

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by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com

The Vikings were content to be bystanders on the Friday night of the NFL draft a year ago.

General manager Rick Spielman had pulled off a trade with New England to get back into the first round the previous day in order to grab play-making wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson with the 29th pick.

The Vikings gave the Patriots second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round selections. With the second and third rounds conducted Friday, the Vikings took themselves out of day two of the action and, thus, gave their fans little reason to follow along.

A year later, things figure to be much different.

The two rounds on Friday could go from being easy to ignore to as intriguing as the first 32 selections.

Logic says the Vikings won't take a quarterback with the eighth-overall pick on Thursday. There are too many questions about this quarterback class and after how badly Spielman swung on Christian Ponder in 2011, he has to know that another slip on such an important decision will cost him his job.

That leaves a few scenarios for the Vikings in the first two days of the draft:

1) They don't make any moves, keep the eighth pick and then address the quarterback position in the second or third round. That makes Friday incredibly interesting.

2) Spielman trades back in the opening round, gets two later selections, and tries to grab both a defensive player and a quarterback on Thursday.

3) Spielman again packages his second-day picks and tries to get back into the end of the first round to get a quarterback. The Vikings have the 40th pick of the second round and two (Nos. 72 and 96) in the third.

The thing that makes sense about selecting a quarterback late in the first round is that it would give the Vikings a fifth-year option on that player's contract.

None of the above trade scenarios would come as a surprise given Spielman's penchant for making moves during the draft.  "I love to be active on draft day," he said.

What makes this draft so intriguing is that coming off a 5-10-1 season, the Vikings have so many needs and many of them are on the defensive side of the ball.

Aside from Chad Greenway, there is no sure starter on the roster at linebacker.

The cornerback position is improved with Captain Munnerlyn added in free agency but the Vikings long ago found out you can never have enough good corners.  Also, the Vikings, like every other NFL team, need a quality third corner behind 2013 first-round pick Xavier Rhodes and Munnerlyn because they are in nickel so much.

Despite the fact the Vikings have Sharrif Floyd, another 2013 first-round pick, and free-agent signee Linval Joseph at defensive tackle, Peter King of Sports Illustrated predicted Minnesota would take defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the eighth pick.

There is no chance that new coach Mike Zimmer, the former defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, is going to complain if his new boss goes defense early.

No player the Vikings take on the defensive side of the ball is going to create the buzz that a quarterback will, even if the QB goes on Friday evening.

This is where it will be interesting to see how realistic the media, and fans, will be about the quarterback the Vikings select.  The immediate excitement of the selection will need to be quickly tempered by the fact that whether it's Derek Carr, A.J. McCarron or Aaron Murray, that guy is likely to spend the upcoming season holding a clipboard.

There will be plenty of time for that reality to set in.

Right now, there is far too much intrigue about Spielman's decision making to be preoccupied with how the pieces will be used once they're in place.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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