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Vikings May Look To Deal Up In Draft

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West Virginia's Tavon Austin would help the Minnesota passing game. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
West Virginia's Tavon Austin would help the Minnesota passing game. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

It has been reported from multiple sources that the Minnesota Vikings will be looking to make a trade in the first round of the draft Thursday. Currently, the Vikings hold two picks in the first round with the No. 23 and No. 25 overall picks. In the 2012 draft, the Vikings struck gold twice in the first round as they were able to land left tackle Matt Kalil, who adjusted himself very well to the NFL, and safety Harrison Smith. Smith's physical style has helped the Vikings defense.

With two picks again in the first round, Minnesota can move up in the draft — if they find a willing trade partner. The No. 25 pick was obtained in the Percy Harvin trade with Seattle.

The San Diego Chargers have been looking to move down, but only if they can still get the tackle they have their eye on. The question is what will the Vikings do with the pick if they move up?

Minnesota ended the regular season with the second-worst passing attack. Adding a top-notch wideout could drastically change that. With Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, second-year player Jarius Wright and the newly acquired Greg Jennings, Minnesota could add to their growing offense with one of the best receivers in the draft.

Many speculate that the team will try to replace Harvin with a speedster like West Virginia's Tavon Austin or even the explosive Cordarrelle Patterson out of Tenneesee.

Austin is considered one of the the top receivers. He is a gifted playmaker that has drawn comparisons to Harvin, who was traded to Seattle this offseason, or Desean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles. Austin is 5-8, 174 pounds. Speed and elusiveness are his most important assets, which would overshadow his slight stature.

Patterson, on the other hand, stands 6-2, 216 pounds and can move. After watching film on Patterson, it is clear that he has good vision after the catch and uses his big body to cradle the ball, avoiding pass breakups. Patterson has only one season against top college talent, but has shown that he has what it takes to play in the NFL.

Both players are full of potential and will be on more than the just the Vikings draft board.

Another area that many speculate that the Vikings will address is cornerback. The loss of Antoine Winfield leaves the Vikings with lack of depth at the position. 

Winfield was a big piece of what the Vikings did on defense for a long time. Winfield's contribution to stopping the run has been second to none while he was with Minnesota, and replacing Winfield with a player similar should be a priority.

Although it is unlikely that the Vikings will have a chance at Dee Milliner, who is going to be a top-10 pick, the Vikings can take a corner here if they see one that fits. After Milliner, most draft boards have Xavier Rhodes from Florida State listed. Rhodes lacks the zone coverage skills that the Vikings use in their cover-two scheme and isn't a great tackler, but if the Vikings see something in him, they could be making a move for the Seminole. 

With the draft less than a week away speculation is running wild. For all we know this is just a huge smoke screen. If the rumors are true and Minnesota is looking to trade up then more than likely it will be for a wide receiver and not a cornerback. Patterson and Austin make the most sense. 

The Vikings have made some surprises in the past drafts with the selection of Christian Ponder with the 12th-overall pick in 2011. With needs at wide receiver and a young quarterback settling down into the NFL game, the Vikings could be looking to find Ponder's next go-to guy.