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What will the Vikings do with the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL Draft?

Minnesota currently holds the No. 12 overall pick with needs on both sides of the ball.

MINNEAPOLIS — It's no secret the Minnesota Vikings will be looking to use Thursday's NFL Draft to bolster a defense that ranked near the bottom of the league a season ago, but will they address it in the first round?

This will be the first draft for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and new head coach Kevin O'Connell as members of the Vikings, so it's a bit of a mystery as to new regime will approach the draft. 

The Vikings currently have the No. 12 overall pick, but is there a big enough playmaker still around at that spot to help transform a defensive unit that ranked 30th? Is there an explosive enough offensive player that could immediately catapult a Vikings offense that ranked 12th a season ago into one of the more unstoppable units in the league? Is there a player worth trading up for or is there a team giving enough equity to swap back with?

The Associated Press highlighted some of the top talents in this year's draft, and KARE 11 has gathered who the Vikings could select. Here's a list of who could be the newest member of the Vikings:

CORNERBACKS

AHMAD GARDNER, 6-FOOT-2, 190 pounds, CINCINNATI

Breakdown: Tall, long-armed and fast. Moves his lanky frame smoothly and plays aggressively at the line of scrimmage. Not a lot of power in his game and he can get grabby, but the corner nicknamed Sauce was the definition of lockdown.

Fact: Did not allow a TD reception in his three-year college career.

Gone by: No. 2 overall is not out of the question.

Credit: AP
LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. runs through drills during LSU Pro Day in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

DEREK STINGLEY JR., 6-FOOT-1, 195 POUNDS, LSU 

Breakdown: Strong man-to-man technique. Plays balanced to mirror receivers. Can get lost in zone coverage and in run support.

Fact: Stingley was an All-American as a freshman but injuries (foot in 2021) and regression by the rest of the defense undercut his next two seasons.

Gone by: Middle of the first and that could be a steal for a player who seemed destined to be top five as a freshman.

TRENT MCDUFFIE, 5-FOOT-10, 193 POUNDS, WASHINGTON

Breakdown: The latest in a recent line of tough and sound Washington cornerbacks. Lacking length, had only two interceptions in 28 career games (26 starts).

Fact: Talented musician can play the ukulele, bass, piano and guitar.

Gone by: First half of the first round.

Credit: AP
Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) stands on the field during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. Clemson won 30-0. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

ANDREW BOOTH JR., 6-FOOT, 194 POUNDS, CLEMSON

Breakdown: Smooth in coverage and physical in run support, but tends to give up plays in front of him when not in press coverage.

Fact: Was penalized just once during his three-year career.

Gone by: Late first round.

KYLER GORDON, 5-FOOT-11, 194 POUNDS, WASHINGTON

Breakdown: Explosive athlete whose instincts and reads need work.

Fact: In a loaded Washington secondary, Gordon didn't stick as a starter until his senior season.

Gone by: If there is a late-first round/early second run on cornerbacks, Gordon will be part of it.

KAIIR ELAM, 6-FOOT-2, 196 POUNDS, FLORIDA

Breakdown: Big and fast, but played sloppily in 2021.

Fact: Father Abram Elam played seven seasons in the NFL. Nephew of Matt Elam, who also played at Florida and in the NFL.

Gone by: Tall corners tend to sneak into the first round.

SAFETY

Credit: AP
FILE - Notre Dame defensive back Kyle Hamilton runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Indianapolis. Kyle Hamilton is a possible pick in the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

KYLE HAMILTON, 6-FOOT-4, 220 POUNDS, NOTRE DAME

Breakdown: Rangy and dynamic athlete who tends to show up in places that offenses don't anticipate. His 40 times (4.59 at the combine) were underwhelming and might limit him in some defenses, but he has a knack for game-changing plays.

Fact: Was limited to seven games in 2021 because of a right knee injury that did not require surgery.

Gone by: Tape says top 10. Stopwatch suggests more like top 25.

INTERIOR LINEMEN

JORDAN DAVIS, 6-FOOT-6, 340 POUNDS, GEORGIA

Breakdown: Massive anchor in the middle of a defense, but with uncommon athleticism and speed (4.78 in the 40 at the combine). Questions about whether he can be the type of pass rusher that makes him a high-snap-count interior lineman.

Fact: All-American who won the Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player and Outland Trophy as the top lineman last season.

Gone by: Middle of the first round.


EDGE RUSHERS

JERMAINE JOHNSON II, 6-FOOT-5, 262 POUNDS, FLORIDA STATE

Breakdown: Plays with power, leverage and great effort, making him effective rushing the passer and against the run. After he only played full time one season, Johnson’s technique and fundamentals are underdeveloped.

Fact: With a fifth year of eligibility, Johnson transferred from Georgia to Florida State in 2021 and became the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year.

Gone by: Maybe he slips out of the top 10.

BOYE MAFE, 6-FOOT-4, 265 POUNDS, MINNESOTA

Breakdown: Has some similarities as a prospect to Walker in that the physical traits stand out, but his game is unrefined.

Fact: Only started 13 games in a four-season career but had 19 1/2 sacks for the Gophers.

Gone by: Early second round.

WIDE RECEIVERS

GARRETT WILSON, 5-FOOT-11, 185 POUNDS, OHIO STATE

Breakdown: Highly skilled at tracking the flight of the ball. Works the sideline adeptly with excellent footwork and has speed and precision to run away from defenders. On the lean side.

Fact: Playing with other star receivers limited his production, but he caught 23 touchdown passes in 33 career games with 19 starts.

Gone by: Could be first receiver off the board.

CHRIS OLAVE, 6-FOOT-1, 188 POUNDS, OHIO STATE

Breakdown: Quickness to win off the line of scrimmage and speed to get separation in the open the field. Like his teammate, Wilson, he lacks power, but he’s hard to cover and catches pretty much everything.

Fact: Set an Ohio State record with 35 touchdown catches.

Gone by: Middle of the first round.

Credit: AP
FILE - Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) scores a touchdown against the Miami during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. Alabama plays Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

JAMESON WILLIAMS, 6-FOOT-1, 180 POUNDS, ALABAMA

Breakdown: Dynamic speed burner who became the top deep threat in the country last season (19.9 yards per catch). Only one season as a starter and it ended with a torn knee ligament in the national championship game.

Fact: Transferred to Alabama from Ohio State, where he played behind Wilson and Olave for two years.

Gone by: The knee injury could keep him on the board until the back half of the first round.


OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

Credit: AP
Iowa offensive lineman Tyler Linderbaum (65) looks to make a block during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois, Nov. 20, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

TYLER LINDERBAUM, CENTER, 6-FOOT-3, 290 POUNDS, IOWA

Breakdown: Timing, consistency, technique, effort and quickness rate about as well as you can for the position. Makes up for what he lacks in size by being a fierce competitor.

Fact: Moved from defensive line to center as a redshirt freshman and then started 35 games over his last three seasons.

Gone by: Late first.

KENYON GREEN. GUARD, 6-FOOT-4, 325 POUNDS, TEXAS A&M

Breakdown: Powerful and versatile lineman who played four different positions in his time with the Aggies. A punishing run blocker who has struggled some with recognition in pass blocking.

Fact: Father was an offensive lineman at Grambling and his mother played volleyball at UCLA.

Gone by: Late first.

   

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