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NFL Draft 2011: Vikings Targeting Six Players At Number 12?

Rick Spielman, Minnesota Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel, said in a conference call today that there are six "very good players" that the Vikings would take in a heartbeat with the twelfth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft that will be held on Thursday.

While Spielman did not elaborate on which players the Vikings were looking at specifically. . .because, after all, that would be kind of silly. . .he did say that the Vikings were likely to hold at the twelfth pick or to drop down and attempt to recoup their third-round pick that was squandered in the Randy Moss trade than they would be to sacrifice picks and move higher in the draft.

It is quite possible that the Vikings' need for a quarterback will trump their other positions of need (offensive line, defensive line, and possibly wide receiver, among others) in this weekend's draft, and as the weeks have passed, it has become more difficult to project how many quarterbacks. . .and which ones. . .will be going not just before the Vikings selection in the first round, but also prior to their selection in the second round, which is the forty-third overall selection. Some experts are projecting as many as seven quarterbacks being drafted before the Vikings' second-round selection comes around.

"There's going to be a lot of quarterbacks taken and they're going to be taken early," Spielman said. "We've done a very extensive study and analysis or whatever you want to classify it and every one of these guys has a strength and everyone has a weakness. We're identifying what those strengths are and what those weaknesses are."

The quarterbacks that the Vikings are likely looking at are Texas Christian's Andy Dalton, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, Washington's Jake Locker, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, and Florida State's Christian Ponder, with Iowa's Ricky Stanzi being an outside possibility. With Spielman having all but ruled out trading up, it seems unlikely that either Missouri's Blaine Gabbert or Auburn's Cam Newton will be in play when the Vikings' first pick comes around.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.