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NFL Mock Draft 2013: Vikings to add weapon for Christian Ponder?

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Could the Minnesota Vikings add a weapon for Christian Ponder in the 2013 NFL Draft?

USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings made the jump from having a top three pick in last year's draft to making it into the playoffs this past season. They came a long way in a very short amount of time and their early pick paid off in dividends, as Matt Kalil played very well in his role.

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Now, they will have to draft smarter, as they pick in the back-end of the first round, after every non-playoff team and the few that they out-lived in the playoffs, as well.

They've got the No. 23 overall pick in the first round and a few needs, but one popular opinion seems to be adding a wide receiver for Christian Ponder to throw to. Dan Kadar of SB Nation released his latest mock draft on Monday and he has the Vikings doing just that, adding DeAndre Hopkins, the receiver out of Clemson:

The Vikings have a few needs, chief amongst them youth on defense. But a wide receiver like Hopkins could do wonders for Christian Ponder's career. It would also give Minnesota some flexibility with Percy Harvin going forward.

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The Vikings have Harvin on the roster, but there have been plenty of issues with him. Last season, he was unhappy, and seemed to demand a trade, and then the Vikings were somehow unhappy with him. This offseason, it's been more of the same, with reports coming out that both sides either want to part ways or get a long term contract done.

Still, Harvin doesn't entirely fit the bill of a No. 1 receiver, regardless. Hopkins does, and could grow into that role relatively quickly, especially if Ponder makes the next leap in his progress as the Vikings hope. The pick would also seem to fulfill the "best player available" criteria.

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