The Minnesota Vikings are searching for a starting middle linebacker with the departure of Jasper Brinkley via free agency. Despite some rumors surrounding Brian Urlacher and some other veterans still available, all indications are they will turn to this month’s draft for help.
It is not a deep group of inside linebackers this year, but it is noteworthy that Kevin Minter is currently the top-ranked player at the position on CBS Sports.com’s prospect rankings. The LSU product had an excellent junior season in 2012, with 130 total tackles (15 tackles for loss) and four sacks on his way to earning First Team All-SEC honors.
Minter is widely being projected to go 32nd overall to the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, but could he be a fit for Minnesota? Let’s take a closer look at his measurements, strengths and weaknesses.
Weight: 246 lbs.
– Shows good anticipation skills and good short area burst to get to the ball
– Competes hard; plays with a high motor
– Shows ability to slip blocks with effort and fluid movement
– Shows good awareness and instincts in pass coverage
– Has a penchant for making game-changing plays
– Is not a consistently explosive hitter
– Does not have elite speed and athleticism; can be beaten to the perimeter
– Is not physical when taking on blockers; struggles to disengage
Minter certainly reaped the benefits of having a lot of talent around him in college, but his good performance against top-level competition during his breakout 2012 season should not be discounted. He could fit into both a 4-3 and 3-4 defensive scheme, and his ability to play solidly in coverage would make him a fit for the Vikings’ base Cover-2 scheme. Taking him with one of their two first-round picks looks unlikely to happen, but if he falls to the second round Minter could be the Vikings’ new middle linebacker in 2013 and possibly for many years to come.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.