2014 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings’ 5 Dark Horse First-Round Targets

5 Dark Horse First-Round Options for the Vikings

Zach Mettenberger
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are facing a huge test with the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. After a disappointing 2013 campaign, the team needs to upgrade the roster and give themselves an opportunity to compete this season. That, however, is easier said than done, but GM Rick Spielman is up to the challenge.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five unexpected first-round options the Vikings might consider when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around.

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Even with the offseason addition of Captain Munnerlyn, the Vikings still need to make an upgrade at the cornerback position. Xavier Rhodes has a promising future as one of the starters in Minnesota, but Munnerlyn is better suited for the nickel. If the Vikings were to target a cornerback early, someone like the tough, physical Dennard could find himself headed for the Twin Cities in the first round.

Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Derek Carr
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Derek Carr
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings are fully expected to target a quarterback at some point during the 2014 NFL Draft. While the top three targets are assumed to be Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel, the Vikings might opt to go in a different direction. They’ve shown significant interest in Carr, who some see as the one of the most underrated passers of this class. If they fall in love, the Vikings could snag Carr at No. 8.

Zack Martin, OT/G, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Martin, OT/G, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While it isn’t their biggest need, the Vikings could use some help at guard heading into the 2014 campaign. They re-signed Charlie Johnson, but shouldn’t settle on him as their starting left guard. If the Vikings drafted Martin – who is a sleeper to slide into the Top 10 – he could immediately slide in at the left guard spot while also giving Minnesota some extra depth at tackle considering his versatility.

C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

One of the Vikings’ biggest weaknesses right now is at middle linebacker, where Michael Mauti, Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole are expected to battle for the starting job. None of the three are exactly ideal options, at least not right now for the two youngsters. Mosley, however, is a fierce leader and competitor who has the polish to step into the starting role from Day 1 and be a difference-maker.

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

Zach Mettenberger
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

Zach Mettenberger
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned earlier, the Vikings could be targeting a quarterback in the first round. While Mettenberger doesn’t seem like the top option, he could become it if either the team falls in love with him during the pre-draft process or there’s an early run on quarterbacks. If that’s the case, the Vikings might be forced to go with their backup plan. Plus, they’ve been rumored to be targeting Mettenberger on Day 2.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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