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NFL Minnesota Vikings

2014 NFL Draft: 5 Names Minnesota Vikings Fans Need to Know

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2014 NFL Draft: 5 Names Minnesota Vikings Fans Need to Know

Christian Ponder Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After making the playoffs in 2012, the Minnesota Vikings finished the 2013 season a disappointing 5-10-1. GM Rick Spielman and new head coach Mike Zimmer will look to the 2014 NFL Draft to help address several areas of need on the Vikings' roster. These areas include offensive line, linebacker, safety and most importantly, quarterback. Here are five prospects who Minnesota fans should get to know before the draft.

5. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Blake Bortles Central Florida
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Blake Bortles Central Florida
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It is obvious that neither Christian Ponder nor Matt Cassel is the long-term solution at quarterback in Minnesota. With the eighth overall pick in the draft, the Vikings could select Blake Bortles as their new franchise quarterback. Bortles has above-average arm strength and good accuracy to go along with prototypical size. He has the potential to be a very good starter in the NFL.

4. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Alabama
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

4. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Alabama
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings were one of the worst defenses against the pass last season, allowing an NFL-worst 37 passing touchdowns. Minnesota would go a long way in fixing this weakness by drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first-round. Clinton-Dix is a big-hitting safety who is also strong in pass coverage. If the Vikings don't select a quarterback with their first pick, Clinton-Dix would be a great choice to pair with Harrison Smith at safety.

3. Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

Cyril Richardson Baylor
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

3. Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

Cyril Richardson Baylor
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings re-signed veteran guard Charlie Johnson this offseason, but he would be better suited in a backup role for Minnesota. Cyril Richardson is a player who the Vikings could take in the second or third round. Richardson is 6-foot-5 and 329 pounds. He uses his size effectively in the run game, but has also shown the foot speed to hold his own as a pass blocker. Richardson would represent an immediate upgrade at the guard position.

2. Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State

Telvin Smith Florida State
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

2. Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State

Telvin Smith Florida State
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings lack playmakers at the linebacker position. Currently, Gerald Hodges is the projected starter for the VIkings at weakside linebacker. The Vikings could upgrade this position by drafting linebacker Telvin Smith. Smith is an athletic linebacker who flies around the field creating havoc. He needs to improve as a run defender, but his potential would be too much for Minnesota to pass on in the third round.

1. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

Ka'Deem Carey Arizona
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

Ka'Deem Carey Arizona
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota lost Toby Gerhart to Jacksonville this offseason. The move leaves the Vikings with a need at backup running back in the draft. One player the Vikings could take in the fourth or fifth round of the draft is Ka'Deem Carey. Carey put up video game numbers at Arizona, rushing for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior. Carey is also solid in pass protection, a skill that would allow him to play right away for the Vikings.