Vik­ings gather no

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - FOOTBALL - By Dave Camp­bell

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Ev­ery few years, the Min­nesota Vik­ings have re­turned to the well in the first round of the NFL draft, seek­ing the type of game-break­ing wide re­ceiver Randy Moss was. Next week­end, they could be back. “If there’s a good one there when we’re ready to pick, then I have no prob­lem tak­ing a wide re­ceiver,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “The more play­mak­ers you get, the bet­ter chance you have of in­creas­ing big plays.” Here are some key an­gles to keep an eye on with the Vik­ings next week­end dur­ing the draft:

PASS-CATCH­ING CAN­DI­DATES: Laquon Tread­well (Mis­sis­sippi), Josh Doct­son (TCU), Will Fuller (Notre Dame), Corey Cole­man (Bay­lor) and Michael Thomas (Ohio State) are the top prospects at wide re­ceiver this year.

Tread­well re­cov­ered from a grue­some left an­kle in­jury in 2014 to lead the SEC with 1,153 yards and 11 touch­downs in 2015. Doct­son recorded a 41-inch ver­ti­cal jump at the NFL scout­ing com­bine, the high­est of the wide re­ceivers and third-best over­all. Fuller ran a 4.32-sec­ond 40-yard dash at the com­bine, the fastest at his po­si­tion of those who par­tic­i­pated and sec­ond over­all. Cole­man won the Bilet­nikoff Award for the country’s most out­stand­ing wide re­ceiver. Thomas might have the most well-rounded skill set of the group.

DOES SIZE AT WIDE RE­CEIVER MAT­TER? Be­cause Diggs (listed at 6- 0, 195) and Wright (listed at 5-10, 191) are the two top re­turn­ing wide re­ceivers, there’s an as­sump­tion the Vik­ings need a big­ger body or two from this draft. Thomas, Tread­well and Doct­son would fit that de­scrip­tion. Cole­man and Fuller are on the smaller side.

Eval­u­a­tion isn’t as sim­ple as as­sess­ing height and weight, though.

“Some guys 5-10 play big­ger than that guy who is 6-2, so that’s where you have to base it off your eval­u­a­tion,” gen­eral man­ager Rick Spiel­man said. “One guy in par­tic­u­lar has longer arms and big­ger hands than a guy who is three inches taller than him, so he plays big­ger. What’s his catch­ing ra­dius? How does he make plays?”

QUEUED UP: The Vik­ings have eight picks, in­clud­ing the No. 23 slot in each of the first five rounds plus the seventh. They have the fifth se­lec­tion of the sixth round, via San Fran­cisco from the trade of line­backer Ger­ald Hodges. They also have the No. 19 pick in the seventh round from Buf­falo for the deal of quar­ter­back Matt Cas­sel.

The Vik­ings traded their orig­i­nal sixth-rounder to San Diego for tackle Jeremiah Sirles.

DEEP D-LINE: Led by Ever­son Grif­fen and Lin­val Joseph, the Vik­ings have a sound de­fen­sive line with ev­ery starter and backup re­turn­ing. This is con­sid­ered a deep pool of rook­ies at the po­si­tion, though, so the Vik­ings might be wise to dip in. “You can never have enough pass rush­ers,” Spiel­man said. THREE YEARS AGO: The Vik­ings had the No. 23 pick in 2013, too, when they se­lected de­fen­sive tackle Shar­rif Floyd out of Florida.

NATI HARNIK / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILES CAR­LOS GON­ZA­LEZ / MIN­NEAPO­LIS STAR TRI­BUNE TONY GU­TIER­REZ / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILES

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