For Patrick Peterson, the long, hypothetical wait is mercifully over. After free-falling out of the top 10, the No. 1 rated cornerback by most analysts finally heard his name called, according to the fans, by the Houston Texans with the 11th overall pick. Now, it's onward to the Minnesota Vikings.
In some fashion this offseason, the Vikings must address the pass rush. After leading the league with 48 sacks in 2009, they posted only 31 sacks in 2010, their lowest total since 2006. In that capacity, there are options available at No. 12, including Missouri defensive end/linebacker Aldon Smith. But the apple of the Vikings' eye here could definitely be North Carolina's Robert Quinn, a stud pass rusher as a sophomore in 2009 who sat out all of the 2010 season for an NCAA violation.
Safety is one of the team's biggest needs, but there's not a safety worthy of the 13th overall pick in this year's draft. They could certainly address the secondary though with Nebraska's Prince Amukamara, the consensus No.2 corner in the draft and one of the highest-rated players available. Chris Cook, the first Viking selected in last year's draft, showed potential in starting five games last year, so a combination of Cook and Amukamara for the future could be appealing to Leslie Frazier, a former cornerback himself.
But the Vikings' biggest need heading into next season is, almost without question, quarterback. After Brett Favre's (likely) final season, the Vikings are in need of a signal-caller to move forward with. Unfortunately, there's probably not a player here worthy of the pick at that position, with Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker already off the board. Nevada's Colin Kaepernick is said to have as much upside as any incoming quarterback, but it would be difficult for the Vikings to pull the trigger on Kaepernick at this spot.
Elsewhere on offense, there are needs at both wide receiver and along the offensive line. Wide receiver, like quarterback, would likely be a reach here. On the line, longtime standout Bryant McKinnie is getting up there in age and the Vikings could look for the Pro Bowler's longterm replacement in a prospect like Tyron Smith from Southern Cal or Anthony Castonzo of Boston College.
As the Vikings look to rebound from a disappointing 6-10 2010 season (one year after advancing to the NFC Championship), what will they do in the first round? The answer is up to you.
No. 1 - Carolina: QB Cam Newton, Auburn
No. 2 - Denver: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
No. 3 - Buffalo: LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
No. 4 - Cincinnati: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
No. 5 - Arizona: WR A.J. Green, Georgia
No. 6 - Cleveland: WR Julio Jones, Alabama
No. 7 - San Francisco: DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
No. 8 - Tennessee: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
No. 9 - Dallas: DE Cameron Jordan, California
No. 10 - Washington: QB Jake Locker, Washington
No. 11 - Houston: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU