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Here's some directions the Vikings can take with the 48th pick

Temple offensive lineman Dion Dawkins speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine March 2 at the Indiana Convention Center. Brian Spurlock / USA TODAY Sports

When the NFL Draft begins selections in Philadelphia April 27, the Minnesota Vikings will sit out the first day and make their first pick at No. 48 overall.

Here is an in-depth look at the team's needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com's experts.

Top five needs

  1. Right guard: Head coach Mike Zimmer said he has four starters he's comfortable with on the offensive line, adding, "We got to figure out the right guard position." The Vikings released Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris, the starters at the position in recent years. Fusco, who rose from late-round pick to earn a lucrative long-term deal a couple years ago, became a major disappointment because of injuries and ineffective play.
  2. Running back: Even after signing Latavius Murray to help fill the hole left by Adrian Peterson's departure, the Vikings are eager to tap into the deep pool of talented, versatile runners available in this year's draft. The Vikings have only shifty, third-down back Jerick McKinnon as a reliable backup at this point. The other running backs on the roster are C.J. Ham, who didn't play as a rookie free agent a year ago, and Bishop Sankey, a third-year pro who played in 29 games for the Titans from 2014-15, but didn't play a game while with the Chiefs a year ago.
  3. Tight end: The Vikings made a strong push to sign Jared Cook, but weren't able to land him. Presumably, they're still on the lookout for help in that area since no other tight end was signed. They have three tight ends under contract, but have only one—Kyle Rudolph—who stands out. David Morgan, mainly a blocking tight end, was drafted in the sixth round a year ago mostly because the team figured it would lose Rhett Ellison in free agency this year, which it did. When he's at full strength, Ellison is a much better, more versatile blocker than the developing Morgan. The other tight end on the roster is Kyle Carter, a practice-squad player who went undrafted out of Penn State a year ago.
  4. Defensive tackle: With Sharrif Floyd's future in doubt and only Linval Joseph signed beyond 2017, the Vikings are looking to bolster their defensive tackle positions. Floyd is battling back from potential nerve damage suffered during knee surgery last September. The Vikings thought he'd only miss about four games, but he ended up missing the final 15 games. An utter lack of durability has dogged Floyd since the Vikings took him in the first round in 2013.
  5. Wide receiver: The Vikings let Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson leave via free agency. They also got only one catch out of 2016 first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell. They aren't giving up on Treadwell, but with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen as the only reliable receiving threats, the team would be wise to keep looking for more targets for Sam Bradford.

Best fit

Dion Dawkins, G, Temple. The Vikings need a right guard and have been burned too many times with the philosophy of drafting Day-3 guards and trying to mold them into serviceable players down the road. They need to invest more into the offensive line, which has been a weakness for too long. No first-round pick and a weak pool of linemen to sift through makes it difficult to bolster the line this year. But the 6-foot-4, 314-pound Dawkins could be a good addition. He's not the top guard available, but he's a physical player with a nasty side that's similar to what the Vikings like about left guard Alex Boone. Dawkins also is experienced, having started 43 games at left tackle. He played guard at the Senior Bowl and has the skill set to move to the right side.

The pick will be ...

• Rob Rang: Dan Feeney, G, Indiana. One of the few positions of concern for the Vikings is at right guard, where Feeney excelled over his career, showing the combination of agility and power to make an immediate impact.

• Dane Brugler: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma. It is anyone's guess where Mixon and his baggage land, but the Vikings have shown interest.

• Pat Kirwan: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State. Kirwan explains this pick in his accompanying video.

• Frank Cooney, IMO: Dion Dawkins, G, Temple. He proved himself capable at tackle in college and looked good at guard in the Senior Bowl. Indiana's Dan Feeney had more college experience at guard, but Dawkins is a tough guy with more upside.

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