Vikings Should Target Pharoh Cooper In NFL Draft With Mike Wallace On His Way Out

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Feb 24, 2016 02:10 PM EST
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South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper
The Minnesota Vikings are expected to move on from wide receiver Mike Wallace this offseason, and could look to target South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper as a potential second or third-round draft prospect. "

The Minnesota Vikings are expected to move on from wide receiver Mike Wallace this offseason, as he struggled to produce in his first season in Minnesota and is a $11.5-million cap hit against the Vikings in 2016. While Wallace may be on his way out the door in Minnesota, its front office should look to target a receiver in the second or third round of the NFL Draft, and South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper could be a fit to replace Wallace in 2016.

The Vikings have plenty of needs to fill this offseason, with offensive tackle being their top priority, but outside of the offensive line the front office is looking to bolster their receiving core and safety position, according to NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein. Cooper could fill an immediate hole with Wallace's departure, and is considered a good option for the Vikings in the second to third round range, according to NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock.

Cooper is listed at 5-foot-11, 207-pounds and recorded 66 receptions for 973 yards and scored eight touchdowns his junior season. The Gamecocks wide out lacks height and length desired by top NFL wide receivers, but can break away from defenders quickly with his burst speed. While Cooper is not the ideal size for an early round wide out, he is compact and has no problem playing through contact and press coverage.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has projected the Vikings to select Arizona wide receiver Calyeb Jones in the third round of his mock draft, as Jones could be another potential wide receiver fit for the Vikings in the third round. It seems unlikely for Minnesota's front office to use a first round pick to fill a receiver position, but don't be surprised if by the end of the third round the Vikings have added another receiver to their roster. If Cooper is available in the third round, he could make an ideal fit in Minnesota and would come at a much cheaper price than keeping Wallace.

The Vikings won the NFC North for the first time since 2009 under head coach Mike Zimmer, and look for the Minnesota's front office to build on the offensive side of the ball in the 2016 NFL Draft, as they look to fill holes on both their offensive line and at wide receiver.

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