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2011 SBNAZ NFL Mock Draft: Minnesota Vikings Seek Protection For Favre Replacement

Brett Favre is not likely to return to the NFL in 2011 (at least it appears that way this time). Even still, last season when he played, the team just wasn't the same. That's how they went from being a Super Bowl favorite to the 12th pick in the NFL Draft. That seems to be a common theme. The Niners, the Cowboys and the Vikings were preseason picks as championship contenders. Strange that they all ended below .500.

Minnesota has several needs, but they get only one pick in the first round. Scott Howard brings you the pick.

Tyron Smith, OT, USC

Well the Favre era appears to be in the books for the Vikings -- long live Tarvaris Jackson or Joe Webb. OK, neither of those guys is probably the future, so odds are the team will be looking at a QB replacement. That said, going to a guy like Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett is an enormous risk this high in the draft. But what the Vikings can do at 12 is beef up their offensive line to protect whomever that QB of the future may be. That's why with the 12th pick in the 2011 SB Nation Arizona Mock NFL Draft, the Vikings select Tyron Smith, offensive tackle out of USC.

Smith is arguably the best offensive line prospect in the draft and has apparently excelled in workouts and at his pro day. He also projects as a left tackle at the next level which would allow Minnesota to shift incumbent LT Bryant McKinnie to the right side. Looks like more holes are about to open up for Adrian Peterson.

Next up in the draft are the Detroit Lions. Jess Root will bring you the pick. 

Check out the mock draft on the Arizona Cardinals team blog Revenge of the Birds to see who both the community and the writers are projecting. 

2011 SBN AZ Mock Draft recap:

1- Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn (Jess Root)

2- Denver Broncos: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M (Cory Williams)

3- Buffalo Bills: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri (Scott Howard)

4- Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green, WR, Georgia (JR)

5- Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU (CW)

6- Cleveland Browns: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson (SH)

7- San Francisco 49ers: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina (JR)

8- Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn (CW)

9- Dallas Cowboys: Marcell DareusDT, Alabama (SH)

10- Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama (JR)

11- Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska (CW)

12- Minnesota Vikings: Tyron Smith, OT, USC (SH)