Lito Sheppard visiting Minnesota

Free agent cornerback Lito Sheppard is making his way through the NFC North. After visiting Detroit last week, Sheppard is spending time in Minnesota on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Vikings' need at the position isn't as dire as the Lions', and it's often difficult to discern the intent of visits so close to the draft. Are the Vikings genuinely interested? Or are they trying to cloud the public perception of their likely draft direction? At this time of year, you shouldn't put anything past anyone.

But there are two hooks that make Sheppard at least possibility in Minnesota.

First, the status of incumbent cornerback Cedric Griffin is uncertain as he recovers from January knee surgery. It's not clear if he will be ready to start the season. Nickel back Benny Sapp could step in to replace Griffin, but the Vikings don't have much in the way of veteran depth behind Sapp.

Second, Sheppard spent four years on Philadelphia's roster while current Vikings head coach Brad Childress was an Eagles offensive assistant. Childress values past history with players and has signed, or pursued, a number of ex-Eagles over the years. We'll keep an eye on this one.