Mocking the Process
Round 1 - Full Post
Trade options if the Vikings decided to get into the first round. The three teams that I think may be most likely to make a deal with are the Broncos, Seahawks and Saints.
Round 2 - Full Post
Even after signing two of the top 12 free agent offensive lineman, retaining one of their own and bringing in some other's there isn't much debate, and shouldn't be, that offensive line is still very much in need of improvement. I'm pretty sure I'll mention that for every round of the draft so be prepared.
The higher the pick, the higher the odds of success or at least that's a widely held belief...and usually is right. It's a long shot, but I'm a rube and this is all about everything working out in the Vikings favor. So even though there are some troubling facts about him, I say the Vikings would be best off taking Garrett Bolles from Utah. If not him, then whoever is left or rated above him on their board. It needs to be an offensive line man and it needs to be a hit!
Round 3 - Full Post
As it important as round two is, rounds three and four may be the most fun part of the draft for Vikings fans. Currently sitting at two picks in each round, with a likely hood of trades coming into play, they'll be a very active time period.
The three positions from which the Vikings should make those two picks are cornerback, defensive tackle & offensive line. I've already mentioned the line's weakness but there is also need at corner & d tackle. The loss of Captain Munnerlyn created uncertainty about the slot position. Similarly, the long injury history of Sharrif Floyd and potential ending of his career as a result, means that tackle also could use reinforcement.
While the offensive line group is unfortunately weak this year, as it will be every year because of the style of play at the college level, both corner and defensive tackle can boast great potential and quality depth in the groupings. With that in mind, I'll list out a couple guys who be great additions.
Ahkello Witherspoon (Colorado)
Sydney Jones (Washington)
Desmond King (Iowa)*
I initially was hoping for Kevin King but after the combine his stock has risen above where the Vikings will be selecting, even in the second round. The other guys haven't been as fortunate. Witherspoon is more of an outside corner, which may not be most pressing need for the position but could be more insurance. If I were to wager on it, I'd say that either Jones or King are more likely to be drafted by the Vikings this year.
*Some people think that King will have a longer career as a safety. To some that's a knock, to me that's a plus. He may not have the short area quickness to play in the slot but with the ball skills displayed at Iowa and flexibility to be a safety I think he could be a great addition.
Taylor Moton (Western Michigan)
Dion Dawkins (Temple)
Both guys have tackle/guard flexibility. Moton has the height and weight of a tackle but shorter arms while Dawkins is a tweener that will probably settle in best next to a tackle. Either of the two would likely walk into camp as top back ups on the line with the possibility of becoming starters.
Montravius Adams (Auburn)
Charles Walker (Oklahoma)
It's pretty simple, find someone who can do what Sharrif did when he was on the field, without all the missed games. Walker may have the higher probability of being available at 79 or 86 but Adams has some consistency concerns that could lead to teams passing on him until the third round.
I know that's quite a bit to throw out for only two picks but any of those seven guys would represent a great selection for the Vikings!
Round 4 - Full Post
If those three options were enough or too much then you're going to hate this section. Say d tackle and corner get addresed in the third round, then o line would get pushed into the fourth. That's the only variation that leaves the fourth round picks at four possibilities. If o line and defensive tackle are the selections, then corner would slide down to the fourth round cluster, which would increase it to five possibilities. I'll try to be brief but breaking down that many different groups will make that difficult. For the sake of this exercise, even though it adds length, I'm going with the Vikings addressing the defense with both picks.
Taylor Moton (Western Michigan)
Pat Elfein (Ohio State)
I had Moton as a third round possibility but he could slide into the fourth which would make the Vikings draft class all the stronger. Elfein's value make this a no brainer if he's here this late!
Anthony Walker (Northwestern)
Duke Riley (LSU)
Walker hurt his stock this year after putting on too much weight yet still produced at an adequate level. Not a ringing endorsement but if he can get back to his 2015 self then the Vikings would potentially have their third linebacker of the future. Riley is the opposite story, he only had one year of significant playing time but it was good enough to put him into mid round consideration. With either of them, it would be on the coaches and the players to progress to their full potential.
Daeshon Hall (Texas A&M)
Trey Hendrickson (Florida Atlantic)
Hall has the distinction of playing on the other side from the potential number one overall pick in the draft. He has a lot of the same measurables as Myles Garrett but is raw. Considering the leaps that Hunter has made over the last two years, I'd take someone of the like! It's a similar story with Hendrickson, except he comes from a lower level of competition and isn't quite as physically impressive.
Wayne Gallman (Clemson)
Joe Mixon (Oklahoma)
Samaje Perine (Oklahoma)
James Conner (Pittsburgh)
As a fantasy football player, I'm drooling over the crop of running backs that are coming into the NFL this year. As a Vikings fan & blogger I hope they're able to strike platinum from it.
Some have said that Mixon has the best talent in the entire class. That's high praise for a guy in a group that has multiple guys with HOF talent. I'm not interested in getting into his dirty laundry but there's no way to separate the tumor from the player, so the fourth round is the earliest I would take him.
I'm not sure Gallman would be a drastic upgrade over McKinnon but he may be a capable replacement to either of the M & M's boys.
With the caliber of running back that have come out Oklahoma over the last 10 years, to be the most productive one in the school's history is a giant accomplishment. Perine may be a touch on the slow side but he can produce and, when healthy, could be a great one.
Last but maybe not least, James Conner was the best story from the 2016 college football season. Cancer is no small concern, but everyone knows that. A guy, who while receiving his treatments, also kept himself in condition to play football has a book deal and speaking engagements in his future for a long time. For now though, he's exactly the kind of guy that every roster should want. The fourth round may be high for him but he's the back I'm rooting for most earnestly of any in this class.
If there was a gun to my head I would take Perine because he's the most different from what the Vikings already have but these are a few of the many possibilities!
Round 5 - Full Post
Rounds three & four currently represent the heart of the draft for the Vikings and thus got all that attention. Starting now and for the three remaining rounds it's going to be much less extensive. To that end, I think round five has one most pressing need - the man in the middle.
Going back all the way to the Matt Birk selection the Vikings have been very good at finding centers. It's maybe the least flashy position on the least flashy unit of an NFL team but is also wildly important. The player that I think the Vikings should target in the fifth is Kyle Fuller. In the event that he isn't available, defensive tackle could be the alternative & Ryan Glasgow could be the guy.
Round 6 - Full Post
In round 6 I think the Vikings should go with another offensive tackle. The one I would go with is Brad Seaton from Villanova. Rankings have him going no later then the sixth round and as high as the fourth so if he were available at this point he would be a nice pick up. FCS players always go later then their equivalents from the FBS and thus have that much more to prove. I would welcome adding as many guys as possible who have to prove that they belong and deserve playing time. Seaton could be just that kind of guy.
Round 7 - Full Post
Originally I considered Quarterback or Tight end in the seventh. With the signing of Case Keenum, the positive news about Teddy and still having Taylor Heinicke, quarterback went from low to no on the need list. Similarly, they added a free agent tight end for depth. So those can be addressed after the draft and thus opens up the last round for other options.
Everything's been about the offensive line this offseason and the end of the draft should be no different. The amount of competition they brought in last year didn't work out but the probability of that many injuries and ill fated circumstances happening for another year has to be 5% or lower. But the competition the better, no matter how it all plays out. So to close out draft the Vikings should take the highest rated offensive lineman left.
For today's purposes, I'm thinking that Eric Smith, from the University of Virginia, could be good. He has the size and experience to play tackle spots or either guard spots. That's valuable flexibility to include in the mix.
After the draft
Cameron Johnston (Ohio State)
The Vikings have long employed directional punting so how it's done is just as important as the distance. It's a stretch to ever call punting sexy but 70 yard boomers are the closest thing. Johnston has that kind of leg but it's imperative that the guy they bring in can do more then just boom it
Tyler Rausa (Boise State)
None of the kickers in this years draft have the same strength that Walsh did, but if they did that person would probably get selected. Of the group Rausa has shown excellent accuracy on both field goals and extra points over the duration of his college career and also the ability to hit from 50+ which would be a sneaky nice thing to bring back into the fold!
Because the Vikings have both a kicker and punter under contract it doesn't make sense for them to use any draft picks on those positions but they should still bring in young guys to compete with the ones who are already here.
Dexter Werner (North Dakota State)
There are 23 TE's with draftable grades and a few more listed as undraftable but rookie free agent worthy. Because the Vikings already have four on the roster and have shown a propensity to acquire and cultivate guys with physical potential that are over looked for one reason or another (Think Adam Thielen, Moritz Böhringer, CJ Ham, Marcus Sherels.) a guy the attributes that big Dex has seems like a 90 man roster possibility. The difference between him & those other guys is that they all played football through college and that's an important distinction. Another important distinction is that it's past time for the Vikings to pull theirs heads our of their butts and bring a Bison into the fold. An offensive lineman may make more sense as the first one to get that cred but bringing in someone who may not have a ton of demand as the next played to cultivate for future use, with the measurables he has is a possibility I won't pass on, as much as some may argue with me about it.
Gunner Kiel (Cincinnati)
The stock of players this time of year rise and fall after the various underwear olympics take place. It's a good thing for some and unfortunate for others. Kiel was previously rated as a seventh round selection possibility but has dropped from there. He still has many of the characteristics that lead to him being a top rated player coming out of high school but had a drastically underwhelming career in the Queen City. The Vikings currently have four quarterbacks on the roster but none of them would have any chance of making it to the practice squad. That's a good place to be in when you consider the NFL wide dearth of viable players at the position. It also means that it would be stupid for them to use a pick on one this year but wise to grab a free one to develop on the practice squad for the future. I like GK as the one to fill that.
Khalid Abdullah (James Madison)
For all their talents Jerick McKinnon, Zach Zenner & David Johnson never were so able to dominate Mean Green as thoroughly as Abdullah did in the FCS semi-final in Fargo late last fall. One game on that level probably shouldn't be the basis of an NFL decision but that's exactly what I'm going to do. He trucked people. He out ran people. He just flat out dominated. To get a guy that can do that when the stakes are the highest for pennies on the dollar is an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up.
Receiver was the number position that I just couldn't squeeze into this exercise. I probably should have found a way to make it happen, even with all the other pressing needs that are on the roster board. But since I didn't, I'm going to double down on receivers to be added after the draft.
Mack Hollins (UNC)
The most glaring weakness along the receivers is the lack of a true red zone leaper. Hollins is both unlikely to slip all the way out of the draft and may not be the type of player to go get the ball in the end zone but at an official 6'4" with 4.5 speed he would be like finding gold at the end of a rainbow. How North Carolina keeps getting these guys is a genuine mystery!
Michael Clark (Marshall)
Raising a 6'4" player with a 6'7" one. The difference is that Clark was another college basketball player trying to make the switch. A 6'7" receiver is giant. Almost too big. But just imagine it, Bradford takes the snap from the 30 yard line, scans the field, pumps and then fires it into the end zone toward a leaping giant in the back of the end zone, a la the Greg Lewis miracle. The mere possibility of that great moment happening again is worth a free agent signing!
Ishmael Zamaora (Baylor)
Third and finally, another 6'4" option. A smaller guy may be needed as well but I think a Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Plaxico Burress type is much more of a pressing need. The Baylor offense is always explosive but is a college operation, not necessarily an NFL prep operation. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Zamaora is another option to fill the biggest need at wideout.
I think I've already addressed the line too much so even though the Vikings should bring in at least 4 more prospects after it's done, I'm not going to take up any more space with possibilities.
Smith & Sendejo are the starters and 22 is as good as they get. I would like to see Kearse given at least another year to prove what he may be capable of but I'm not blind to the fact that he may never pan out. Add to that the fact that Exum & Harris have yet to do enough to inspire a lot of confidence and the position would seem to be in need of higher address then an undrafted guy but the second of our presumed starters was undrafted so trying to replicate that is appealing. Multiple guys could be used in an attempt to that end but I'm going to wrap it up with a singular player.
Kai Nacua (BYU)
Another long shot to even be available after Mr. Irrelevant, but the depth of the safety class, in addition to some manageable concerns, may push him all the way out of the draft. From what I can tell he could be a poor man's version of our all pro but wouldn't that make for just the best Safety duo?!? Speed is the most notable problem with his game, which is no small problem but as a center field type player that would be mitigated somewhat. He also showed over the last two years that he has a nose for the football along with the ability to finish on interceptions. He isn't the hitter that Harry is but he could fill the role behind him on the field.
Well that's everything and everyone that I would have on my big board if I were the Vikings but that's just my take on it.
Who do you think should don the royal colors? Which players would you like to see join the future champs?
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