Reforms Following the Frenzy
Now that the compensatory picks have been awarded and the combine & free agency have passed it's time to take another look at how the draft could (and I think should) unfold for the Vikings.
But before going into the next iteration of the 2018 mock process, check out the first runs
Round 1: 30th overall
Previous Postulation - Taven Bryan
With the addition of Sheldon Richardson, the two biggest holes on the roster have been resolved. It's only a one year deal so if the team identifies Bryan or one of his fellow DT as the best available player when they go on the clock I wouldn't have any objections. But at this time I think there are more pressing needs that could use a guy with the 30th.
Another swingman for the offensive line could be very useful as a back up but I'm firmly of the opinion that first round picks should be starter level guys. So that could mean targeting a guard or a tackle for the quarterback's defense. Whichever way they lean would directly correlate with what the team does with where Remmers plays in 2018. Considering the late position switch last season I'm thinking they want an upgrade at Tackle. There are only three such players with first round potential. The first will be selected in the top 10 or so picks. The next two are probably better suited as second round guys...or even later depending on how teams want to evaluate combine information.
With all that in mind, I'd say the most likely outcome as things stand today is that they Vikings will trade back to acquire more capital. Both the Browns and the Colts have two picks in the top five of the second round. If either team wants to grab another player at the end of the first round for the fifth year option, those are possible trade partners.
Round 2: 62nd overall
Previous Postulation - Isaiah Wynn
The fortification of the offensive line could continue in the second round and Isaiah Wynn would still make some sense. But since I already dropped words about that possibility before, I'm going to propose an alternative or two for their current second round pick.
Dallas Goedert has had one of the greatest pre draft climbs of any of the eligible players. That could mean that one of the other top tight ends goes lower than anticipated. Rudolph still has a couple quality seasons left in him so drafting his replacement could wait til next year but with Cousins in the mix, adding another offensive weapon would be the way that I would go.
Some may say that wide receiver or running back would be wiser choices but the Vikings haven't hit on a receiver high in the draft since Randy Moss...and Sydney Rice for one season...so I'd rather look elsewhere for a field stretching, red zone type guy.
And even with some of the high enders in this class, going back to back years with a second round running back seems unnecessary...unless another Dalvin Cook level player is available.
So that doesn't exactly pin down a player or even a position that I think they should go but I would lean tight end and definitely would go offense!
Round 3: 94th overall
Previous Postulation - First round talent sliding down the board/Rasheem Green/Dalton Schultz/Martez Carter
I still like the idea of selecting a guy with first round talent but who is still available for basically any reason short of a felony. There's no way to pin down who that may be but that's what I would like to be option number one. Beyond possibility I would love to see Rasheem Green get selected this far down the draft.
Adding a young member to the rotation of the defensive line would be prudent in the short and long terms! With Richardson a possible departure a year from now it would help to ensure as seamless a transition as could be. Admittedly, he's a long shot but with the focus on offense in the first two rounds I can't bring myself to stick with Schultz or Carter as alternatives...even though I would be glad to have them!
Another possibility, albeit as a swing for the fences type move, would be to tab a guy as an upgrade next to the best safety in the NFL. Sendejo has done better than anyone would have expected and I like both Anthony Harris & Jayron Kearse but it's not beyond reason to try to make the back end of the defense even better! As we all know, Smith can do just about anything from his position so finding a compliment doesn't seem like the toughest proposition. But like I said, it would be a home run swing by the team.
Round 5: 167th overall
Previous Postulation - Tanner Lee/Larry Allen Jr.
After signing Cousins and trading for Trevor Siemian, drafting another quarterback seems like a high improbability. The lone exception would be to have someone that's better than Kyle Sloter but the team paid out a significant amount of money for him so I don't see it happening this year.
An offensive lineman like Larry Allen Jr. could still be in play over the late rounds of the draft but with 167 I'd say that defense is more likely and would make more sense. To both add depth and help ease the sting over the loss of a player or players in the future, the fourth selection could be used on another edge rusher, a cornerback or a linebacker. Of all those options my ideal departure would be Anthony Barr so the pick should be a linebacker. Not as a replacement in terms of physical ability but as a guy who can play complimentary ball and be consistent from week to week and year to year. With that in mind and to rectify what I consider to be a long standing gaffe by the leadership, it's time to bring a Bison on board the good ship Minnesota!
Nick Deluca. Those who obsess about Combine info may shout at me for going homer on the pick but I've seen ever game he's played in and he can play! I'll admit that it would maybe be a reach pick but it would be a small step toward making up for the refusal to acquire the services of players from the best Football program in the upper heartland!
Round 6: 204th overall
Previous Postulation - Jester Weah
Unchanged. If Weah is around in the sixth round I think he would be a great play to bring in to compete with Laquon for routes opposite Diggs and Thielen! For the sake of conversation another name that I like for the measureables Marquez Valdes-Scantling (USF). He's a couple inches taller with a slightly longer reach and a half step of extra speed. So it's Weah, MVS or a different receiver, I think the Vikings should address the position in the sixth round!
Round 6: 213th overall
Previous Postulation - NA, compensatory pick
But beyond receiver what would be the most prudent positions to add depth to?
The cornerback position isn't a weakness but there are some question marks within that group. Rhodes is one of the best in the NFL. Waynes made some nice strides this past season. Newman is yet unsigned but if he comes back, would be a rotational guy and mentor for another season. Mackenzie Alexander has to prove that he belongs while Sherels could still serve as the punt returner / spot player on defense. So I think that a sixth round pick could be exactly what is needed in the puzzle of the position. A guy that I would keep an eye on as a challenger for the slot role and also as a returner is Danny Johnson from Southern University. Short in stature, Johnson made plays as a corner and even as a receiver in very limited opportunity. As a roll of the dice, I can't see how it would hurt!
Round 6: 218th overall
Previous Postulation - NA, compensatory pick
To close out the sixth, I think the Vikings should finish the same way they started, with an offensive lineman being added to the pool. There are pros and cons to all selections this late but in particular to OL's it depends on what they would be looking for. If they wanted another possible multi positional guy then someone like K.C. McDermott (Miami) could be of use. If they want someone who they'll lock in at Guard or Tackle than the options would vary. I think that the Guard position is weaker today than is the Tackle group. A guy that I would consider to deepen it up is Rod Taylor (Mississippi). He played Tackle for most of his college days but is on the stockier side so for the pros he would be better suited to slide towards the middle.
Round 7: 225th overall
Previous Postulation - NA, traded from Denver
Last but not least, it would only be right for the Vikings to end with another defensive player. Kemoko Turay (Rutgers) is a little light on the scale but could be the kind of player to develop into a another sack artist down the road. It's not a position of need currently but with Everson getting into his 30's it may be a good time to start looking for his successor...or at least some younger guys who could eat reps to prolong his career!
So that's everything. It's entirely possible that a few more transactions that the team makes will alter the need for some of these moves to be made but one month ahead of the draft this is the direction that I think the Vikings should go with each of their current selections!