The Vikings have the 22nd and 25th picks in the first round. They have needs all over the place. You can make a legitimate argument for drafting the best player at ANY position when they’re on the clock…With the possible exception of QB, not because of ability, but money already tied to that position, and the probability that the so-called franchise quarterbacks will be off the board at that point.
Normally I don’t pay any attention to the draft until draft day itself. But this year, with everything going on in the world, and the Vikings with 2 early picks, I have found plenty of time to look into, or hear about some of their potential draft choices. This is the first year in as long as I can remember that I’m guilty of pouring over any mock draft Google has to offer.
Oddly, some of the player possibilities have a previous Vikings connection. From Stephon Diggs’ brother and Jake Reed’s son, to Antoine Winfield’s kid and Randy Moss’ oldest boy.
I will say my top preference is they take Winfield Jr. He’s short, not the fastest, but is always around the ball making plays. Just like his dad, who managed to play 13 years in the NFL (9 for the Vikes) while being called slow and undersized.
I won’t pretend to break it down and know who in the draft field is better than another, position by position. I actually don’t think anybody in the world is any good at that. All you have to do is look at all the first round busts and all the undrafted FA hall-of-famers to see that this whole thing is basically a crap shoot. But I will put out my preferences on what positions the Vikings pick, then hope they get lucky.
- Cornerback/Safety: They obviously don’t need any help at safety with All-Pro Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris, who led the league in interceptions last year, still back there. I included the position in here because there are certain players that might be playing safety right now that could be plugged in anywhere in the defensive backfield and help out. For example, Xavier McKinney from Alabama is listed at safety, but is described as a jack of all trades. If Zimmer thinks he can pick a guy like that, plug him into his defensive scheme, and use him like a hybrid, then I’d love to see him in purple. But cornerback is the big one. They have Mike Hughes. That’s basically it right now. Kris Boyd and Holton Hill are the only others on the roster with any playing experience. And Hill has already been suspended twice. Diggs’ brother Trevon is a corner, Winfield Jr also. Both players are projected to be drafted in the 18-30 range. Both would be interesting additions because of their namesakes. Other than that, I just hope they pick a corner first. And hopefully he works out. Wouldn’t mind if they used picks 22 and 25 on corners.
- Offensive Line: As currently constructed, the line is basically 4 overachieving fighter/grinder types, limited on abilities and 1 undersized, extremely athletic, still raw and learning as he goes type. They basically need to upgrade the O-line in this draft. I have no idea how or if they can. Drafting a tackle would encourage me the most. If it were up to me the only positions I’d draft for the first 1-4 rounds would be defensive backs and offensive lineman.
- Wide Receiver: I’m told this is the deepest position in the draft and I’m just fine waiting till the 2nd-7th rounds to address this ‘need’. I say ‘need’ because the new offense is a run heavy scheme with extra tight end sets. The tight ends Minnesota has are already excellent pass catchers. I’ll be very unhappy if the Vikings use a first round pick on a receiver. It is a position that is the biggest crap shoot. Just look at how many receivers were picked ahead of Michael Thomas (5) a few years back, including the infamous Laquon Treadwell.
- Running Back: I only put this as high as number 4 for two reasons. Cook and Cook. We have no idea if he’ll want a new contract this year or command a new contract next year that the Vikings won’t be able to afford. As good as Cook is, he has shown that he’s injury prone. The zone running attack Kubiak had in place in Denver was notorious for being an offense that could plug in virtually any running back and work. If behind closed doors it has been decided that Cook is not worth paying the big money at that position, it may be wise to add depth behind Mattison, who is a solid back-up at this point.
- Linebacker/Edge Rusher: I’m tired of seeing mock drafts with the Vikings drafting defensive lineman with any of their first few picks. I’d be more understanding of a linebacker/edge rusher. They have two studs in Barr and Kendricks already, and Wilson is a solid third LB, but they have zero depth. The defensive line, even with some losses this offseason, has plenty of system guys they can plug in and be effective right away.