Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I'm getting a bit of a late start this evening, but I hope you'll find the wait to be worth it, as I'm presenting to you what the Vikings' draft on Saturday would look like if I was running things. Now, I know there's pretty much zero chance that the draft will actually work out this way, but it's fun to try to predict what you'd like to see happen. Of course, I won't be doing any "trades" in this draft, and I'm only going to be looking at the Beloved Purple. Tomorrow I'll come back with my full first round mock.
So, without any further ado, here's what I'd like to see the Vikings do this weekend.
Round 1, Pick 22 - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Yes, I know that the biggest needs for this team are wide receiver and right tackle. Truth be told, I'm not as enamored with Eben Britton as the Vikings seem to be, and I don't expect Michael Oher to fall to #22. I also don't think any of the wide receivers that could be available at this spot are potentially worth this pick, either. The Vikings probably won't go after Percy Harvin because of his character issues, and Darrius Heyward-Bey just reeks of Troy Williamson to me at this point. There's no guarantee that Heyward-Bey will be around at this spot in any case.
Vontae Davis, on the other hand, may very well be the best cornerback in this year's draft class. He's got more speed than Malcolm Jenkins, and is every bit as good in coverage. He's physical, and likes to get in the faces of receivers at the line of scrimmage. Davis is also an outstanding special teams player, and someone that we could groom for the future in the event that Antoine Winfield's time in Minnesota is shorter than any of us want it to be. I'm very sure that Davis would be no worse than the nickel back in our defense as soon as the ink dried on his rookie contract, and would be a fine addition to the Vikings' defense.
Round 2, Pick 54 - Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State
I like Robiskie a lot, as I detailed in my look at receivers that the Vikings could potentially take a stab at in the second round. He's a big receiver that runs very good routes, and is the kind of rare receiver that could step in right away and have an impact. The Vikings already have a speed guy in Bernard Berrian, and someone like Robiskie could team with Sidney Rice (if Rice can stay healthy) and create a lot of mismatches for opposing defenses to deal with. Honestly, if you're going to send Berrian deep to clear things out, how many groups of DBs could match up with 6'4" Rice, 6'3" Robiskie, and Visanthe Shiancoe running down the seam? Robiskie would give some legitimacy to our pass offense, and though I'm not sure whether or not he'll be around at this pick, the Vikings should jump on him if he is.
Round 3, Pick 86 - Troy Kropog, OT, Tulane
In a perfect world, Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt would end up at this spot, but I'm pretty sure he's not even going to make it out of Round 2. In 2006, the Vikings drafted Ryan Cook, a college center, at tried to jam a square peg into a round hole by playing Cook at right tackle. In a novel move, I have the Vikings selecting a tackle to play right tackle instead. Kropog is a big guy (6'5", 310) with a great deal of athleticism. Though he's bulked up during his time at Tulane. . .he was 265 when he came to the Green Wave as a freshman. . .he has room on his frame to add even more weight if he chooses. This spot might be a bit early to grab Kropog, but with no fourth-round pick to fall back on, the Vikings can get a pretty good OT with this pick here.
Round 5, Pick 158 - Tony Fiammetta, FB, Syracuse
"A fullback," you might say? Yes, a fullback. As great and effective a weapon as the swing pass to Naufahu Tahi is, it was very apparent that the Vikings' offense missed Tony Richardson in 2008. Fiammetta is a similar type of player to Richardson. He was a tight end at Syracuse for much of his career, but was moved to fullback this past season, and his pass-catching abilities make him the most versatile FB in this class. He's seen as sort of an H-Back type, but he's a pretty decent blocker as well. He has some special teams potential as well. All in all, he'd be a decent addition to the roster in the fifth round.
Round 7, Pick 221 (from Washington) - Aaron Brown, RB, Texas Christian
While having the best running back in the National Football League is always nice, his current backup, Chester Taylor, is hitting that vaunted 30-year old mark where running backs start to go downhill a bit. Brown might not see a whole lot of carries at the running back spot right away, but he's somebody that could potentially be developed as time progresses. He also might be able to make an impact right away as a return guy, as he performed quite well in that role for the Horned Frogs.
Round 7, Pick 231 - Thomas Morestad, P, Southern Methodist
Remember that big discussion about Chris Kluwe potentially having to be replaced a while back? Well, this pick would let Mr. Kluwe know that we were serious about that. Now, it's not as though we traded up in the third round to select a punter that's never going to do anything at the NFL level. . .unlike some teams we could mention. . .but taking a flier here on the guy that may have been the nation's best punter in 2008 could be something that pays off. Morestad has a big leg and gets pretty good hang time on his kicks. If he can concentrate on the latter, he could very well find hmself punting for the Vikings on Sundays this year.
And that's what I'd do with Minnesota's six draft picks in this year's draft if I was running the show. What do you folks think? Do I have my priorities out of order? Do you agree, disagree, or otherwise with my selections? Discuss all that and more here, and I'll be back at some point tomorrow with my final 2009 Mock Draft (which will basically serve as my entry for the NFL.com Predict the Pick contest, which you still have time to sign up for by going to NFL.com. Once you sign up, look for the "Daily Norseman Drafters" group and join the fun with the rest of us.
Until then, good night, ladies and gentlemen!