Since I did the free agency portion of the equation earlier, I figure I'd take a shot at a mock draft here, too. Now, this is just going to be for the Vikings' picks, since I don't have any desire to cobble out an entire first round at this point (although I'm likely going to do one prior to the Combine so that we can all laugh at it as we get through the Combine and Pro Days and stuff).
I'm also not going to project any trades or anything like that, because it's really not feasible at this point. The only thing that I will do is to throw in a couple of the compensatory picks that our draft guru Mark has been projecting. He's been projecting the Vikings getting compensatory picks in the third and seventh rounds and, hey. . .Mark knows way more about this than I do, so if that's what he thinks, that's good enough for me. I'm using the "big board" from the folks at DraftTek to give me an approximation of what players would be available at certain points in the draft, based on what we know right now.
So, with that, here we go.
Round 1, Pick #3 - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The most obvious of obvious picks, the opportunity to get Kalil at the third spot would be just what the Vikings need. Kalil might not be the most polished tackle available in this year's draft, but he does have the most potential, and he's already a hell of a lot better than Charlie Johnson. Franchise-caliber left tackles, much like franchise quarterbacks, are generally not something you're going to find in free agency. . .you need to draft your own, develop them and, hopefully, keep them around for a very long time. If Kalil manages to get past St. Louis at 2, unless the Vikings are absolutely blown away by a trade offer, he should probably be the pick here.
The rest will be after the jump.Round 2, Pick #35 - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Gilmore has very good size for a cornerback (6'1", 195) and seems to be better suited to play in a zone type of scheme than he would be for a man-to-man type of scheme. He had a better junior year than a senior year, but has all the physical tools you would want in a corner. If the Vikings are going to continue to insist on playing their Cover-2 scheme, and if Chris Cook does manage to find his way back to Minnesota next season, he and Gilmore could make a pretty decent tandem.
Round 3, Pick #67 - Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
I know that Mark has been really high on Ta'amu, and I'm not sure if he'll last this long if he blows up at the Combine, but this is right around where DraftTek has him listed, so we'll go with this for now. Ta'amu is a mountain of a man (6'3", 340) who faced a lot of double-teams this year for the Huskies and showed himself to be a very good run stopper while also showing some interior pass rush ability.
Round 3, Compensatory Pick - Kevin Zietler, G, Wisconsin
Have I mentioned that the Vikings' offensive line really, really needs some help? Because they do. If the Vikings take Kalil at the top of their draft, then they'd be able to slide Charlie Johnson to the interior, which would fill out one guard spot. Someone like Zietler would be able to at least compete at the other guard spot with Anthony Herrera (who may or may not stay around, either). Zietler is pretty strong at the point of attack, and has more athletic ability than one might think.
Round 4, Pick #98 - Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
The Vikings should be set at both of the outside linebacker spots, provided that they re-sign free agent Erin Henderson. However, it doesn't appear as though will be back, so there's a hole in the middle there that might need to be filled. Jasper Brinkley should be back next season to claim that spot, but Acho has enough versatility that he could serve as a backup at all of the linebacker spots as he develops.
Round 5, Pick #130 - Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
This is a little above where DraftTek has McNutt, but he seems like someone that would be a decent get at this spot. He has good size for a wide receiver (6'4", 215), and has better speed than you think. Might not see a lot of time early on, but would be a good developmental receiver.
Round 7, Pick #194 - Adonis Thomas, RB,Toledo
I have the Vikings taking a running back late because, seriously, the Lorenzo Booker experiment has to end. With a returning Adrian Peterson and the improving Toby Gerhart, Thomas might not see a lot of action out of the backfield, but he does have some potential as a return man and a decent change-of-pace guy.
Round 7, Pick #195 (from Cleveland in Jayme Mitchell trade) - Winston Guy, S, Kentucky
I'm not your guy, friend! But this could be a guy that helps the Vikings out at safety. He's another guy that I'd be surprised to see drop this far, but this is about where he is on the DraftTek "big board," so there you go. Incidentally, I think this is the pick we're getting from the Mitchell trade. All I know for now is that it's a "late round" pick, so this seems about right.
Never mind the Bullocks, here comes Ryan Longwell's replacement. As much as I've liked Longwell being here since he came to Minnesota, it's getting to be about that time.
Round 7, Compensatory Pick - Chase Ford, TE, Miami
One of those bigger tight ends (6'6", 260) with the ability to create match-up problems. He'd have a struggle to make the roster, but at this point in the draft, you can say that about pretty much everybody, can't you?
So, that's what I've got. Have at it, ladies and gentlemen!