The 2012 NFL Draft is a mere 11 days from today, and so I figure it's high time to take a stab at another Mock Draft for our favorite football team. The Minnesota Vikings currently have ten selections in the 2012 NFL Draft, and while I think they're going to end up with more than that, I'm not going to project any trades in this one.
Here we go!
Round 1, Pick 3 (#3 overall) - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
This is still the "duh" pick at #3. If the Vikings keep this pick, I really, truly, honestly can't see them going in any other direction. None of the other directions make as much sense as this one. . .if 2012 is going to be devoted to seeing if Christian Ponder is going to be "the man" going forward, you need to do what you can to help him succeed. This pick does that by ensuring that we have a capable protector for his blindside. Kalil appears to be the only tackle in this draft that wouldn't need an internship on the right side before moving to left tackle, and would be an immediate, huge upgrade over what we currently have there.
Round 2, Pick 3 (#35 overall) - Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
No shocks here, as these are the first two picks that I made for the team in the SB Nation Writers' Mock Draft. There are going to be plenty of capable receivers available at this spot, to be sure, but I think Randle offers the most potential upside. He has the ability to stretch the field, as evidenced by his 17+ yard/catch average with bad quarterbacks for the Tigers this year, and I believe he's the youngest receiver in this year's class, so he has plenty of space to grow and develop. Alshon Jeffery might cause a riot if the Vikings take him, and while I like Rutgers' Mohammed Sanu, I don't think he's the potential field-stretcher that Randle is.
The rest of the picks are coming after the jump.
Round 3, Pick 3 (#66 overall) - Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
Hey, LSU was a pretty good football team in 2011. . .what's wrong with taking a bunch of good players from a good football team? Taylor was a very productive safety for LSU despite being surrounded by a lot of other playmakers like Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu. In addition to being productive on the field, here's a little tidbit about him from ESPN's scouting report on him (which is hidden behind their "In$ider" wall):
Voted a permanent team captain in 2011. A new tradition at LSU is the player who best represents what it means to be a Tiger on and off the field wears the No. 18. Head coach Les Miles and players who have worn that number in the past voted that Taylor wear it in 2011. Shared LSU's Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Defensive Player Award with Morris Claiborne in 2011. Winner of LSU's Alvin Roy Award for excellence year-round in strength and conditioning in 2011.
The guy is willing to work his tail off, is highly productive, and plays a position of need for the Vikings. What's not to love?
Round 4, Pick 3 (#98 overall) - Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
I'm not 100% sure about what the Vikings are going to do with their linebacker situation. . .they resigned Erin Henderson to a one-year deal, but big brother E.J. is still on the market. Whatever they do, however, the Vikings need some depth at the linebacker position, and Bradham was a pretty fine player for the Seminoles this season, leading the team in tackles for the third consecutive year. Needs to get a bit stronger, but would serve as a pretty good special teams player early on while he's learning the outside linebacker position.
Round 4, Pick 33 (#128 overall) - Ryan Steed, CB, Furman
A productive small school corner, Steed had 14 interceptions in four seasons at Furman, including four in each of the last three seasons. Also willing to come up and help out in run support. Doesn't have the most top-end speed of any corner you'll find, but he's still a pretty solid player. He'll have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the roster for the Vikings.
Round 4, Pick 39 (#134 overall) - Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami (FL)
Very raw prospect, but he has great size (measuring in at almost 6'5" and 220 pounds) and very good speed. If the Vikings could harness his physical abilities, he could be something special on the outside.
Round 5, Pick 3 (#138 overall) - Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama
Chapman has enough talent to go higher than this, but has a lot of injury concerns. . .he was unable to participate in Alabama's Pro Day because he was recovering from knee surgery, and has had some injury concerns in the past. Not much of a pass rusher, but could provide a good run-stuffing presence in the future.
Round 6, Pick 5 (#175 overall) - Chris Rainey, RB/KR, Florida
An undersized back, Rainey is one of the fastest players in the draft, and the team could use a change of pace option from the power combo of Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. Could also be a very effective kick and punt return option of the Vikings want to take a few things off of Percy Harvin's plate in order to get him more offensive snaps.
Round 7, Pick 3 (#210 overall) - Drake Dunsmore, FB/TE, Northwestern
Dunsmore was mostly a tight end with the Wildcats, but projects to be more of a fullback/h-back type in the NFL. And, as the Vikings have proven this off-season, you can apparently never have too many tight ends, am I right? The fact that he has a name that sounds like he should be moonlighting on The Young and the Restless only helps him, in my opinion.
Round 7, Pick 16 (#223 overall) - Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M
I know. . .I don't much care for the prospect of using a draft pick on a kicker, either. The thing is that Ryan Longwell isn't getting any younger, and as much as we like him, it might be time to start looking for his replacement.
So, what does everyone think of this take on the Vikings' draft?