After reading Mark's article, I was inspired to write a mock up myself (also a diversion from what I should be doing). Much like Mark, I think the Vikings will finish with a draft pick closer to 10th overall than 5th, but I also think that will put them out of contention for top defensive tackles like Star Lotulelei or Johnathan Hankins (possibly). Here's what I came up with:
1. Cal WR Keenan Allen 6'3" 210
Spielman isn't going to stop getting weapons for his QB and I think he knows that even if he signs Simpson AND Harvin to long term deals, he'll need more help. I don't think WR is the biggest priority on the roster (assuming Simpson and Harvin are resigned) but adding a top WR talent to make that duo a trio would help the offense attack the NFC North and the NFL at large.
2. Georgia NT Jonathan Jenkins 6'3" 351
Missing out on Star/Hankins will kind of suck. Jenkins though, is a nice consolation (if you want to call it that). Jenkins has plenty of athleticism to go along with his size and would be just the kind of nose tackle needed to line up next to KWill. In 2011, Jenkins posted 28 total tackles, 6TFL, 3 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 1 FF, and 1 INT. He's already up to 11 tackles and 1 TFL for two games this year. Jenkins has the power to take on double teams and anchor while still making teams pay if they play him one on one.
3. Kansas State LB Arthur Brown 6'1" 231
Brown started his college career as a highly sought after recruit in Miami. After two years, he transferred home to Kansas (State) and stood out after his year on the bench. 101 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT put him on a lot of radars. He is a big run stuffer for the Wildcats, but his size and athleticism could move him to an outside role.
4. Tennessee OG/OT Dallas Thomas 6'5" 310
Thomas started most of his career at left tackle for the Vols with 25 starts in the last two years. Tennessee recruits a highly rated lineman and now Thomas has moved inside to get all the teams best lineman on the field. Thomas's experience at both positions is helpful to the Vikings as Thomas could step in as a "first man up" kind of backup who could replace injuries at OG and OT and maybe outplay Loadholt in due time.
4 (from Detroit) Tennessee CB Prentiss Waggner 6'2" 182
This pick not only satisfies a team need, but also satisfies the Vikings need to draft college teammates. The Vikings secondary is still in development and the more talent that can be added, the better. Waggner has ball skills to go along with his speed and his size gives the Vikes another size advantage on the outside. Prentiss also has starting experience at SS.
5. Arkansas RB Dennis Johnson 5'9" 213
Johnson is a do everything back. He's got speed and power to break long runs, the hands to be dangerous out of the back field, and the return ability thats lacking on special teams. Dennis possesses the skills that would solidify the backfield depth for years.
6. Maryland LB Kenny Tate 6'4" 230
The first of two risky looking late round picks, Tate is risky for his injury history. He is currently coming back from a knee injury suffered after 4 games last year. should he manage a comeback, he was quite the athlete before it. Started out at safety, but was then moved to a hybrid safety/LB "Star" position. He's very physical and has the length/range to be dangerous as a blitzer and in coverage.
6. (From Tennessee) Safety Ray-Ray Armstrong 6'4" 225
Risky Business Part II: Armstrong is a risk for his off field behavior. Suspended and eventually named ineligible by both Miami and the NAIA for his role in the booster scandal while in South Beach. It is too bad (and frankly an injustice) that Armstrong was ruled ineligible for the NAIA for no reason other than he can't play at Miami, but it could lead to a steal late in the draft. Has the speed and size to match up with big TE/WRs down the field and be physical against the run. And while you weren't paying close enough attention, I just drafted two former Hurricanes to go along with the two Volunteers. Just like the real Vikings. SKOL!
7. Indiana DT/NT Larry Black Jr. 6'2" 294
A developmental project for the D-Line, Jr has the frame to add 20-30 more pounds while still being effective along the line. Has a low center of gravity and strength to handle the position, but needs to get better at getting off blocks and handling double teams before prime time.
So there's a few guys to think about as the season unfolds. I really think the Vikings will be looking to spend a majority of picks on the defense, its just going to be a matter of positional need and value meeting up. The interior of the DL needs the most talent infusion making it the most likely to be drafted in the first two rounds. It makes it even more likely they draft one early in that there are very few options though out this upcoming draft at DT/NT. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Spielman grab an offensive weapon early to keep that part of the team from getting too stagnate, complacent, and easy for defenses to attack.
WR - Simpson / Harvin / K.Allen / Wright / Burton / (Childs?)
OT - Kalil / Loadholt / D.Thomas
OG - C.Johnson / Fusco / Schwartz
OC - Sullivan / Fusco
TE - Rudolph / Carlson / Ellison / Reisner
QB - Ponder / Webb / MBT
FB - Felton
RB - AP / Gerhart / D.Johnson
CB - Cook / Robinson / P. Waggner / AJ Jefferson / Burton / (Winfield?)
DE - Allen / Robison / Griffin / D. Reed
DT - K Will / J. Jenkins / Guion / Ballard / Black Jr
LB - Greenway / Brinkley / Henderson / A. Brown / Cole / K. Tate
S - H. Smith / M. Raymond / Blanton / R.R. Armstrong