Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Mock

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Once again it is that time of year to spread the good cheer with a Xmas Mock. The Vikings are picking 8th right now with the chance to move up in the draft if some other bad teams win which is unlikely but not impossible. They cannot drop further than 8th so I will just stick with the 8 spot for this mock.

Obviously this season has been a major disappointment on several levels.  The QB position has not worked out like the team and some had hoped.  I am critical of Ponder but have always said he needed all of this year to show what he can do before anyone really could give an opinion of his long term prospects.  I still believed that you could be critical of him at the same time though.  The problem, IMO, has been his inability to stay healthy.  This is the MAJOR problem for me.  If he does not get hurt vs the Browns then the Vikings do not start Cassel vs the Steelers are maybe do not even sign Jash Freeman.  But he returns though and is given the job again so they can see what he can do and lo and behold, he gets hurt again.  Enough is enough.  Same with Chris Cook too.  A dude has to be available otherwise he is has to be considered unreliable.

I thought that the offense should have been the strongest unit on this team to start the season.  They had little turnover compared to the defense and some would say actually upgraded at the WR spot.  All they really needed was for Ponder to start the year as he finished last year vs Green Bay.  But he did not.  He started off with 10 turnovers in the first 3 games.  The defense was going to need time with several new people in different starting spots.  No way that anyone could have known how they would do let alone expect them to do well.  Then once Smith went out it went to hell in a hand basket real quick.  Plus, even the other average starters in the secondary went down.  The injury bug really hit the defense hard. 

But we got to look at some players in the depth positions.  I think they have held up well.  Audie Cole is a new hero to many but I still have serious doubts.  Sendejo has done decently but I would not want to start him an entire season yet.  I think the rest (like Sherels and Blanton) are OK in spot duty.  You really do not want to rely on them for long.  Not yet.  Maybe not ever?  But at least we see that the depth is improving over the likes of Vinny Ciurcui, Eric Frampton, etc.  That is a step in the right direction.  We also have Mauti and Hodges who could ascend to starting positions.  I need to see them play against an offense first though.  Seems like they too have been anointed and have not shown anything yet.

It is just disappointing is all.  I do not really care to blame one unit or the other.  If you want to go with the defense then that is your prerogative.

Now, as far as the mock and off season is concerned, I think defense should be upgraded via free agency.  I do not have any expectations of several rookies next year starting and doing well.  I think this team needs to spend freely but wisely in free agency upgrading the defense.

My first priority would be going hard after a corner.  My first choice would be Alterraun Verner (as is everyone else) but I think the Titans will figure out a way to keep him and other teams will throw the big big bucks at him.  I would rather go after Dominique Rogers-Cromartie or Aqib Talib or Vontae Davis.  Next I would look at guard.  I like Jon Asamoah from the Chiefs.  I think he could possibly step in at left guard.  Next I would look at defensive tackle.  I like Linval Joseph.  I like Wesley Woodyard or Donald Butler at LB.  I would love to sign a DE like Greg Hardy or Michael Johnson but I think they want top dollar and they may not do as well here.  So I would just do what it takes to resign Everson Griffen and then sign a player for depth as well as draft a player (possibly).

So let's say in this Xmas mock the Vikings get the presents they want and sign Dominique Rogers-Cromartie CB, Jon Asamoah OG, Linval Joseph DT, and Jarius Byrd S.  That would be fantastic!

That would give a starting CB duo of Rhodes and Rogers-Cromartie, a safety duo of Smith and Byrd, a defensive tackle duo of Floyd and Joseph, and a guard duo of Fusco and Asamoah. 

I know some people do not think highly of Fusco (and I was one of them at the start of the season) but he has made the profootballfocus 2014 All Pro team as a backup.  Sullivan did too.  Loadholt made it as a starter.  I think Fusco could be well on his way to be a pretty good guard plus he can always slide into the center spot as he played there at Slippery Rock.  I think we only need one guard. 

https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2013/12/24/pff-pro-bowl-team-2014/

Now what about current players that are under contract that I would want to jettison.  Greenway, Guion, and Carlson (injury) would be cut.  I would also not try to resign Cook or Charlie Johnson.  I am not a fan of trying to determine if the depth positions should get cut or not but I would bring in competition and let them battle it out.

I would want to retain Griffen.  I think at LB I would want to go with Cole, Henderson, Hodges, and Mauti to start.


So heading into the draft I would not need to do anything besides try to get that QBOTF.  I would have addressed the defense besides at LB and would obviously add more depth too.

Now what would a mock be without some trades? A boring one that is what!  But what do the Vikings have that other teams would possibly want?  I can only think of one player who would generate interest and could garner a very good pick.  Yes, that's right.  Adrian Peterson is the only player the Vikings have that I think other teams would want and would be willing to give up a high draft pick or two.  There is no chance Greenway can be traded with his salary and at his age. 

My first trade would be to do my best to get all I can for Adrian Peterson. Yes.  That is right.  I do not see the team going far with or without him the next two years.  Also, and more importantly to me, his contract is going to be very high after 2015 (14.75 mil) and he will be 31 years old to start the 2016 season.  Now he could continue to dominate as he has in the past.  I would not bet against him continuing to be great.  But for the Vikings, I just do not think they should use the cap space on such a great player.  I think they can survive with a running back by committee approach and evolve the offense into more of a passing offense.

I know the argument about putting fannies in the seats and all that jazz but I really do not care.  I think the fans with season seats will continue to show up.  That is why they bought seats.  If they choose not to go to a game (or more) then they can sell those tickets.  I doubt they would give up those season seats.  I believe there will be new stars (CP84 comes to mind) that fans want to come see too.

My thinking is if they draft a young QB then they will get him going either his first year or second.  I would probably let Cassel start next year until it was time to play the rookie.  I maybe even would let Ponder have some starts next year too once Cassel floundered which is sure to happen.  The reason why I would do that is just to keep the rookie on the bench.

So if I did trade AP then I would need to resign Toby Gerhart and then look for an additional back too.  Maybe a Donald Brown, Rashad Jennings, or James Starks to go with Toby?  I would also draft a RB or two as well.

What kind of package and what team would be interested?  Well you know right off the bat that Dallas would be interested.  I found this article here ... 

http://www.profootballcentral.com/2013/10/25/argument-in-favor-of-the-minnesota-vikings-dealing-adrian-peterson/

There are some interesting trades all of which I think are going to be too much compensation.

I like these 3 packages ....

Trade 1.  The Vikings trade Adrian Peterson to the Dallas Cowboys for their 2014 1st round pick, Demarco Murray, and a 2015 3rd round pick.

Trade 2.  The Vikings trade Adrian Peterson to the New England Patriots for their 2014 1st round pick, Steven Ridley, and a 2015 3rd round pick.

Trade 3. The Vikings trade Adrian Peterson to the Cincinnati Bengals for their 2014 1st round pick, Margus Hunt, and their 2015 2nd round pick.

I think all of these teams would immediately redo AP's contract.  They would give him probably 20 to 25 mil guaranteed (he has zero now).  They are also teams with whom he probably would be willing to redo his deal.

I think I like the Dallas trade most of all.  It makes the most sense and he already stated he always had thought of playing there (not that he wants to).  I do not think the Cowboys will beat the Eagles this week and will miss the playoffs.  There pick should be in the 17 to 20 range.  I am going to go with #18 for this mock.

Onto the draft.  I am going to use walterfootball's latest mock  (as of today 12/25) as a guide ...  http://walterfootball.com/draft2014.php

With the trade the Vikings will have these picks ... 8,18,40,72,94,104,136,168,200

8. Derek Carr  QB  Fresno State  rSr  6-3  215

Obviously the Vikings need to get a QB and waiting for one until later is not a good idea.  Reaching is also not a good idea but Carr is ranked fairly close to #8 right now.  I think he has all the tools you want in a QB and obviously needs some work.  But what QB doesn't?  I love his arm most of all.

http://withthefirstpick.com/2013/11/04/2014-nfl-draft-scouting-report-derek-carr-qb-fresno-state/

http://insideedgesports.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/derek-carr-scouting-report/
http://factoryofsadness.sportsblog.com/posts/217258/201_nfl_draft_qb_scouting.html
http://profootballspot.com/_/nfl-draft/scouting-reports/qb/derek-carr-qb-fresno-state-r1564

18. C.J. Mosley ILB  Alabama  Sr  6-2  232

So this is what the Vikings get in a trade for AP.  Mosley and Murray plus a 3rd.  Is that enough?  Not too many but considering AP's age and salary it is a pretty good deal to me.  Add in the fact I had the Vikings cutting Greenway and now you have another LB to add to the mix.  This one should start too.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/11/cj_mosley_perfect_linebacker_p.html
http://fansided.com/2013/11/20/nfl-draft-2014-alabamas-cj-mosley-shooting-draft-boards/


Trade!  The Vikings trade the #40 pick and the #104 pick to the Redskins for the #34 pick.
I think the Redskins will be looking to get extra picks.

34.  Stephon Tuitt  DE  Notre Dame  Jr  6-6  312

I like Tuitt and think he will be a fine addition to the defensive line.  I think he can play the base DE and also slide into DT too.

http://profootballspot.com/_/nfl-draft/scouting-reports/dt/stephon-tuitt-dt-notre-dame-r1235

72. Bradley Roby  CB  Ohio State  rJr  5-11  192

I like Roby.  He is physical and fast.  I think he would be a very good prospect to add to the secondary.

http://standingosports.com/main/2013/11/23/scouting-report-ohio-state-cb-bradley-roby/
http://edraft.com/nfl/news/2014-nfl-draft-bradley-roby-scouting-report/

Trade!  The Vikings trade the their 2015 third round pick to the 49ers for the and the #92 pick and #219 pick.
The 49ers love to get future picks and they also have four 7th round picks.  They already have two 3rd round picks this year so trading one may be something in which they are in interested.  They are in this mock.  :)

92.  Will Sutton  DT  Arizona State  rSr  6-0  305

For some reason Sutton has been dropping in the eyes of draft scouts.  Walter does not even have him in his first 3 rounds.  That is crazy!  Sutton was too good his junior year.  He added 20 lbs for his senior season which may have hindered him a bit.  I expect he may be asked to drop 5 or 10 lbs or that he may redistribute that weight a bit.  His 13 sacks his junior season were no fluke.  I thought about Da'Quan Jones here but he is almost the same as Linval Joseph so that would have been overkill a bit.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/futures/2013/futures-arizona-state-dt-will-sutton

94. Jack Mewhort  OT  Ohio State  rSr  6-6  308

Mewhort has played very well for Ohio State.  He has played left tackle, left guard, and right guard.  Just the kind of player to groom to one day take over for Loadholt or even play right guard if Fusco fizzles.  I would hope he could be a better rotational backup player than Berger or Johnson.

http://withthefirstpick.com/2013/10/18/2014-nfl-draft-scouting-report-jack-mewhort-ot-ohio-state/

136. Marion Grice  RB  Arizona State  Sr  6-0  207

Grice is a very good runner and receiver.  He would fit well with the Vikings.  He has 50 receptions this year out of the backfield and looks like a very good 3rd down back candidate.  After this pick I should rename this to the "discount double-check" draft, no?  I wonder if Spielman likes to double down?

http://withthefirstpick.com/2013/10/05/2014-nfl-draft-scouting-report-marion-grice-rb-arizona-state/

168. Antone Exum  CB  Virginia Tech  rSr  6-0  220

Exum hurt his knee and then his ankle.  He has only played in three games this year but before that was thought to be a potential 2nd round pick.  He played safety and corner at Virginia Tech so he should be able to help all over the secondary.  I think the team needs to continue to add talented players and a guy like Exum with an injury history is someone they may want to take a flyer on if he checks out medically.

http://edraft.com/nfl/news/2014-nfl-draft-antone-exum-scouting-report/

200. Colt Lyerla  TE  Oregon  Jr  6-5  250

Lyerla got arrested for cocaine possession.  But if he ends up getting cleared of this charge then he is a heck of an athlete.  6'5 250 running a 4.5 (reportedly) is tough to overlook.  With Carlson going down he could be worth the risk.  Or not.  He is today though.  :)

http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2013/07/scouting-report-te-colt-lyerla-oregon.html
http://walterfootball.com/scoutingreport2014clyerla.php
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000269364/article/former-oregon-te-colt-lyerla-poses-dilemma-for-nfl-teams

219. Eric Ward  WR  Texas Tech  rSr  5-11  205

I like Ward.  He is a good WR and a good kid.  He is already working on his masters so he has good character. 

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664758/eric-ward

Just so everyone does not send me a lump of coal, I will do an alternate mock without the trade ....

8.  Derek Carr  QB  Fresno State  rSr  6-3  215
Trade!  The Vikings trade the #40 pick and the #104 pick to the Redskins for the #34 pick. 
34.  Stephon Tuitt  DE  Notre Dame  Jr  6-6  312
72. Bradley Roby  CB  Ohio State  rJr  5-11  192
94.  Will Sutton  DT  Arizona State  rSr  6-0  305
136. Lamin Barrow  ILB  LSU  rSr  6-1  232
168. Tyler Gaffney  RB  Stanford  rSr  6-0  226
200. Tyler Starr  OLB  South Dakota  Sr  6-4  248


Well. there it is.  Another crazy, stupid (especially with the AP trade), Christmas Mock!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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