Fans of the Minnesota Vikings are pretty familiar with Mike Mayock, as he used to do color commentary for the team's pre-season games (and, quite frankly, it's a damn shame that he doesn't any more). During this portion of the off-season, he plays the same role for the NFL Network that Mel Kiper and his hair play for ESPN. We gave you his early rankings of players in the draft,and he had a conference call the other day, during which he fielded a couple of questions relating to our favorite football team.
The first question involves what most folks (including myself) is the Vikings' greatest position of need.
Q. Vikings have some need at receiver, and that first round pick may be a target to grab one. If you're being realistic of who may be available at 23 and the guy that can be the most stand out, what would be your thought there's?
MAYOCK: I don't think [Cordarrelle] Patterson's going to be there. I think he's too much of a height width speed freak. Keenan Allen is the guy that, if he was there, I think they'd feel very comfortable. He's really tough, catches the football, gets off press. I think it was his brother throwing the football which was difficult for this kid. His numbers could have been better. So where the Vikings are picking, I think that kid's a heck of a value. I like him there Keenan Allen. If he's not there, then you've got to look at a couple of different guys.
Terrance Williams from Baylor. I don't know if they look at Tavon Austin or not. Tavon Austin is a play maker. People want to make the comparison to Percy Harvin. He's 20 pounds lighter than Percy Harvin. To me, he's more like could he be a Wes Welker and a tremendous return guy? I think that's more what the Tavon Austin question is. I don't think there is any real value beyond that. Quinton Patton, Robert Woods, [DeAndre] Hopkins, [Justin] Hunter, I think they're down the line. I don't think you can pick them where the Vikings are. I think it's really those four guys.
The other question that Mayock fielded about the Vikings concerns the other side of the football.
Q. You've talked a lot about the receivers at the end of the first round for the Vikings. I'm wondering if we're looking at an outside linebacker who can cover, inside linebacker who can cover, or maybe a nose tackle in the first few rounds, where do you think they'd be best be served?
MAYOCK: The Vikings are a 4-3 team. So if you're talking about the linebacker position, I think the guys that might be there in the 20s. If you're talking about the first round, I think Khaseem Greene, the outside linebacker from Rutgers makes a ton of sense. He's fit for today's NFL. He runs, he's explosive. He makes plays. Most will have him as a mid to late first round guy. You might be able to get Arthur Brown from Kansas State in the second round. And, boy, he's a guy that makes a ton of sense. He can run, he's a play maker. I like him a lot.
If you're talking about defensive tackles, if any of the top three, Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson was there, I'd jump all over them. I think they'll be gone by the time Minnesota gets on the board at 23. That means Sylvester Williams, Kawann Short and Johnathan Hankins are potential D line tackles. All three of them are gifted and talented kids and would fit what Minnesota does.
It looks like Mayock has an idea of where he would like to see the Vikings go in this year's NFL Draft. What do you think of the players that he's tossed out there in this conference call?