About three weeks ago, I did my first ever 7 round mock for the Vikings, or any other team for that matter. I had a little fun with it, taking a lot of Ohio State guys, and that's what I'd probably do in real life, too.
Which is why I should never, ever, be given any kind of authority or responsibility over an NFL roster. But there was a pretty good response from that initial effort, so I'm going to try and be a little more serious this time around. I'm only taking Minnesota Gophers this time around.
I KID, I KID...
What I'm actually going to do, though, is use my free agency plan, first edition, and base my mock off of what I would like the Vikings do in free agency. Namely, grab a WR and LB (or two) that will compete for starting spots right away.
Round 1 (23)
Round 2 (52)
Round 3 (83)
Round 4 (5th pick, from Detroit)
Round 4 (23rd pick)
Round 5 (22nd pick)
Round 6 (21st pick)
Round 7 (7th pick from Arizona)
Round 7 (23rd pick)
So with free agency over, let's say the Vikings have added two wide receivers and one linebacker, along with re-signing Phil Loadholt. With those roster modifications, let's look at a possible Vikings draft.
Round 1 (23 Overall): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue--Having secured at least one (and hopefully two) legitimate WR's in free agency, in my mind the primary need becomes replenishing the interior of the defensive line--Kevin Williams has lost a step, and Fred Evans and Letroy Guion don't really trip my trigger. Short is a 300 pound middle of the line plug that the Vikings have missed since Phat Pat Williams, and a big body in the middle might mean it's time to give Christian Ballard a longer look at the other tackle position, looking for the eventual retirement of Williams. Just a thought.
Round 2 (52): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee--Even though there are new bodies in the WR corps, the Vikings still need an outside playmaker, someone they won't get in free agency. Hunter is tall, fast, and sure handed, but can be a streaky player and has a past ACL injury. I really like his upside here. So does Fearless Leader, and I am nothing if not a shameless panderer.
Round 3 (83): Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A and M--If he's still on the board, the Vikings need to ignore my total OSU homerism instinct about DE John Simon and draft Porter. He might be the best coverage LB in the draft, something the Vikings have been lacking since Ben Leber was let go. But if he's gone, DRAFT JOHN SIMON HERE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO IT DO DOITDOITDOIT.
Round 4 (99, from Detroit): John Simon, DE, Ohio State--What's that? There's a good chance he'll be available right 'chere? Well, okay then. WOOOOOOOO! WOOOOOOOO JOHN SIMON WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Seriously, Simon would be a friggin' steal here, and can be set up to take over for Jared Allen in a year or two. And say what you want, but the Vikings have a pretty good history of taking fourth round defensive ends and turning them into high caliber starters (Brian Robison, Ray Edwards, Everson Griffen).
Round 4 (117): Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State--Antoine WInfield's time is short, and if Josh Robinson is assumed to be his heir apparent, they'll need depth sooner rather than later. McFadden would fit in well in the nickel or dime role.
Round 5 (148): Robert Lester, SS, Alabama--I'm still not sold on Mistral Raymond, and I see Lester as a guy that can come in and compete for the SS job, along with Robert Blanton. If you're not a fan of Josh Robinson and/or A.J. Jefferson, CB is a serious option here as well.
Round 6 (179): Hugh Thornton, G, Illinois--The Vikings have committed to Brandon Fusco, but the jury is still out as to whether or not he can be the long term answer at guard. Thornton is a big dude, and can provide decent depth along the interior line. And if Fusco fails, they'll have a guy ready to compete for a starting job.
Round 7 (197, from Arizona): Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas--This kid has huge potential, and if fully recovered from his knee injury could be a solid third down option, and give the Vikings three quality running backs. This is the kind of late round risk/reward pick Rick Spielman loves to take, so if Davis isn't your cup of tea, look for a similarly situated wide receiver.
Round 7 (213): Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State: Because I just can't help myself, that's why. And because he's a younger, healthier, more talented version of John Carlson. More of a pass catcher than a run blocker, but he has surprising speed and soft hands. Would be a good backup behind Kyle Rudolph, and great value here.
So....what do you think?