With the Draft coming upon us just 53 days away, I decided to make a Big Board, for the Vikings to follow when drafting. This is Ranking the top 30 players, according to the Vikings point of view. Therefore top Tackles such as Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will not be in the top 5. So, with that being said, here we go.
1a- Leon Sandcastle- Cornerback-???
Leon Sandcastle shocked the world at the combine when he ran a blistering 40 time that would put Usain Bolt to shame. An other-worldly combine vaulted him to the top of everyone's draft boards. He would instantly fortify the Vikings secondary. With rumors that he can return kicks as well, we can only imagine the possibilities with the one and only Leon Sandcastle.
1b- Chance Warmack- Guard- Alabama
The Vikings top need isn't Guard, but a All-Pro guard like Chance Warmack would instantly give us one of the top 3 offensive lines in the NFL. A left side with Kalil, Warmack, and Sullivan would be unstoppable.
2- Star Lotulelei- Defensive Tackle- Utah
Defensive Tackle is a big need for the Vikings. Star Lotulelei dropped a little in projections due to heart issues at the combine, but in my opinion is still the best defensive tackle in the draft. Star Lotulelei would be an interior force on the D-Line for many years to come.
3- Dee Milliner - Cornerback- Alabama
Dee Milliner is a extremely talented Corner that would be an instant starter for the Vikings. I am against the Vikings using their first round pick on a Corner-Back, but if Dee Milliner was available the Vikings would be fools to pass up on a Corner this talented. This pick would solidify our secondary, and prepare our team for the eventual departure of Antoine Winfield. There is no Cornerback who can challenge him for the spot as the top Corner so if he isn't available, (99% chance) the Vikings would be wise to address a different position in the first round.
4- Shariff Floyd- Defensive Tackle- Florida
Shariff Floyd has insane athleticism for a defensive tackle and his stock was vaulted at the Combine. He is now a consensus top 5 draft pick. With his versatility he will be the first DT selected.
5- Sheldon Richardson - Defensive Tackle- Missouri
Sheldon Richardson definitely has the best chance of falling to us of anyone else in the Top 5. He has the size for a great DT and is great against the run.
6- Keenan Allen- Wide-Reciever- California
Some might think that Cordarelle Patterson should be the top receiver, but to me his issues with drops remind me too much of Troy Williamson. Keenan Allen is more consistent and posses good route-running and blocking skills.
7- Jarvis Jones- Outside Linebacker- Georgia
Jarvis Jones is not associated with the Vikings because he is not the best fit, and will most likely be well gone by the time the Vikings pick. But at this point he would be the best player available that fits a need. There is an outside chance he could fall with worries about his spinal issues.
8- Alec Ogeltree- Linebacker- Georgia
Alec Ogeltree is possibly the best linebacker in this draft class, but he struggles with off-the-field issues highlighted by his DUI arrest last month. In a combination of need and talent we would definitely need to add him here.
9- Geno Smith- Quarterback- West Virginia
Just to make it clear, under NO circumstances would Geno Smith fall out of the top 10, and under NO circumstances would the Vikings trade up for him. But this is where I would put him under the Vikings draft priority list. Some would put him higher, but he is very raw, and probably would not surpass Christian Ponder as a rookie.
10- DeAndre Hopkins- Wide-Receiver- Clemson
DeAndre Hopkins seems to be the most NFL ready receiver. He has crisp route-running, and the best hands of the top receivers. The best scenario would involve the Vikings drafting him in the second and a top prospect elsewhere in the first.
11- Justin Hunter- Wide-Reciever- Tennessee
Justin Hunter is probably the best deep-threat in the draft. He has exceptional size and a great catching radius. If the Vikings pick up someone like Brian Hartline in free-agency, then this would probably be the best pick-up.
12- Desmond Trufant- Corner-Back- Washington
At this point the top receivers and defensive-tackles are gone. Desmond Trufant is a very good corner that would be a great addition, but there are simply too many other needs that need to be addressed before Cornerback which is why he is listed so low.
13- Damontre Moore- Defensive End- Texas A&M
Damontre Moore is a very talented defensive end who was previously thought of as a top 5 pick. A poor performance at the combine led to a drop in stock, which could mean he would be available. The Vikings are very deep a defensive-end, but at this point he is definitely the best player available that doesn't play Offensive Tackle.
14- Eric Fisher- Tackle- Central Michigan
Speaking of Offensive Tackles, Eric Fisher is a very good one. Eric Fisher had a good combine and has a good chance to be taken in the top ten because of it. However Matt Kalil has been excellent protecting Ponders blind side. Should the Vikings fail to resign Loadholt which would be a disappointment to say the least, I think Eric Fisher is a better fit at Right Tackle than Luke Joeckel would be due to his athleticism.
15- Bjoern Werner- Defensive End- Florida State
Bjoern Werner is a very good pass rusher, probably the best for a 4-3 DE. He has an incredible amount of potential, and would be a staple when Jared Allen eventually retires.
16- Dion Jordan- Defensive End- Oregon
Dion Jordan is an incredible pass-rusher who has great speed 4.6 in the 40, however he doesn't have experience in the 4-3, working as a pass-rusher from the 3-4. A 4-3 team taking him would be a gamble and probably a waste of his extreme talent.
17- Luke Joeckel- Tackle- Texas A&M
Luke Joeckel is the favorite to go number one overall. He will likely be a staple for the Chiefs in the future. He does have some bust potential however with limited mobility highlighted by 5.3 40 time.
18- Barkevious Mingo- Defensive End- LSU
Barkevious Mingo is a defensive end who is very explosive and could fit in both DE in the 4-3, or OLB in 3-4. Like many of the players in this range, he just doesn't fill a need for the Minnesota Vikings.
19- Tavon Austin- Wide-Receiver- Tennessee
Tavon Austin I see as the top receiver in this draft class. He is similar to a Percy Harvin type player. Very explosive and quick, but provided we lock up Percy, we don't need another slot receiver. Not the big-bodied, down-the-field threat that the Vikings need.
20- Cordarelle Patterson- Wide-Receiver- Tennessee
Cordarelle Patterson is considered to be the top receiver in the draft. To me he looks like a bust. He is very explosive and is very good in several areas, but he has struggled with drops. Drops are the worst thing for a receiver to have in the NFL which is why I have him this low.
21- Jonathan Hankins- Defensive-Tackle- THE...Ohio State University
Hankins has been mocked to the Vikings several times, as he fills one of our 3 biggest needs. He would provide an upgrade over Letroy Guion who struggled this past season. he looks like the third best DT in the draft.
22- Kawann Short- Defensive Tackle- Purdue
Kawann Short is a big player who can plug up the middle of an entire offense. I feel he would be a good fit, but I wouldn't take him in the first round. If he is there in the second that would be a great scenario.
23- Xavier Rhodes- Cornerback- Florida State
Xavier Rhodes is one of the top 3 Cornerbacks in the draft at this point the Vikings best options are gone. This is a very unlikely scenario, as that would mean that Justin Hunter and DeAndre Hopkins were both taken in the top 23 picks. However trading down is an option, so if that's the case, the Vikings didn't do much to address Cornerback last year, so they would be well served to take Xavier Rhodes at this juncture.
24- Kenny Vaccaro- Safety- Texas
Kenny Vaccaro is the top safety of this class but doesn't grade out as well as either Mark Barron or Harrison Smith of last year. I believe that the Vikings are fine with there current safeties, provided they resign Jamarca Sanford. The fact that Sanford led the team in forced fumbles is overlooked by some. He had a way of changing games at key moments. However the Vikings at this point would likely look to the top safety in the class to solidify a strong secondary.
25- Manti T'eo- Linebacker- Notre Dame
You know, after the Vikings lost in Green Bay in the playoffs, I did my first mock draft. In that mock draft, I had the Chiefs drafting Manti T'eo with the first pick. Now, despite playing at a position of need he falls all the way to 25 on the Vikings big board. Two months ago I wouldn't have thought about it before picking T'eo if he fell to us. However all of a sudden, Manti T'eo looks like a second round pick. He was abused in the BCS Championship, then he had his fake girlfriend who apparently died then came back to life and haunted him at the combine where he confirmed scouts' doubts about his speed. I think he leaves something to be desired in coverage which is something that we really need in the middle of our defense.
26- Robert Woods- Wide-Receiver- USC
Robert Woods had a down year this past season and is now going anywhere from late 1st to late second. I think he would be a great second round pick if none of the aforementioned Wide-outs are available.
27- Kevin Minter- Middle Linebacker- LSU
Kevin Minter is a top Middle Linebacker who again plays at a postition of need. He could be higher, but I don't think his talent warrants a higher grade. He would be a nice fit, but i don't seem him falling to right range where I would pick him, due to the Linebacker needy teams in the 20's.
28- Jonathan Banks- Cornerback- Mississippi
Jonathan Banks is a pretty good cornerback, and at this range, there aren't too many first round players that would make a good fit. He would probably be the best direction to go at this point.
29- Arthur Brown- Linebacker- Kansas State
Arthur Brown would be a good pick-up in the second round, but we would probably need to trade up to get him. He has low bust potential and is good in coverage, which is something we need. He could play at either Henderson our Brinkley spot, whomever we choose not to resign.
30- John Jenkins- Defensive tackle- Georgia
John Jenkins is a Defensive Tackle. He fits in this range. The Vikings need a Defensive Tackle. There you go.
So that is it for the Big Board. Thank you for taking your time to read, please comment below what you think of this, and submit in the poll your opinions. Thanks!