1.5 Hours Into the Draft: Who's Left and What Does it Mean?

We've cruised through the first 16 picks of the draft, and the Vikings finally have a chance to see how the board shapes up as they approach picks 23 and 25.

Eric Fisher's late surge to the top of boards concluded in a first overall pick from Kansas City, providing some degree of shock, but also reassured nods by draftniks. More importantly, the Jaguars' selection of Luke Joeckel helped set the tone of the draft.

With Lane Johnson gone at pick four, the run on offensive tackles had begun, and a number of players started falling down charts, including the three top defensive tackles, Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd and Sheldon Richardson. The edge has been the most consistent theme at the top of the draft, and teams are either fixated on attacking the quarterback or defending him.

Trades complicated things, but it looked like the top three players in most mocks wouldn't even crack the top ten. Pushing the defensive tackle class down makes things interesting, and may make DT picks in the second round all the more enticing.

With two more offensive linemen gone by pick ten, the Vikings could move into position to select a seriously talented prospect at one of the positions of greatest need. Kevin Williams is close to retirement, and Letroy Guion is abysmal. Traditionally built on a strong defense, the Vikings absolutely need to consider one of these players as their pick approaches.

It only makes to trade up for Star Lotulelei to fill in the most important position in the Vikings Tampa-2 defense. Nose tackles shift protection and allow the Vikings to maintain coverage for shorter periods of time. With the worst nose tackle in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings need to improve their defensive line and make it the most productive line once more. Taking care of business up-front should allow the Vikings more leeway with the rest of their defense and keep them in games longer while AD pounds the rock. Star is a factor of magnitude better than the other nose tackles in this class and should consider trading up a significant amount to secure him.

If not, Floyd and Richardson are viable options. But a manufactured position (3-technique) and a slightly better crop of pass-rushing tackles (Bennie Logan, Everette Dawkins, Kawann Short, Sylvester Williams) should make the Vikings hesitate a bit more on those two. Either way, it should be a good crop of players available for the Vikings.

Otherwise, the Vikings could absolutely consider investing in a middle linebacker or wide receiver. But linebacker depth and receiver depth are good enough to allow the Vikings to avoid making a pick at either position here. Unlike Star, Floyd and Richardson, the gap between the top players at these positions and the next tier of players is much smaller.

With the other pick, the Vikings should be willing to trade down and take advantage of the depth available at other positions and make up for lost picks in the trade up for a defensive tackle.

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