It really is tough to compete with Mark’s quest for 40 mocks in 40 days. But I stumbled upon an article from Rotoworld’s Senior Football Editor Evan Silva, via yahoo!sports, regarding the team needs of our Minnesota Vikings and it got me thinking of doing another mock myself. Both Silva and Rotoworld’s draft coverage specialist Josh Norris contributed to the article. I will link the article here for those interested in reading it, but am also including some direct quotes that pertain to my fanpost.
I will begin by sharing the team needs as determined by Silva and Norris. I don’t necessarily agree with their top 3 positions so I will include my own list of team needs for the Vikings at this point in the free agency period.
No. 1 Team Need: Quarterback
Vikings GM Rick Spielman formally threw in the towel on Christian Ponder last year, signing Josh Freeman in-season and playing Matt Cassel down the stretch. Freeman definitely won't be back, and of that trio only Cassel is assured of returning after Spielman re-signed him to a two-year, $10 million deal. New Minnesota playcaller Norv Turner has historically played vertical passing offense featuring aggressive, big-armed quarterbacks like Troy Aikman and Philip Rivers.
No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Back
The arrival of playmaking slot corner Captain Munnerlyn and healthy return of free safety Harrison Smith will go a long way toward stabilizing Minnesota's secondary. But the Vikes remain deficient at outside cornerback opposite Xavier Rhodes, and strong safety Jamarca Sanford is a replacement-level talent. Intriguing flier pickup Derek Cox is really a rehab project after flopping in San Diego. Corners in Mike Zimmer's defense must be able to press at the line of scrimmage and re-route receivers. Zimmer prefers a true center fielder at free safety, and a thumper in the box.
No. 3 Team Need: Guard
The Vikings are in good shape at 4-of-5 offensive line positions, but badly need an upgrade on LG Charlie Johnson following his second consecutive abysmal season. Ideally, Minnesota would find a legitimate starting left guard, and demote Johnson into a reserve/swing lineman role. Turner's run games typically emphasize power in the trenches.
Vikings free agency 2014: Here is a recap of the Vikings activity in free agency thus far
Notable Players lost/not re-signed:
Erin Henderson, LB
Jared Allen, DE
Kevin Williams, DT
Chris Cook, CB
Toby Gerhart, RB
Desmond Bishop, LB
Joe Webb, WR
Letroy Guion, DT
Notable players acquired/re-signed:
Linval Joseph, DT
Captain Munnerlyn, CB
Everson Griffen, DE
Matt Cassel, QB
Jerome Simpson, WR
Charlie Johnson, OG
Fred Evans, DT
Corey Wooton, DE
Tom Johnson, DT
Vikings Current First-Team Offense
QB: Matt Cassel
RB: Adrian Peterson
FB: Jerome Felton
WR: Greg Jennings
WR: Cordarrelle Patterson
TE: Kyle Rudolph
LT: Matt Kalil
LG: Charlie Johnson
RG: Brandon Fusco
RT: Phil Loadholt
Vikings Current First-Team Defense
LE: Brian Robison
RE: Everson Griffen
DT: Sharrif Floyd
NT: Linval Joseph
MLB: Audie Cole
WLB: Gerald Hodges
SLB: Chad Greenway
LCB: Xavier Rhodes
RCB: Captain Munnerlyn
FS: Harrison Smith
SS: Jamarca Sanford
Team needs according to NMVike:
No. 1 team need: Quarterback
No changes here for me. Not only am I listing QB first because of the current talent on the roster, but also simply because we only have 2 QB’s under contract. The Vikings must acquire another QB to fill a roster spot (possibly 2 for camp), preferably he will be the elusive QBOTF.
No. 2 team need: Linebacker
I have been "pounding the table" for at least 3 years now that the Vikings need to address this position via the draft and free agency. The last time the Vikings made linebacker a priority was 2006 with the selection of Chad Greenway in the first round and the addition of Ben Leber via free agency. Erin Henderson and Desmond Bishop are not coming back. Jasper Brinkley will provide depth, but the Vikings need to get faster and younger at the linebacker spot.
No. 3 team need: Secondary
I agree with Silva’s sentiment. The Captain should go a long way in terms of shoring up the nickel cornerback spot. Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo have overachieved. Josh Robinson and Marcus Sherels provide depth but are not viable options for extended playing time. And with Chris Cook moving on, the Vikings find themselves in need of a true "outside" corner opposite Xavier Rhodes. In a pass happy division, the Vikings should always look to add depth to the secondary.
Offensive guard and defensive end are also positions that I believe need depth, if not an upgrade. With the loss of Toby Gerhart, backup running/3rd down back may also need to be addressed.
Vikings 2014 Draft Picks (8)
First Round (No. 8)
Second Round (No. 40)
Third Round (No. 72)
Third Round (No. 96)
Fourth Round (No. 108)
Fifth Round (No. 148)
Sixth Round (No. 184)
Seventh Round (No. 223)
NM Vike’s Mock draft 4.2 A recap of the first 8 picks
1. Houston Texans—Blake Bortles, QB USF
2. Tampa Bay Bucs (from St. Louis)—Jadaveon Clowney, DE South Carolina
3. Jacksonville Jaguars—Teddy Bridgewater, QB Louisville
4. Cleveland Browns—Khalil Mack, LB Buffalo
5. Oakland Raiders—Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson
6. Atlanta Falcons—Greg Robinson, OT Auburn
7. St. Louis Rams(from Tampa Bay)—Darqueze Dennard, CB Michigan St.
8. Minnesota Vikings—Derek Carr, QB Fresno St.
I used cbssports.com prospect rankings to assist me for the remainder of my Vikings mock:
40. Carl Bradford, LB Arizona St.
72. Deone Buchannon, SS Washington St.
96. Will Clarke, DE West Virginia
108. Cyril Richardson, OG Baylor
148. Brandon Coleman, WR Rutgers
184. Ross Cockrell, CB Duke
223. De’Anthony Thomas, RB Oregon
This mock was balanced in terms of number of draft picks dedicated to the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. You may say it is unSpielman-like since I did not draft a specialist. I mocked Derek Carr to the Vikings #2 overall back in November when it seemed the Vikings were going to be drafting that high so I am sticking with my guns. I have also been high on Bradford, Clarke and Cockrell so they are represented here as well. The newcomers are Richardson, Coleman and Thomas (although I have routinely selected a G, WR and RB). I believe that Thomas would give Norv Turner the 3rd down Sproles-type back he doesn’t have right now on the roster.
Let's hear some feedback, hopefully it's more than "Carr Sux!"