Tis the season for mock drafts, so I might as well post mine. No trades here, which prima facie makes the mock unrealistic; but considering all of the draft with trades as well makes for an impossible task.
Round 1, pick 8, 8th overall: Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M
Since drafting Tarvaris Jackson with the 64th overall pick in 2006, minus the very exciting blip of Brett Favre's twilight years, the Vikes have needed a quarterback. It was not long ago that it looked like our chances were sunk to land a QB, for we had managed to win too many games. With questions about Johnny Manziel both on and off the field, and Teddy Bridgewater's abysmal pro day, that no longer seems the case.
There is some smoke about the Vikings preferring Bridgewater, but I doubt this is the case. Bridgewater is cruising for a draft day tumble. Blake Bortles will likely be the first QB off the board, and it has been reported the Raiders are very interested in Derek Carr, whose elite statistics and traditional style make it not out of the question for that pick at 5 . Given this, the pick is Manziel, and it would be fun to see the second coming of Fran Tarkenton in purple.
Round 2, pick 8, 40th overall: Gabe Jackson G, Mississippi State
Teams who get a QB in the first round usually double up on offense. After QB, guard is our biggest need there. Plus, Manziel is used to elite offensive lines and the more we can get to help Adrian Peterson the better.
This might seem too high for Gabe Jackson, but trust me it is not. Xavier Su'a Filo and David Yankey could both go in the first round, and any board that does not put Gabe next is simply wrong. Jackson was a 4 year starter at Mississippi State and has drawn comparisons to Chance Warmack. You will find most scouting reports say he excels at mirroring defenders, performed well at the Senior Bowl; and that his weaknesses come from being aggressive. Matt Kalil and Jackson guarding the blind side would sure up things for years to come.
Round 3, pick 8, 72nd overall: Chris Borland ILB, Wisconsin
After QB the Vikings' biggest need is a linebacker, any linebacker. Considered a 'heady' (see: smart) player; if Borland is here, one has to think we take him. A second team All American and Wisconsin's all-time leader in forced fumbles, Chris Borland has drawn comparisons to Zach Thomas. He stuffed top-rated RB prospect Carlos Hyde multiple times in the Ohio State game. Borland is also said to have T-Rex arms, and so maybe we can again catch a fallen gem a la Sharrif Floyd.
Round 3, pick 32, 96th overall: Pierre Desir CB, Lindenwood
Our Vikes use the Percy Harvin trade to bolster the secondary which was the woe of the Vikings' existence for so long. The Haitian sensation is raw and played against inferior competition, but has a huge upside as a fluid athlete at 6'1 with 33 inch arms. A nickel package of Xavier Rhodes and Desir with Captain Munnerlyn in the slot would be formidable if Desir played up to his potential.
Round 4, pick 8, 108th overall: Lache Seastrunk RB, Baylor
Seastrunk was originally recruited for the electric Oregon offense; and is a compact, low, and quick runner. Once the top running back prospect, he will fall a bit due to his bright spots coming against weak competition. Losing Toby Gerhart to the Jaguars leaves the Vikings with no decent running back behind Adrian Peterson. Seastrunk can also catch passes out of the backfield.
Round 5, pick 8, 148th overall: Michael Sam DE, Missouri
Not just to shut up Chris Kluwe. The resigning of Everson Griffen makes this not an urgent need, but the departure of Jared Allen still leaves the Vikes with depth concerns at defensive end. A quick first step made Sam the sacks leader in the SEC. He could also fill the need at the Will as a rush linebacker if it is decided he is a better fit there given his small size.
Round 6, pick 8, 184th overall: Kenny Ladler S, Vanderbilt
It would be nice to find an upgrade next to Harrison Smith, we just have too many holes elsewhere to address this early. Ladler is a 4 year starter in the SEC and a sure tackler of running backs who forced many fumbles. He would be a project for Zimmer but with some help could be the next Robert Griffith.
Round 7, pick 8, 223rd overall: L'Damian Washington WR, Missouri
7th round picks rarely matter, so might as well go for the boom or bust type. A big, tall receiver with 4.4 speed who led a team loaded at receiver. The biggest knock against him is he is raw and too often catches with his body, which should remind you of a certain other prospect. This also has my mock fit the trend of Spielman drafting teammates.
If everyone made the team...
Potential 53-man roster:
RB: Adrian Peterson; Lache Seastrunk
WLB: Gerald Hodges
LOS: Cullen Loeffler
K: Blair Walsh
P: Jeff Locke