Our colleague Dan Kadar over at SB Nation's Mocking The Draft has the first post-Super Bowl mock draft out, and it goes three rounds deep. I can't say I'd be disappointed if the Vikings draft were to fall out this way, but the guys I really want...well, let's just see who Dan thinks the Vikes first three picks will be:
8. Minnesota Vikings - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
If Minnesota loses out on the top three quarterback prospects, they'll have to weigh whether or not Derek Carr is a noticeable upgrade over what is on the roster. If the answer is no, the Vikings are in a tough spot with the eighth pick. They could be a prime team to trade back and acquire more picks in a deep draft. If they stick at eight, Mosley could improve a shaky linebacker unit. Chad Greenway is coming off an average season and is due to make big money over the next two seasons. Erin Henderson was charged with a DUI in January, and his off-field issues are becoming a concern. Mosley may not be the next Luke Kuechly, but the leader of Alabama's defense is capable of playing inside or outside and gets to the ball in a hurry.
The Internet was all abuzz a few weeks back when Mel Kiper predicted Teddy Bridgewater would fall all the way to the Vikings at 8. No one really took it seriously, and Kader brings some normalcy back to this draft. For quarterbacks, he's got Blake Bortles at #1, Bridgewater to Jacksonville at #3, and Johnny Manziel to Cleveland at #4. I could live without any of those guys if my top two defensive players were still on the board, but Dan has DE Jadaveon Clowney going to Atlanta at #6, and LB Khalil Mack going to Tampa at #7. Between you and me, I'd want Mack over Clowney. So C.J. Mosely seems to be the logical choice here, unless Derek Carr is a guy they think can be the man. I personally have my doubts about that, so unless the Vikings eiher move up to take a QB, or move down to stockpile picks, Mosely is the safe...but very good...pick here. He addresses a major need without costing a lot to move up to get someone. Let's look at round two:
40. Minnesota Vikings - Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger and his giant arm are made for Norv Turner's vertical passing offense. Mettenberger's stock is down because he's currently rehabbing a torn ACL, but he's far more talented than Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder.
Dan has Carr of the board to Oakland at 36, and CB Bradley Roby gone at 34 to Washington. Mettenberger seems to be kind of a trendy second or even third round pick for the Vikings, but it seems to be a high risk/high reward for this early in the draft. GM Rick Spielman is known to take risks on players, but he usually waits until later in the draft (Greg Childs, Michael Mauti) to roll the dice on a guy rehabbing from an injury. I agree that Mettenberger has the arm and the talent to fit Norv Turner's offense, but his availability here will be determined after the NFL Combine and LSU pro day. Based on a typical rehab schedule, he might not be ready for either. Another whiff on a high QB pick will cost Spielman his job, and he knows it. Throw in the ACL rehab, and this is about as boom or bust as you can get. Here's his round three prediction:
72. Minnesota Vikings - Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
With Jared Allen's future in Minnesota up in the air and Everson Griffen a free agent, the Vikings have a big need at defensive end. Crichton is a strong pass rusher who will only get better as he adds more moves to his arsenal.
Although I agree about Allen's future up in the air, I think the Vikings get a deal done with Griffen. If/when that happens, DE really drops down behind DT in priority, as I think Kevin Williams is gone with Allen and the Fred Evans/Letroy Guion era needs to end. Which is why I would be inclined to go with a guy like DaQuan Jones out of Penn State. At 6'3", 318 pounds with room to grow, he can be that big NT that could play well in either a 4-3 or 3-4 alignment, which would give the Vikings a lot of personnel package options for different situations. And he would immediately help shore up a porous run defense.
So overall, I can't say I'd be disappointed in this. C.J. Mosely is my fifth option behind Bridgewater, Manziel, Clowney, and Mack, but he's a good player. If Mettenberger is healthy, he could be a great pickup in the second, and I'll just agree to disagree with Dan on the third round pick.
But rest assured, I'm sure who we're talking about today will be completely different from who we're talking about on draft day.