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Mel Kiper vs Todd McShay vs The Minnesota Vikings: A Look Back

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It's always sort of fun to look back on past mock drafts and wonder about what might have happened if things had gone differently. A couple of our SB Nation neighbors have taken a look back at the past few drafts and compared them to what the draft gurus at the Worldwide Leader™ thought the Vikings should have done and what actually happened.

We're going to take a look at the final mock drafts from Todd McShay and Mel Kiper. . .dramatic pause. . .draft expert, and see if things would have been better or worse if the things had happened for the Minnesota Vikings the way those two men predicted that it would. This look back will not take into account the selections of Harrison Smith in 2012, Cordarrelle Patterson in 2013, or Teddy Bridgewater in 2014, as the Vikings did not actually possess those selections in McShay or Kiper's final mock drafts for those seasons.

With that, let's fire up the Wayback Machine. In addition to the other columns, the "Approximate Value" number comes from the good folks at Pro Football Reference.


Draft Player All-Pro Pro Bowls Seasons as Starter Games Started Approximate Value
Mel Kiper, Jr. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida 0 0 1 16 12
Todd McShay Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame 0 0 1 10 1
Actual Vikings Pick Chris Cook, CB, Virginia 0 0 2 29 10

To put it mildly. . .holy jeez, what a group of terrible options we have to start things off with. Both Kiper and McShay were dead sure that the Vikings were going to be taking a quarterback to groom in the wake of the Zombie Brett Favre year, but they basically decided not to draft one at all. I mean, Chris Cook wasn't great or anything, but I'm not sure if he was really worse than Tebow or Clausen.

Cook was actually a second round pick by the Vikings that year. They traded out of the 30th spot in the first round with the Detroit Lions. The Lions used that pick to select running back Jahvid Best. . .a man who, despite being out of football after a year and a half with concussion issues, still had a higher Approximate Value (13) than any of the three guys listed above.

Advantage: Vikings (but, really, it's close)


Draft Player All-Pro Pro Bowls Seasons as Starter Games Started Approximate Value
Mel Kiper, Jr. Jake Locker, QB, Washington 0 0 3 23 16
Todd McShay Cameron Jordan, DE, California 0 1 4 63 34
Actual Vikings Pick Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State 0 0 2 36 23

So, after Favre officially announced his retirement and the Vikings needed to draft a quarterback, they famously (or infamously) reached for Christian Ponder. While Ponder might have been a reach, he performed better over the course of his career than either of the quarterbacks that teams "reached" for in front of the Vikings (Locker and Blaine Gabbert), but that's damning with faint praise, really. Still, McShay wins this one fairly easily, as Cameron Jordan has been a very good player over the course of his young career, despite playing in a cesspool.

Advantage: McShay


Draft Player All-Pro Pro Bowls Seasons as Starter Games Started Approximate Value
Mel Kiper, Jr. Matt Kalil, OT, USC 0 1 3 48 25
Todd McShay Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU 0 0 1 25 9
Actual Vikings Pick Matt Kalil, OT, USC 0 1 3 48 25

Honestly, the way the board set up in 2012, there was really only one pick for the Vikings at #3 that made any sense, and Kalil was it. Of the other two guys that were considered options at that spot, one was Claiborne (who has never really been anything that special) and the other was Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who appears to have smoked and drank his way out of the National Football League. Kalil has at least shown flashes of ability to be a great tackle in his career, so it definitely could have been worse.

Advantage: Kiper/Vikings

2013 (Part 1, Pick #23)

Draft Player All-Pro Pro Bowls Seasons as Starter Games Started Approximate Value
Mel Kiper, Jr. Robert Woods, WR, USC 0 0 2 29 9
Todd McShay Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina 0 0 1 17 9
Actual Vikings Pick Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida 0 0 1 12 8

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Floyd's approximate value would be a bit higher if a) he had been healthy for the entire 2014 season and b) Leslie Frazier wasn't seemingly deathly allergic to playing rookies. In their respective final mocks, Kiper and McShay both had Floyd going to the Oakland Raiders at #3 overall, so the Vikings getting him at #23 is pretty nice. I mean, there isn't really a bad pick here, I guess, but if I had to take just one. . .well, Robert Woods would look really nice in a Vikings' uniform right now, wouldn't he? I love Sharrif Floyd's potential and think he's going to continue to be huge in Mike Zimmer's defense as long as he can stay healthy, but for now. . .

Advantage: Kiper (but barely)

2013 (Part 2, Pick #25)

Draft Player All-Pro Pro Bowls Seasons as Starter Games Started Approximate Value
Mel Kiper, Jr. Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia 0 0 2 32 17
Todd McShay Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia 0 0 2 32 17
Actual Vikings Pick Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State 0 0 1 16 8

Kiper and McShay were both of the same mind on this selection, and while Ogletree would look nice in the middle of Mike Zimmer's defense right now, I personally think that Xavier Rhodes looks even better on the outside. I think that some of the receivers he was shutting down towards the end of the regular season would probably agree. Plus, after my semi-diss of the Vikings on the last pick, I have to get myself right here.

Advantage: Vikings


Draft Player All-Pro Pro Bowls Seasons as Starter Games Started Approximate Value
Mel Kiper, Jr. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh 0 1 1 12 11
Todd McShay Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State 0 0 0 2 2
Actual Vikings Pick Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA 0 0 1 12 7

I love me some Anthony Barr, seriously. . .but man, could you imagine Aaron Donald and Sharrif Floyd in the middle of the Minnesota defensive line right now? They would be destroying folks, and it would be awesome to watch (not to make things easier for Everson Griffen on the outside). I think Barr is going to be a good one, but I have to give it to Kiper here.

Advantage: Kiper

So, by my count, that gives the Vikings' actual picks 2.5 out of 6 possible points, Kiper's selections 2.5 out of 6 possible points, and McShay trailing with 1 out of 6. In terms of Approximate Value, Kiper's picks come out with a total value of 90, the Vikings' actual selections with 81, and McShay's with 72. Obviously, the added value of the three guys that we didn't include would push the Vikings over the top overall, I think, but since neither Kiper nor McShay had the ability to actually project those picks, I didn't think it would be fair to include them.

As always, your mileage may vary on this sort of thing, so what do you think?