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What if Mel Kiper was the GM of the Vikings?

Take a look at who Mel Kiper would draft for the Vikings if he was the general manager...a horrifying thought.

Who the hell is Mel Kiper?
Who the hell is Mel Kiper?
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mel Kiper released a new mock draft recently, but this time around it's not a projection of what he thinks teams will do in the upcoming NFL Draft.  No, this time he's taking the reins of all 32 teams and selecting players he would take if he were the general manager of each NFL team.  The whole mock draft is behind ESPN's paywall, but if you are a subscriber you can access it here.

The ground rules Kiper sets up for the mock draft are as follows:

1. At each slot, I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick. I won't pass on a player at No. 4 just because I like the team better at No. 5.

2. No trades unless they're already done. I note team needs, and I try to address them, but like the draft, value can supersede need.

3. Again: I'm not projecting. It's more a look at where I see value up and down the board.

He only mocks out the first three rounds of the draft.  The top 10 picks went as follows:

1. Tampa Bay - QB Jameis Winston
2. Tennessee - QB Marcus Mariota
3. Jacksonville - DL Leonard Williams
4. Oakland - WR Amari Cooper
5. Washington - OLB Dante Fowler
6. New York Jets - WR Kevin White
7. Chicago - WR Breshad Perriman
8. Atlanta - OLB Shane Ray
9. New York Giants - OL Brandon Scherff
10. St. Louis - WR DeVante Parker

So you can see how the board has stacked up right before the Vikings pick.  I question the Bears taking Breshad Perriman that high, but otherwise the usual suspects are all there in the top 10.  So, who does Kiper select for the Vikings?  Below are his picks for the first three rounds and his justification for those picks:

Top needs: CB, LB, WR, RB

Round 1 (11) CB Trae Waynes, Michigan St.
Round 2 (45) WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
Round 3 (76) RB Jay Ajayi, Boise St.

Analysis: The Rams' taking Parker at No. 10 shifted our attention to cornerback. This draft is flush with talent at wide receiver, so I'd rather take the top cornerback on my board than the No. 5 WR at No. 11 overall. Waynes is like any CB in that he's going to have growing pains, particularly in dealing with outstanding route-runners who change direction without any wasted motion, but he has good length and can cover down the field, two things I put a premium on given the QBs and WRs I have to face six times a year in the NFC North. In Round 2, I'm taking what I consider an educated bet on a big-time talent with Green-Beckham. Teddy Bridgewater gains a big-time red zone target in the 6-foot-5 athlete with a frame reminiscent of Calvin Johnson, but we're really going to need to coach DGB up when it comes to route running, where he's as raw as any WR in the draft. I still have some uncertainty at RB given the offseason we've had with Adrian Peterson, so I'm grabbing some insurance with Ajayi.

First off, the needs he has identified need some tweaking.  I would include defensive end and offensive line on the list, and probably take off running back and wide receiver.  The media is making such a big deal about the Peterson situation and mocking running backs to the Vikings left and right.  But as long as Peterson is still on the team for the next few years, running back is not a major need in my opinion.  Obviously, this could change pretty fast if Peterson is traded, or remains suspended indefinitely.  With the acquisition of Mike Wallace and the potential emergence of Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright, I don't have wide receiver real high on the needs list either.

Moving on to the actual picks themselves, I have no major issues with CB Trae Waynes.  There are some majorly talented defensive lineman still available though in this mock like Danny Shelton and Randy Gregory, and outside linebacker Vic Beasley is also still on the board.  I think a strong case can be made for Shelton and Beasley over Waynes, but generally speaking I like the pick of Trae Waynes.  Green-Beckham has all the talent in the world, but off-the-field questions remain.  With him being such a raw prospect, I'm not sure he fits very well in Norv Turner's offense.  Also, with the recent Peterson situation, I don't know if the Vikings would be willing to deal with a potential PR problem again. So, I'm not a big fan of his 2nd round pick. If we go cornerback in the 1st, then we should be targeting linebacker or offensive line in the 2nd round.  Lastly, Jay Ajayi in the 3rd is a steal.  He's a 2nd rounder in most mocks and big board rankings that I've looked at.

So how did Mel Kiper do?  Todd McShay provides his grades of the mock draft highlighting what he thought were the best and worst picks.  Unfortunately, no Vikings picks were considered "best" or "worst."  So there is no commentary from McShay.