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Earlier this week I thought it would be fun to do a mock draft where I filled my team entirely with Vikings players. But here’s the catch, I tried to do it for "real" in that I didn’t simply draft only Vikings in the first few rounds (that would have been too easy). Instead, I tried to draft Vikings players where their value was best represented and also tried to draft a real team that could be competitive at the same time. So in order to start things off right, I secured the #1 overall pick in the mock draft room, thus guaranteeing me a shot at Adrian Peterson. For the rest, read on!
I chose to do a 12-team, Snake draft on the ESPN servers for this mock and in the first round we had all 12 team owners logged in and ready to roll, but by round two we already had some auto-drafters and only four us stuck it out to the bitter end. ESPN had Le’Veon Bell ranked as the #1 player on the board, but if I wanted to draft all the fantasy relevant Vikings players, I knew my only shot at Peterson was with my first pick.
Round 1, Pick #1 – RB Adrian Peterson
This was a no-brainer, but after picking Peterson, I had a LONG wait until my next pick came up. In the first round seven running backs, four wide receivers and tight end all came off the board. In the second round, the stock-piling of FLEX-worthy players continued with four more running backs and five more wide receivers being taken. But there were also three quarterbacks selected in the second round. I knew I wanted to target a wide receiver and running back with my next two back-to-back selections, but the herd was already being thinned.
Round 2, Pick #24 – RB Mark Ingram
This was a tough choice as it came down to the following players: Mark Ingram, Carlos Hyde, Justin Forsett and Alfred Morris. I almost went with Hyde here, but I like Ingram’s talent and the Saints have the best offense of any of the available options. Yes, C.J. Spiller takes over for Pierre Thomas, but Ingram looked good last year even with Pierre Thomas still around, and the Saints seem committed to making the run game more of a priority this season. I like Ingram this year.
Round 3, Pick #25 – WR T.Y. Hilton
Randall Cobb went at pick #23 and he was my target, but I just missed out on him. I briefly considered Alshon Jeffery and Mike Evans who were available, but I don’t like either of their quarterbacks as much as I like Andrew Luck. Hilton had a good year last year and could do even better this year. He’s a low-end #1 wide receiver, but with my top two picks at running back, I felt pretty good taking him here.
By the end of the 4th round the ranks were beginning to thin. I started thinking about where to take Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson, but ESPN had Wallace ranked at #60 overall (way too high) and Johnson at #73 overall (just about right), so I figured that even with the auto-drafters factored in, I was safe to wait until Round 6 and 7 to grab them.
Round 4, Pick #48 – RB Todd Gurley
I like Gurley a lot and I think that he’ll be a great talent in the NFL and a star running back, but maybe not this season. Still, in the 4th round as a FLEX play and backup running back, I’m hedging my bets that he could produce like a bell-cow later in the season.
Round 5, Pick #49 – WR Vincent Jackson
The options at wide receiver were getting pretty darn thin at this point. Sammy Watkins and DeSean Jackson were on the board and I considered DaVante Adams here as well (and in hindsight I probably should have taken Adams). Even though Vincent Jackson is old, he still had 1,000 yards and a few TDs last year with a terrible quarterback, and I think he’s good for that again this year with the rookie Winston (who I also think is terrible). He makes for a very unsexy, but hopefully reliable WR #2. My fingers were crossed that Wallace and Johnson would last to picks 72 and 73 and grab them back-to-back.
But, Mike Wallace was shockingly taken in the 5th round at #50, right after I picked Vincent Jackson!!! So my dream of drafting all the Vikings was sadly shattered very early on in the draft. But hey, if someone wants to reach for Mike Wallace in the 5th round of a draft at #50 overall (when his ADP is the 8th round, and he’s ranked in the 9th) more power to them. So that caused me to panic as I watched pick after pick come off the board, hoping Charles Johnson would fall in my lap.
Round 6, Pick #72 – WR Charles Johnson
Whew! He survived and fell to me. There actually weren’t a lot of better options believe it or not. With my WR corp consisting of only V-Jax and Hilton, I felt I needed to improve my depth anyway. Allen Robinson, Eric Decker, Roddy White, Michael Floyd and Martavis Bryant were all available here, but I went with Johnson and I don’t even think it was a reach.
Round 7, Pick #73 – QB Matt Ryan
I knew I wanted to target Teddy as my backup QB, but I needed a solid starter, so I snagged Matt Ryan here. I probably could have waited, but it was a LONG time before I picked again, and I wasn’t sure who would be available late in the 8th round. It was a good thing I drafted him when I did because two other teams took QBs after I drafted Ryan, but before my next pick.
There were only five teams left drafting by this point, but I knew I wanted to load up on high upside running backs to fill my FLEX. So…I went after…
Round 8, Pick #96 – RB Bishop Sankey
He’s still *technically* the starter in Tennessee, although David Cobb is giving him a run for his money. To get a starting running back, even one in a time-share, this late in the draft was a steal in my opinion. I’m not real high on Sankey generally speaking, but I’ll take him this late.
Round 9, Pick #97 – RB Duke Johnson
This is more of a speculative pick. I don’t really like any of the Browns running backs, truth be told. And that’s mainly because I just don’t like the Browns offense. While Isiah Crowell seems to be the favorite to start, Duke Johnson has the highest upside of any Browns running back, and could very well become the starter. In the 9th round, as a backup RB, I’ll take a shot.
Round 10, Pick #120 – TE Delaine Walker
I probably waited too long to draft a tight end, but if you’d don’t get Gronk, Graham or Olsen, then the rest are pretty much all equal to me. Walker had a great year with a bad QB last year, so I expect similar results this year.
Round 11, Pick #121 – QB Teddy Bridgewater
This might have been a bit of a reach, but with an ADP and Ranking in the 12th round, I couldn’t afford to wait to the end of the next round to snag him. So I reached just a little to get the backup I really wanted. Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were still on the board, so this might have been a little too early, but that’s ok with me. As it turned out, both Manning and Rivers were still there in Round 12, so I probably could have waited on Bridgewater.
Round 12, Pick #144 – WR Doug Baldwin
I considered grabbing McKinnon as Peterson insurance, but it just felt a little too early for that. And with only three wide receivers drafted so far, I needed to add some bench depth. Doug Baldwin was one of the only "starters" left. Seattle probably won’t throw much, but to get any team’s #1 receiver in the 12th round is excellent value.
Round 13, Pick #145 – WR Percy Harvin
Again, I considered McKinnon here, but figured I could wait until the next round to get him. I took a chance on Harvin, a former Viking at least. He’s banged up and many not start week 1, but if he can get healthy, he’s always got a chance to score big numbers. If Harvin can come anywhere close to his 2011 and 2012 numbers, in round 13 this will be a steal. I really like what his QB Tyrod Taylor brings to the table as well.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, somebody snagged McKinnon the very next pick after Harvin! I couldn’t believe it, and my plans were foiled yet again. So at this point I was targeting Kyle Rudolph as my backup tight end…and so was someone else as he went just a few picks before mine in the 14th round. So my plan to wait on McKinnon and Rudolph for the last few rounds of the draft totally backfired.
Round 14, Pick #168 – TE Larry Donnell
I settled on Larry Donnell as my backup TE, who managed a few decent games last year. At this point, with only two picks remaining, I knew I needed to secure the Vikings D/ST and then cross my fingers that Blair Walsh would last to the "Mr. Irrelevent" (aka, last) pick of the draft.
Round 15, Pick #169 – Vikings D/ST
Round 16, Pick #192 – K Caleb Sturgis
Alas, someone else picked Blair Walsh in the 16th round just a few picks ahead of me. It dawned on me right then, that I probably should not have chosen a mock draft room labeled "Minnesota Vikings" as it was bound to have a bunch of Vikings fans in it. I inadvertently made this little mock draft exercise much more difficult for myself than I needed to. But it just goes to show, if you’re in a draft room with a bunch of Vikings fans, chances are they will reach like crazy to make sure they get some Vikings players on their teams. In the end, my fantasy roster looked like this:
QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: Adrian Peterson
RB2: Mark Ingram
WR1: T.Y. Hilton
WR2: Vincent Jackson
WR3: Charles Johnson
FLEX: Todd Gurley
TE: Delanie Walker
K: Caleb Sturgis
Bench: Teddy Bridgewater, Bishop Sankey, Duke Johnson, Doug Baldwin, Percy Harvin, Larry Donnell
In the end I just missed out on Mike Wallace, Kyle Rudolph and Jerick Mckinnon. And I was literally just a few picks away from the dream team of drafting all Vikings. But if I HAD reached and gotten those three players, in hindsight, I would have had to sacrifice Vincent Jackson, Doug Baldwin and Percy Harvin to get those three players. And while I’d love to have Wallace, Rudolph and Mckinnon on my team, I’m glad I got Jackson and Baldwin instead.
In the end, I feel I still managed to draft a competitive team AND secure four Vikings without having to reach too much to get them, in a draft with a bunch of Vikings fans no less. This may or may not be a blue-print for you, but if you happen to have the #1 overall pick in a 12-team league with a bunch of Vikings fans, this could be one way to load up on the Purple without having to make too many sacrifices. So, how do you think I did?