Mel Kiper. . .dramatic pause. . .draft expert has released the second version of his mock draft behind the great E$PN Paywall. While his colleague, Todd McShay, has steered the Vikings away from the offensive line thus far, that's precisely where Kiper has the Vikings going in his mock.
With the 23rd pick in Mel Kiper's 2016 Mock Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select. . .
Cody Whitehair, guard, Kansas State University.
Here's what he has to say about the selection:
The Vikings need help at both tackle and guard, and while Whitehair played left tackle, I've had him listed as a future NFL guard for two years now. If he comes off the board in this range, an inevitable (and fair) comparison will be Zack Martin, whom Dallas drafted in 2014 as a left tackle they immediately plugged in at guard with great results.
Man, a Zack Martin clone sure would be a welcome addition to the Vikings' offensive line.
If the Vikings were to draft a player like Whitehair in the first round, it sounds like he would plug directly into the left guard spot between Matt Kalil and either John Sullivan or Joe Berger (whoever the Vikings have starting at center). That means that last year's left guard, Brandon Fusco, would wind up battling it out with Mike Harris for the right guard spot. Harris could also compete with Phil Loadholt (if the Vikings keep him around) or T.J. Clemmings for the right tackle spot.
When you have the kind of issues along the offensive line that the Vikings have, too much competition isn't a bad thing. Whoever would lose those battles along the right side would serve as quality backups, and we know that the offensive line is one of those positions where you can't have too much depth.
I don't think I'd be opposed to the Vikings taking a player like Cody Whitehair in the first round of the draft. Sure, guard isn't a glamour position or anything, but it's one that the Vikings might have their most severe need at, and Whitehair appears to be the consensus best guard in this year's draft class. He would immediately help the Vikings, which is what you want to see from your first round pick.
What do you think about this (mock) selection, folks?