On Thursday night, the Minnesota Vikings filled what was likely their biggest need by taking Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. The selection, for the most part, has been praised by draftniks across the internet, and should go a long ways towards making the Minnesota offense more dynamic.
But now what?
Well, we're on to Day 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft, and the Minnesota Vikings have two more picks today. . .at least, as it stands right now. They currently possess the 54th overall selection (second round) and the 86th overall selection (third round). So, who are some players that the team could target today? Well, let's take a look at Dan Kadar's updated Big Board and see if we can find five names to potentially keep an eye on in each round. Obviously, these aren't the only possibilities for our favorite team. . .just ones that I think match up with their needs.
Myles Jack, linebacker, UCLA - We know about the issue with Jack's knee injury, but it's still surprising to see him still on the board after Thursday's first round. The issue is, reportedly, not whether or not Jack is going to be able to come back, but how long he'll be able to play for. . .teams are apparently concerned that he has a degenerative knee condition and that his time in the NFL might be limited. Still, at this point, you'd have to think that he'd be worth the risk. . .even if he's only able to get through one NFL contract, he's the kind of talent that could move a defense from "good" to "great."
Andrew Billings, defensive tackle, Baylor - The word was that the Vikings told Billings months ago that if he was around at pick #23, they were going to take him. Obviously, that didn't happen, but there's a chance that he could be around at #54. If the Vikings were that interested in him in Round 1, it stands to reason that they'd certainly be interested in him in Round 2.
Su'a Cravens, linebacker/safety, USC - Cravens is one of those "tweener" prospects that can line up at either safety or linebacker, but seems to be more comfortable playing near the line of scrimmage. He sort of strikes me as the kind of player Shaq Thompson was last year. . .he doesn't necessarily have a position, but if you put him on the field, he'll make good things happen. The Vikings have needs at both linebacker and safety, and Cravens could swing between both.
Vonn Bell, safety, Ohio State - Or, if the Vikings don't want to play the "tweener" game with Cravens, they could take more of a pure safety prospect in Bell. He could potentially make a nice pairing with Harrison Smith if the Vikings should decide to take him with their second pick.
Derrick Henry, running back, Alabama - We've gone over Adrian Peterson's contract situation ad nauseum. . .he's due $18 million in 2017, and barring some sort of restructure, he's never going to see that much money. The Vikings could be interested in Henry as a part of a future "thunder and lightning" pairing with Jerick McKinnon, and allowing him to basically caddy for Peterson for a season would give him a chance to recover from the incredibly heavy workload he got in college this past year.
Jaylon Smith, linebacker, Notre Dame - Smith, like Jack, is another player that has fallen from being a potential Top 5 pick because of a knee injury, but Smith's situation is much more dire. He's almost certainly going to miss all of 2016, and there are fears that he may never play again because of potential nerve damage in his knee. If the Vikings had more picks laying around, they could take a flier on him, but it would be a big gamble. A gamble that could pay off huge, certainly, but a gamble in any case.
Nick Martin, center, Notre Dame - We've been high on Martin for some time, given the Vikings' situation at center. . .John Sullivan is coming back from injury and Joe Berger, his primary backup, is one of Minnesota's oldest players. I don't know if Martin is going to make it to #86 in the third round, but he'd be a great pickup for Minnesota if he did. He'd be starting at center sooner rather than later, and could certainly compete at guard in the meantime.
Jeremy Cash, safety, Duke - The Vikings will have to address the safety position at some point, and if they don't do it in the second round, they could look to a player like Cash in the third. Cash is more of a strong safety type, and if the Vikings were to bring him in, they would end up shifting Harrison Smith to more of a "center fielder" sort of role. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year this past season.
Shilique Calhoun, defensive end, Michigan State - Brian Robison is closer to the end of his career than to the beginning, and the Vikings could be looking to bring in someone that could potentially replace him in 2017 and beyond. As was the case with Danielle Hunter last season, Calhoun is a player that needs some refinement and could be brought into the rotation slowly.
Vadal Alexander, offensive lineman, Louisiana State - The Vikings have done a lot on the offensive line this offseason, but there's always room for more competition. Alexander, who had extensive experience starting at both guard and (right) tackle for LSU, is a powerful run blocker that would immediately provide solid depth at the very least and potentially end up as a starter for the Vikings sooner rather than later.