With the NFL regular season officially in the books, our attention officially turns to the 2017 NFL Draft and who the Minnesota Vikings will be adding out of the college ranks before the start of next season. The team doesn’t have a first-round pick. . .at least as things stand right now. . .but they do have eight other selections, including five in Rounds 2-4. That means they can still add plenty of talent if they play their cards correctly.
Who are some of those players? Well, a couple of our close, personal friends (™ Sid Hartman) have put together some mocks that go beyond the first round, and therefore include our favorite team in the process.
We start with Dan Kadar from SB Nation’s own Mocking the Draft. Hot on the heels of the Super Bowl, he has a three-round mock, meaning he has three names projected to the Vikings. The first player he has the Vikings taking is at the team’s biggest position of need, as he has them taking Pitt offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty.
The Vikings haven’t been able to find consistency at left tackle, and that’s what a four-year starter like Bisnowaty can provide. He can struggle against speed rushers at times, but the hope would be that he can be coached up in that area and let his excellent technique take over.
Bisnowaty would be a pretty solid pick at the Vikings’ spot in the second, in my opinion. This isn’t a time where Rick Spielman can get cutesy and take “project” offensive linemen. He needs a guy that can step in and start and be productive, and a four-year starter like Bisnowaty can be that sort of player.
With their two third-round picks, Kadar has the Vikings taking Notre Dame defensive tackle Jarron Jones. He appears to be a bit higher on Jones than the folks at CBS Sports, who have Jones rated as their 135th overall player. However, according to their profile on him, the 6’5”, 315-pound Jones has some upside.
A first-round pick on paper, Jones doesn't consistently play up to that level and the injuries are something the NFL will certainly need to take into account when grading Jones. When healthy, however, he has shown flashes of being a difference-maker in the middle.
The Vikings have had plenty of success recently with mid-round defensive linemen, so maybe they could do something with Jones.
With the first of the two picks they acquired from the Miami Dolphins, Kadar has the Vikings taking a running back, Oklahoma star Samaje Perine. Perine is listed at 5’11” and 235 pounds, and split time with the embattled Joe Mixon in the Sooners’ backfield in 2016. He also set the NCAA’s single-game rushing record in 2015, when he ran for 427 yards. . .that’s four hundred and twenty-seven. . .against Kansas.
Not to be outdone, Matt Miller over at Bleacher Report has already put together a seven-round mock draft. Miller doesn’t offer any commentary for his picks beyond the first round, but here’s who he has the Vikings taking for the entire draft.
- Round 2 (#46 overall) - Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
- Round 3 (#78 overall) - Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
- Round 3 (#86 overall, from Miami) - Pat Elflein, C/G, Ohio State
- Round 4 (#118 overall) - Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming
- Round 4 (#126 overall, from Miami) - Amba Etta-Tawo, WR, Syracuse
- Round 5 (#159 overall) - Zach Banner, G, Southern California
- Round 6 (#200 overall) - Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
- Round 7 (#237 overall) - Corey Smith, WR, Ohio State
Not afraid to tell you. . .if the Vikings were to land Feeney, Garcia, and Elflein in the first three rounds on this draft, I would likely find myself unable to locate my pants. I said that this team needs offensive linemen that could step in and start right away, and those three players would all fit that description. Sure, there might be some growing pains, but all of those players would offer significant upgrades in talent from what this team has along the offensive line now.
We’ll see if we can’t find a couple more mock drafts over the course of the next few days for everyone to chew on for a while.