I told you that I wouldn’t be taking Easter off, ladies and gentlemen, and here I am with the latest iteration of a mock draft for the Minnesota Vikings. Once again, we’ll be using the fine On The Clock draft simulator from the good folks at FanSpeak. I’ll be going back to Matt Miller’s Big Board for this one. His board is the one I used for version 1.0 of my mock.
Just for kicks and giggles this time around. . .and because I saw a couple of people whine about it on social media. . .for this version of the draft, we are going completely trade-free. Just going to let the proverbial chips fall where they may and see what happens for us. So, let’s commence to drafting!
Round 1 - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Yep, still the best quarterback available.
So, upon reaching the Vikings’ first selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, here’s what we have on the Big Board for our favorite football team.
(Don’t let the green text fool you. . .I’m not taking Moreau. My Windows “Snipping Tool” decided to crash and that’s just where I happened to be clicking a the time.)
As you can see on the board, there are some pretty outstanding players that have fallen to Minnesota’s pick at #48. While Joe Mixon is tempting here, the running back class is deep enough where we can address that later on. At this spot, I look to where I’ve looked early on in all of these drafts. . .to the offensive line.
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Yes, I understand that Robinson had some off-field red flags come up, including charges for possessing a stolen gun, but the charges against him were dropped and Nick Saban had him going through extensive scrutiny during the rest of his time at Alabama, so I want to believe that’s behind him. As far as offensive tackles are concerned, Robinson is probably the most physically gifted one in this class. He gives the Vikings some flexibility, as he could play right tackle (and kick Mike Remmers inside to guard), or he could potentially play left tackle. He could even see time at guard. I think Robinson falling here is completely unrealistic, but it really would be a dream come true for the Vikings if he did.
We hit the third round, the first of two where we have multiple selections. As we get to the first one at #79 overall, here’s what the board looks like:
Elflein is tempting, and if he’s there when we select in a few more picks he might be the choice. However, for now I’ll go back to a player I took in the last mock.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
Again, another player makes a fairly unrealistic drop and lands in Minnesota’s lap. I talked about Kupp quite a bit in the previous mock, so I won’t go on about him again here. Sufficient to say, though, this upgrades Minnesota’s receiver group quite a bit.
The board hasn’t changed that much as we arrive at pick #86, and Elflein is still there, so. . .
Pat Elflein, C/G, Ohio State
For the third time in as many mock drafts for me, Pat Elflein is a member of the Minnesota Vikings. The selections of Elflein and Robinson mean that I can basically stay away from offensive line for the rest of the draft and focus on other areas.
Two more picks in this round, and here’s what the Big Board has for our consideration:
We’ve neglected the defensive side of the ball thus far, but that’s going to change with this pick. I seriously considered Williams here, but I don’t think he’s a guy the Vikings would target, given his multiple failed drug tests with the Crimson Tide and some injury issues. But, we will stay on the defensive line.
Nazair Jones, DL, North Carolina
With the Vikings’ defensive tackle spot looking to be in serious flux aside from Linval Joseph, Jones is someone that could have the ability to slot in and make a contribution immediately. He’s more of a run-stuffer than a pass rusher at this point in his career, but that’s something that the Vikings could use as a part of their defensive tackle rotation.
The board hasn’t changed much as we move on to the second of our two fourth-round selections, and now we’re back to the offense to address the running back situation.
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
Perine gives the Vikings some versatility in the backfield to work in a rotation with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, as well as an opportunity to become a featured back in the future. He can stay on the field for all three downs, and is one of the more solid blocking backs in this year’s class.
Now, we’ve got three more picks remaining as we move on to the fifth round.
Here’s what the current Big Board looks like:
Since we’ve basically ignored the defense thus far, let’s take a flier on a small-school guy that could pay some big dividends.
Lorenzo Jerome, S, St. Francis (PA)
Jerome is an undersized safety, but has the makings of a very good “center field” type of player at the position. He had 18 interceptions in his college career and was dominant, albeit at a lower level of competition. His contributions initially will likely be on special teams, but he has the potential to be a complement to Harrison Smith over the long-term.
I don’t have a picture of the updated Big Board for the sixth round, because I had a particular position I had selected rather than the overall Big Board and didn’t realize it because it was too late. So, since we haven’t addressed the linebacker spot thus far, we’re going to do that here.
Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Boulware was one of the emotional leaders on defense for the national champions, and figures to have a decent career ahead of him as a special teams ace. He has a chance to develop into a contributor on defense as well, but for now it would appear special teams are his calling.
Final pick, folks, and here is an honest-to-goodness final look at the Big Board.
At this point, FanSpeak says that our remaining needs are at guard and quarterback. Since we got two offensive linemen early on, let’s take a QB flier here at the end.
Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech
Evans has a lot of work to do to develop into a quarterback at the NFL level. That said, the physical tools he brings to the table are outstanding, and if the Vikings can take some time and develop him, they might have something special in a few years.
With that, here’s my final class for this iteration of my mock draft.
Round 2, #48 overall - Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Round 3, #79 overall - Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
Round 3, #86 overall - Pat Elflein, C/G, Ohio State
Round 4, #120 overall - Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina
Round 4, #128 overall - Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
Round 5, #160 overall - Lorenzo Jerome, S, St. Francis (PA)
Round 6, #199 overall - Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Round 7, #232 overall - Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech
Obviously, given the self-imposed trading limitations I had placed on this draft, I think this is easily the weakest of the three draft classes I’ve put together through the draft simulator. I think I got some pretty solid talent on Day 2, though, particularly in Robinson.
If you want to see how the entire draft played out, you can check it at this link right here.
I’ll have another mock up here again next Sunday, and probably one more during draft week leading up to the draft itself.