We’re a little less than four weeks away from the 2017 NFL Draft, so it’s finally time for me to start getting into the mock draft game for the Minnesota Vikings myself. I can’t let Ted and Mark have all the fun when it comes to the draft, so I’m going to jump in here as well.
Like Ted, I’m going to be doing my mocks using the On The Clock feature from the folks at FanSpeak. And, yes, I did spring for the Premium version so that there can potentially be trades. In the interest of full disclosure, when it comes to trades I generally just wait to see if anyone wants to let me trade down. . .not so much trading up.
These are drafts that I’ll be doing live, no take-backsies, and offering my commentary on as I do them. For this particular mock, I will be using the “Big Board” put together by Matt Miller from Bleacher Report. With that, away we go!
I did not receive any trade offers from anyone for my selection, the 16th pick in the second round, so I was staying at that spot. When my time came up, here’s what the board looked like.
In his interview at the Annual Meetings, Mike Zimmer said that the team had four of the five offensive line starters figured out, with the exception coming at right guard. Hey, there’s a guy there that we can plug directly into that spot!
Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
Feeney split time between tackle and guard with the Hoosiers, but he’s pretty much regarded as a guard at the NFL level. He’s equally adept as a run blocker or a pass blocker, and would presumably become the starting right guard as soon as his name was announced. He could probably play the left side if needed, but the Vikings have Alex Boone at that spot, so he’ll play on the right.
Again, no trade offers have come in, so I’m sticking at the 15th pick in the 3rd round. Here’s what the board currently looks like.
I know. . .you’re saying to yourself, “he can’t take offensive linemen with his first two picks, can he?” Oh, yes. . .yes, he can.
Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
With the selections of Feeney and Elflein, the Vikings’ offensive line revamp would be well on its way to success. Elflein made 26 starts at right guard before moving to center in his final year for the Buckeyes, so he has some positional flexibility. He would likely serve as Joe Berger’s backup for this year, and possibly as the top backup at the guard spots, before taking over the center spot full-time in 2018.
The board hadn’t changed that much in the next seven spots, but I did receive two trade proposals from a couple of AFC West rivals.
Both of these are four-for-one swaps, and I’m not sure that I could see either of them happening in real life or anything. The trade with the Broncos would allow me to stay in the third round, but the picks in the subsequent rounds are all much lower. The deal with the Chargers would give me a whopping nine “third day” selections (three fourths, two fifths, two sixths, and two sevenths), which seems like the kind of thing that Rick Spielman would do. . .so, I accepted the Chargers deal and sat out until Round 4.
I did receive a couple of trade proposals for the pick the Chargers had sent me, but I didn’t find either of them particularly intriguing. . .mostly because a player I still wanted to grab was on the board.
I turned both deals down, and this is what the board looked like at the time.
I really, really want to take Pocic here, but after Feeney and Elflein, a third straight offensive lineman would be overkill, I suppose. So, we hit another position of need for the Vikings.
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
Ten years after the Minnesota Vikings selected a running back from Oklahoma, they head back to the well again. Perine would become a part of the running back rotation with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, and at 5’10” and 235 pounds might immediately become the Vikings’ best goal-line option (despite Murray’s prowess in that area). He’s got some work to do as a pass catcher and pass blocker, but that sort of thing is coachable.
No further trade proposals as we hit the second of the Vikings’ (now) fourth-round picks. The board hasn’t changed that much, and Pocic is still sitting there. . .if he’s there with the Vikings’ next pick, I’m taking him, but for now we switch focus to the defense.
Tyus Bowser, DE/OLB, Houston
Bowser strikes me as a similar player to Danielle Hunter. He’s a freakish athlete, but needs some refinement in his abilities as a pass rusher. Mike Zimmer and company did the job with Hunter, and I think they could do similar work with Bowser. He could bounce between being an outside linebacker and putting his hand in the dirt in passing situations, but he seems like a Zimmer type of player to me.
We get to the last of the Vikings’ fourth round selections. . .and, true to my word, here we go.
Ethan Pocic, OL, Louisiana State
Seriously, if you’re going to leave the guy sitting out there this long, he’s a ridiculous steal. Pocic was one of the top centers in college this past season for LSU, and like Elflein has the versatility to play guard. If the draft actually played out this way, the Vikings wouldn’t have to worry about the interior of their offensive line for a long, long time.
As we hit the fifth round, there are no proposals coming in for the pick we got from San Diego, so here’s what we’ve got on the board.
Whoever the Vikings’ quarterback is going to be in 2017, they need some more weapons, so let’s take the top guy left at the position.
Malachi Dupre, WR, Louisiana State
Dupre didn’t put up huge numbers in college, but in his defense the LSU passing game was pretty awful. Given his size (6’3”, 190) and his physical ability, he certainly has a chance to be one of those players that’s a more productive professional receiver than a college receiver. He could immediately get some red zone looks as well, thanks in large part to his leaping ability.
No trades coming in for the Vikings’ next selection, and here’s what the new board looks like.
A lot of wide receivers on there, but we just filled that spot. Neither of the safeties that are on there really intrigue me, so let’s go with the hometown guy.
Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota
The Vikings could still use some depth in the secondary, sure, but Myrick’s initial calling would likely be to slot into Cordarrelle Patterson’s place as a kickoff returner. He was solid in that role for the Golden Gophers, and blew everyone away with his speed at the NFL Scouting Combine. His special teams skills will allow him to contribute right away while allowing him time to develop as a defender.
We’re at the top of the round once again, thanks to the earlier deal with the Chargers. Here’s what the board looks like.
No trade offers come in, and I don’t think I would have taken them anyway, because there’s a player that’s another steal that I want in this spot.
Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida
I have no idea how Anzalone managed to fall this far, but he’s an absolute steal at this spot. He had some durability issues in college, and missed some games in 2016 with a shoulder issue, but he’s someone that would definitely compete for the right to replace Chad Greenway at the weakside linebacker spot.
The board hasn’t changed a whole lot as we move to the second of our two sixth-round selections, so let’s fill the Vikings’ need at the safety spot.
Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson
Johnson was an all-ACC performer at Clemson this past season, and though he only started one season at the college level, there’s definitely the potential for him to do more. I’m not totally sold on the Vikings’ safety depth behind Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo, so here’s someone else that could find himself in the mix relatively quickly.
Two more selections to go for the purple in this mock, and here’s what the board looks like as we hit the top of the 7th Round.
I know we did the receiver thing earlier, but there’s a guy I don’t want to pass up here.
Ardarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
Much like I said about the Anzalone pick, there’s no reason for a player of Stewart’s quality to be available at this point in the proceedings. He’s pretty physical for a guy his size, and his biggest issue seems to be a case of the dropsies. But, in the seventh round, we can take a shot on a guy like that, so here we are.
Now we’re down to our final selection, and the sim says we still need to address the quarterback spot, so let’s go ahead and do that.
Cooper Rush, QB, Central Michigan
There really isn’t anything fancy about Rush, and he doesn’t have the greatest arm out there, but at the very least he can get a shot to compete with Taylor Heinicke to see who the Vikings want to attempt to develop as a #3 quarterback behind Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater (when he gets healthy) and Case Keenum (until Bridgewater is 100%).
So, with that, here is the final 11-member class for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 Draft (at least when I did it).
Not gonna lie. . .I think I did a pretty decent job here. I’ve solved the Vikings’ interior line issue for at least the next 4-5 seasons, gotten some pass catchers with decent potential, and some potential diamonds in the rough on defense.
If you want to see how the entire draft played out, you can do so at this link.
I’ll probably be doing quite a few more of these as we get closer to draft time, and the big boards will change, so we’ll see how everything plays out.