It’s another Monday here at your favorite website for Minnesota Vikings coverage, ladies and gentlemen, and that means we’re going to be getting into more Mock Drafts with the On The Clock simulator from FanSpeak. If you’ll recall, the last time I did one of these it was pretty uneventful, with no trades or anything along those lines. We’ll see if there’s any more excitement involved this time around.
I’m going to go ahead and change things up here a bit and use a different Big Board. This time, I’m going to use the one from Matt Miller over at Bleacher Report. It’s been updated fairly recently and should give us slightly different results than what we got last time. At least, I hope so. . .if we have the same mock draft twice in a row using different player ratings, that would be sort of weird. I’m also going to adjust the difficulty from “Classic” to “Difficult” to see if that changes things.
With that, let’s get things going!
Round 1, Pick #30
No trade offers as we get to our first selection, and the board has fallen a little strangely, in my opinion. Here’s how things look at this selection:
As you can see, if you compare to last week’s mock, the ratings for certain players on this Big Board are dramatically different. For example, Leighton Vander Esch is the #19 player on Matt Miller’s board, but was down at #93 on the FanSpeak board that I used last week. So, that’s going to make a significant difference.
Once again, I think it’s clear that the Vikings’ biggest need remains the offensive line, and I think I’ve made it clear that I would like to see the Vikings keep Mike Remmers at right tackle, so the focus should go to the interior. With that, I think I see a player that I like and could step in and be an immediate contributor.
James Daniels, C, Iowa
I understand that Daniels is largely thought of as a center, and for good reason, but he did see some time at guard for the Hawkeyes before they moved him to the pivot. That would give the Vikings some flexibility, as they could decide whether they like Daniels or Pat Elflein better at center or guard. Either way, Daniels has a very high ceiling, and is one of the youngest players in this draft class. . .when the 2018 season starts, he’ll still only be 20 years old (he doesn’t turn 21 until Week 2 of this NFL season).
So, we’ve started addressing the offensive line. Where do we go next?
Round 2, Pick #30 (Pick #62 overall)
Again, no trades. I’ve gotta be doing something wrong. I generally don’t like to offer trades since I’m never totally sure if I’m getting decent value or not, but maybe it’s something I need to start doing.
In any case, here’s the board:
Yuck. I don’t like this much at all. Ideally I’d like to use this pick to either continue addressing the offensive line or to improve the depth on the defensive line or in the secondary. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of any of the guys at the top of the board at those positions at this point in the proceedings. Frank Ragnow is tempting, but then you’ve got a whole bunch of guard/center combo guys, and that may or may not be what the Vikings are looking for. So, let’s take a guy that could be an asset to the Minnesota offense. . .and just happens to be the best guy available on the Big Board.
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Depending on who you talk to, Hurst is the best tight end in this class, and at 6’5” and about 250 pounds with a sub-4.7 40-yard dash, he’s the sort of player that could immediately present matchup problems for opposing defenses. He’s also a better blocker than a lot of people think, so he wouldn’t exclusively be a “flex” type of tight end. The one thing that people might not like about Hurst is his age, as he’ll already be 25 years old when the 2018 season starts (due to the fact he played a couple of seasons of minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization). Still, if the Vikings want an offensive impact player, Hurst would be a pretty good one to get.
Round 3, Pick #30 (Pick #94 overall)
Once again, no trades. I’m doing something wrong. Gotta be. I’ll figure it out for next week.
In any case, here’s how things look now:
Actually, from my perspective, this one’s an easy decision.
Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
Settle, if I can use some technical jargon, is friggin’ huge. At 6’3” and 335 pounds, he is a monster on the interior, and has pretty decent athleticism for a guy his size. I’d actually be surprised if he lasted this long in the actual draft, but since teams seem to downgrade 4-3 nose tackles today, I suppose there’s a chance it could happen. Settle can get after the quarterback as well, registering four quarterback sacks last season, so he might not be exclusively a “space eater,” either. I think he’s a bit of a steal at this spot, to be honest.
Well, since we don’t currently have a fourth round selection, the board is going to be radically different by the time we select again.
Round 5, Pick #30 (Pick #167 overall)
Now that we’re officially into the back half of the draft, let’s take a look at what our Big Board looks like:
There are a few intriguing running back prospects at this spot, and since the Vikings could use a third guy behind Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, I think that’s where I’m going to go with this selection. Let’s go with a guy that would, in my opinion, be a really solid fit in this Minnesota offense.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
Ballage is a bigger running back (6’2”, 200 pounds), but has a very diverse skill set for a guy that size. He’s a very good receiver out of the backfield, and also does a very good job in pass protection. He put on a very strong performance at the Scouting Combine as well. If the Vikings are looking for a guy to fill the role that Jerick McKinnon has had in this offense over the past few seasons, Ballage would be exactly what they’re looking for. He could potentially make an impact returning kicks as well.
Next up, we have the sixth round, where three selections await for us. Let’s see what happens there.
Round 6, Pick #30 (Pick #204 overall)
The updated Big Board looks like this:
I still haven’t address the cornerback position to this point in the draft, and there are a number of them at the top of the board the way things sit right now. That means it’s probably a good time to do that, so let’s see what we can find.
Tony Brown, CB, Alabama
Brown was a Top 10 recruit out of high school, and has some serious speed to burn, clocking in with a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at this year’s Scouting Combine. He’s very good in run support, and his calling might be as more of a hybrid safety/linebacker in the mold of a Tyrann Mathieu. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying he’s anywhere near that level or that he’ll ever get there, but that could potentially be his role.) He does have a tendency to gamble a little bit in coverage, but he’s got the sort of physical tools and instincts that I bet Mike Zimmer would love to try to mold.
Round 6, Pick #38 (Pick #213 overall)
The board really hasn’t changed a whole lot over the course of the last eight picks, so let’s see what we can do here.
Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami (FL)
Berrios is a bit on the smallish side, but could find himself in a role as a slot receiver in the long-term. In the short-term, he would likely take over as the Vikings’ punt returner in the event that Marcus Sherels departs (and we’ve already had a scare along those lines on social media this offseason). He might not ever be more than a gadget player, but at this point in the draft we’re just looking for talent, and Berrios has plenty of that.
Round 6, Pick #44 (Pick #219 overall)
Our second-to-last pick, and since we have one coming at the top of Round 7 as well, let’s take one last look at what the Big Board has for us.
We could use some linebacking help, so let’s grab one of those here.
Garret Dooley, LB, Wisconsin
Yeah, yeah, I know, Wisconsin and so forth. Dooley has some limitations, but could potentially make an impact down the track on defense and should at least be a solid special teamer right away.
On to the last pick!
Round 7, Pick #7 (Pick #225 overall, from Denver Broncos)
As much fun as it would be for me to see Mark flip out over the drafting of Texas punter Michael Dickson, I’ll pass on that here. There’s one player that, for whatever reason, is ranked at #245 on Matt Miller’s Big Board, though I’ve seen him projected to go much higher than that at most places. So, even though there’s absolutely no chance he’ll fall to this spot in the actual draft, I’ll take him here to round things out.
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
Again, there’s no chance this actually happens on draft day. I wouldn’t expect St. Brown to make it out of Day 2, to be honest. But, we got him here, so we’ll just roll with it. I don’t know why Matt Miller has him ranked so far down the board, to be perfectly honest with you. I might have to ask him on the Twitters or something.
But, that’s my version of a Mock Draft for this week. Next week, I am definitely going to see if I can get the trade issue fixed to try to bring a little variance to this whole thing. If you want to see how the entire draft shook out, you can check out all 256 picks at this link here.
See you back here next Monday for another mock, folks!