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What if the Vikings had listened to Mike Mayock?

How would he have fared as GM of the Vikings?

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

We mentioned the other day that former NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is now the General Manager of the Oakland Raiders. As a bit of a fun exercise, some of our fellow SB Nation football sites have taken a look back over the years and wondered what would have happened if Mayock had been the GM of their respective teams over the years and how different the team could, potentially, look.

Mayock started doing mock drafts in 2011, and put out exactly one every year a day or two before the actual draft took place. So, we’re taking all of the picks that he had for the Minnesota Vikings in those mocks and comparing them to what the Vikings actually did. I know that the Vikings did some moving around and trading and what not, and Mayock couldn’t really do that in his mocks, but we can do some comparisons anyway.

Here are the players that Mayock had mocked to the Vikings over the years:

Mike Mayock’s Vikings Draft Picks, 2011 - 2018

Year Player All-Pro Pro Bowl Starter Seasons Games Started
Year Player All-Pro Pro Bowl Starter Seasons Games Started
2011 Aldon Smith 1 1 4 37
2012 Matt Kalil 0 1 6 82
2013 Cordarrelle Patterson 2 2 0 29
2013 Sylvester Williams 0 0 4 63
2014 Justin Gilbert 0 0 0 3
2015 Devante Parker 0 0 2 31
2016 Laquon Treadwell 0 0 0 15
2018 Will Hernandez 0 0 1 16

And now, the players that the Vikings ended up drafting in those same seasons:

Actual Vikings’ Draft Picks, 2011 - 2018

Year Player All-Pro Pro Bowl Starter Seasons Games Started
Year Player All-Pro Pro Bowl Starter Seasons Games Started
2011 Christian Ponder 0 0 3 36
2012 Matt Kalil 0 1 6 82
2012 Harrison Smith 1 4 7 98
2013 Sharrif Floyd 0 0 2 24
2013 Xavier Rhodes 1 2 5 82
2013 Cordarrelle Patterson 2 2 0 29
2014 Anthony Barr 0 4 5 71
2014 Teddy Bridgewater 0 1 2 29
2015 Trae Waynes 0 0 2 39
2016 Laquon Treadwell 0 0 0 15
2018 Mike Hughes 0 0 0 2

Let’s do a comparison, year-by-year, shall we?

2011 - Yes, I know, Christian Ponder, blah blah blah. But, in comparison, I’m not sure if it would have been better or worse than the storm of fecal matter that would have ensued had Aldon Smith been doing Aldon Smith things off the field here rather than in San Francisco (and later in Oakland). On the field, it’s no contest. . .and it’s an equal “no contest” as far as off the field, too, just in the other direction.

2012 - Mayock got the pick right when he tabbed Matt Kalil going to Minnesota. He was named the consensus best non-quarterback in the draft that year by damn near everybody, and for at least the first year it looked like the smart pick. Of course, the Vikings trading back up into the back end of Round 1 to draft the man who would eventually become the NFL’s best safety was a great move, so that helps.

2013 - Like pretty much everyone else, Mayock had Sharrif Floyd going in the top 5. He also didn’t have Xavier Rhodes in his final mock draft anywhere. The “what if” questions about how Floyd would have developed if it hadn’t been for a botched surgery will linger for a bit longer, I guess, but Rhodes has been a solid pick despite his weekly brushes with death. Patterson has more All-Pro nods on his resume than anyone on this list, but obviously those were as a return specialist and not as a receiver.

2014 - Justin Gilbert is one of the bigger busts in recent memory, out of the league after just three seasons. As much as Barr has been up-and-down over the past season or two, you can bet he’s damn sure been a better football player than that guy. And speaking of “what if” questions, there’s Teddy Bridgewater. That’s going to linger on for a while, too. But, like in Floyd’s case, you can’t fault the GM for things not working out for him in Minnesota.

2015 - Mayock was one of the few that did not have the Vikings taking Trae Waynes, instead having the going with Devante Parker. (Say, did you know that Devante Parker played with Teddy Bridgewater in both high school and college?) Parker hasn’t been great for Miami, but Waynes has damn sure been pretty good for the Vikings.

2016 - Laquon Treadwell for both. Moving on.

2018 - In one that people are going to be debating for a while, it kind of looks like Mayock got this one right. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mike Hughes and think he’s going to be outstanding if he can recover from his ACL tear, but man. . .Will Hernandez was the name on the minds of a lot of Vikings fans going into the 2018 Draft, and it certainly would be nice to have him around now, I think.

So, there you have it, folks. For the most part, I think that the picks that the Vikings made turned out to be better than the ones Mayock would have made for them, but given how much circumstances could have changed, it’s tough to tell. Still, the comparison is an interesting one.