Welcome to another Minnesota Vikings-centric mock draft that we hope will leave you shaken, not stirred.
(Yes, I realize that the movie titles I’ve been using aren’t in any sort of order. That’s okay.)
Once again, it’s time for me to fire up the FanSpeak On the Clock mock draft simulator and put myself into the shoes of Rick Spielman and what he might do for the purple on draft day. Unlike Mr. Spielman, I’m going to put my shoes on after I put on my pants, because really. . .doing it the other way is just weird.
After my previous mock draft, I saw at least one comment asking if I could do a mock without trades. So, I’ll go ahead and do that for this one. This will probably be the only time I do a mock without trades, because I think it adds a little something when I throw them in. I’ll put the trade offers I received on here, but I’ll go ahead and ignore them and just make the selections for your Minnesota Vikings as they currently sit.
For this mock, I’ll go back to Matt Miller’s “Big Board,” since it’s the most recently updated in the FanSpeak database. When asked which Big Board the computer should use, I select “Random,” since each team’s board would be different, and continue to use the “Classic” difficulty level. I will also use FanSpeak’s team needs for the Vikings, which read as follows:
G, OT, EDGE, WR, TE, C, CB, RB, S
I don’t get any trade offers before the first round starts, but I do receive two as our selection comes on the board at #18. Here they are:
Ordinarily, I would be very tempted to take the offer from the Bills here. After consulting the trade chart from DraftTek, the 18th pick is worth 900 points, while the package of picks that the Bills are offering is worth 831 points, so I’d lose in that respect, but given the Vikings’ needs, I think the extra picks could present some real opportunity. But, true to my word at the beginning of this, I turn down both offers.
With that, the board currently looks like this:
I’m not totally sure why Matt has a running back rated this highly. but I’m certainly not in the market for a running back here. Jeffrey Simmons could, potentially, be a consideration here, but the ACL injury worries me as to how much he could contribute this season. While I understand that offensive line is the biggest need for this team, I can’t pass this guy up.
Round 1, Pick #18 - T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
In one of my other mocks, I selected Hockenson’s teammate, Noah Fant, with the Vikings’ first round selection, and in this scenario we get the guy that, quite frankly, is probably better. Hockenson has the speed, hands, and route-running ability to be an immediate contributor to the offense, and unlike a lot of tight ends that are coming out of the college ranks today, he’s also an outstanding blocker. I think that Hockenson would make Kyle Rudolph TE2 from the first day of camp and add a brand new dimension to the Minnesota offense, so he’s an easy pick here.
When our pick comes up in Round 2, I receive two more trade offers, and once again they’re both 4-for-1 swaps.
I’m not sure how keen I’d be to take either of these trades if I were trading in this mock. Dropping all the way out of the second round would be pretty significant, and unlike the trade offers I got in the first round, these picks don’t have nearly the value to make it that intriguing for me. So, we pass and move on.
Here’s what the board looks like:
The interior offensive linemen on Matt’s big board aren’t rated terribly high, it wouldn’t appear. Still, since it’s something that this team seriously needs to address, I’m going to take one here. There are only two on the board here, and I’m going to take the one that, at least in terms of where they’re ranked, might be deemed a bit of a reach.
Round 2, Pick #50 - Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
Bradbury is an outstanding athlete, having come to North Carolina State as a tight end and then converting to center. With the Vikings appearing poised to implement more zone blocking into their offense, there’s nobody that’s a better fit for that then Bradbury. This pick would almost certainly necessitate moving Pat Elflein to guard, but I think that would essentially mean the Vikings were upgrading two spots.
With that, we’re on to the third round. No trade offers come in before our pick at #81 overall, so here’s what the board looks like:
Well, let’s double up on the offensive line and put it in the rear-view mirror for the rest of the draft, shall we?
Round 3, Pick #81 - Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
I took Lindstrom in my last mock as well, and I now think that, coupled with the previous pick, I’ve done a pretty good job of fixing the offensive line. The starting front for the Vikings, after these picks, would probably look like this:
Riley Reiff - Pat Elflein - Garrett Bradbury - Chris Lindstrom - Brian O’Neill
I’m not sure which guard spots Elflein and Lindstrom would start at. If you want to flip them, that’s not an issue. But I think this constitutes a pretty significant upgrade on the interior of the offensive line, and now I can focus on the “best player available” from here on out.
No trade offers come in for our fourth round selection, and since this is going to be our last selection for a while, I’d better make it a good one. Here’s how the board has shaken out to this point:
Lots of running backs and wide receivers available, but that’s not really my focus at this point. I haven’t selected a defensive player yet, and with Anthony Barr likely gone, there’s a guy here that has the potential to be his replacement. . .perhaps not right away, but in relatively short order.
Round 4, Pick #120 - Terrill Hanks, LB, New Mexico State
Hanks played safety for the Aggies before converting to linebacker this past season. He’s got the size and speed to eventually be a very good weakside linebacker in the NFL, but he’s going to require a bit of coaching up first. In the meantime, he can serve as a core special teams player and contribute that way.
And now, we wait until the sixth round.
Once again, no trade offers come in, so here’s what we’re looking at now:
Let’s head back to the defensive side for a guy that isn’t listed as an “edge” here, but could project to that spot in the NFL.
Round 6, Pick #190 - Jonathan Ledbetter, DE, Georgia
I don’t know if Ledbetter would be the sort of player that the Vikings would consider, given that he’s had some off-field issues during his time at Georgia. Still, he would also appear to be the sort of raw talent that Andre Patterson and company could really mold given the opportunity. I’m not sure if he projects better as an edge player or not, but I’m sure the Vikings could find some sort of use for him.
When we get to our second pick in Round 6, the board has shifted a bit:
I was going to fill the running back spot here, but the guy I was targeting. . .Bruce Anderson of North Dakota State. . .went off the board with the pick right before ours. Damn. But, we’ll stay in the same conference.
Round 6, Pick #209 - Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State
Brown is going to require some seasoning, but he’s got the size and speed to be a decent man coverage corner in the NFL.
As we get to the final round, here’s the board:
Running back it is.
Round 7, Pick #247 - Wes Hills, RB, Slippery Rock
Honestly, I don’t know a lot about Hills at this point, but I know that he did run for a ton of yards and averaged about seven yards a carry this past season. He could get a look.
Last, but not least. . .
Round 7, Pick #250 - Cody Thompson, WR, Toledo
Because, hey, why not?
So, here’s the final list of who we wound up with in this trade-free mock.
Not gonna lie. . .I don’t know if this was one of my better efforts. I like the first three picks, obviously, but beyond that I’m not really sure how much I like it.
If you want to see how the entire draft played out, you can check all 254 picks right here.
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