The 2020 NFL Draft is approaching - just inside two weeks to go - and this is the time when the smoke and mirrors about each team’s draft intentions starts to heat up.
For the Vikings, there hasn’t been much of a consensus on who they may take with their first round draft picks, but a CB, WR or OT are often connected with them. Beyond that, there isn’t too much to connect the Vikings to any particular player, but the Vikings have shown some interest in some players - either feigned or real - by meeting with them. The more recent meetings have been video ones, with coronavirus precautions in place.
But while not all draft prospect meetings indicate the Vikings may draft that player - some are simply kicking tires, some may go poorly and rule a player out, some may be feigned interest - most of those meetings are genuine due diligence and may result in that player’s name being written on a Vikings draft card at some point in the draft.
So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the players the Vikings have met with so far, arranged roughly by what day they could be drafted.
Links to their draft profiles are provided.
Potential First Round Draft Picks
The Vikings have met with a number of likely first round picks, including three of the offensive tackles likely to go in the first round:
These were all virtual meetings, except Wirfs also had a formal interview at the Combine. But with the possible exception of Josh Jones, these prospects are likely to get drafted ahead of the Vikings’ first pick (#22). It’s possible the Vikings could trade up to get one of these tackles, or perhaps draft one of them if they fall unexpectedly.
On the other hand, the Vikings are also reportedly interested in acquiring 7x Pro Bowler Trent Williams from the Redskins, should they feel the need to acquire a tackle, but for whatever reason don’t do so via the draft.
Wirfs and Becton, in addition to Andrew Thomas and Jedrick Wills, could go as high as the top 10 picks. Jones is described as needing a bit more polish, and so may not be an immediate upgrade over (presumably) Riley Reiff. It’s worth noting that none of the tackles drafted last year, including all those taken in the first round, had higher overall PFF grades than Reiff last season.
In addition to offensive tackles, the Vikings have also met with a few cornerbacks that are likely to go in the first round. They include:
Once again, these prospects could go ahead of the Vikings first pick, with the possible exception of Gladney, and so could require a trade up. Both Fulton and Henderson had formal meetings with the Vikings at the Combine, and Henderson and Gladney had video meetings as well. The Vikings also have expressed some interest in free agent CB Dre Kirkpatrick, as an alternative.
So far, these are the only likely first-round draft picks the Vikings have met. There are a couple border-line first or second round picks that I’ll include with Day 2 prospects.
But overall the Vikings haven’t met with a lot of first round picks (that we know about) compared to previous years, and especially considering they have two first-round picks this year. You can read into that what you will.
Potential Day Two Prospects
The (likely) highest round WR prospect the Vikings have met with is Denzel Mims. He is a borderline first or second round prospect from most sources I’ve seen.
The Vikings also have some tier-two tackles and cornerbacks they’ve met with that could go sometime during Day Two (2nd and 3rd rounds). The tackles include:
The cornerbacks include:
The Vikings are also rumored to be interested in Damon Arnette, although I haven’t seen any reports of the Vikings meeting with him. I believe the Vikings may have met with Trevon Diggs prior to trading his brother Stefon to Buffalo, and there have been reports that the Vikings are no longer interested in drafting Trevon, who’s draft stock has apparently dropped as of late.
Robertson is more of a slot cornerback, while the others are outside corners.
In addition to losing all three starting cornerbacks this off-season, the Vikings also lost their two key backups at safety, Andrew Sendejo and Jayron Kearse. That means they’ll need to replenish that depth - most likely via the draft. There are a few safety prospects the Vikings have met that could go sometime in Day Two:
All appear to be more strong safety types, rather than center fielder, free safeties.
Lastly, there is a defensive lineman the Vikings have met with that could also go sometime in the second day of the draft:
Madubuike is a versatile defensive lineman who could play 3 tech or 5 tech. Whichever position he played, he’d likely be an upgrade over the Vikings’ current roster. Lots of other teams interested in his services though, so it could be difficult for the Vikings to swing it. We’ll see.
Potential Day Three Prospects
There are also a bunch of likely Day 3, or UDFA, prospects the Vikings have met in the pre-draft process. A relatively focused set of players in terms of position group:
C Frederick Mauigoa
S Jeremiah Dinson
S Rodney Clemson
RUNNING BACK / FULLBACK
QUARTERBACK & WIDE RECEIVER TOO
The Vikings have enough Day 3 picks to draft nearly half the guys on this list, and the other half could be UDFAs, but just because they’ve met with them doesn’t mean they’ll draft them.
One name that stands out a bit is defensive tackle McTelvin Agim from Arkansas. The Vikings new assistant defensive line coach came from Arkansas, so that connection could make it more likely the Vikings draft him.
There are also some prospects the Vikings have met with twice - whatever you want to read into that. They include:
- CB CJ Henderson (Combine, video)
- CB Amik Robertson (Combine, video)
- DL James Lynch (Combine, video)
- G Kevin Dotson (video, private workout)
Once again, not a guarantee any of these players will be drafted by the Vikings, but there is at least something of interest, or need to clarify, with these players that generated another meeting.
Some Notes & Insights
- It’s notable that the Vikings haven’t met with any of the top interior offensive linemen, despite that being the glaring weakness last season along the offensive line. They have met with a lot of tackles, however, most/all of which are not the ‘will move inside to guard in the NFL’ type tackles. That is perhaps insightful into how they view their current roster in the offensive line group.
- I suspect trading for Trent Williams is the Vikings’ Plan A for upgrading the tackle position for a few reasons. First, Williams is Pro Bowl veteran in a group that features young players at every other position, assuming Reiff is released or traded for Williams. Having a veteran leader in each group carries some importance, typically, with the coaching staff and front office. Secondly, as an established veteran, OTAs/mini-camp is less important for Williams, and should it be shortened this year, that could negatively impact any draft pick’s rookie year performance. Third, in all likelihood the top tackles in the draft will be gone by #22, leaving the second-tier that are unlikely to be an immediate upgrade.
- Unless one of the top four tackles falls to the Vikings at #22, I doubt any of the other tackles will be the highest player on their draft board. I doubt the Day 2 tackles will be either, which makes it less likely they draft one if they don’t trade for Williams.
- It’s pretty much wide open who the Vikings may draft at WR. The fact that they’ve only met with two WRs is unusual given their need and a deep WR class. Probably just keeping their cards close to their chest on this one.
- I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings trade down with one or both of their first round draft picks, if the opportunity arose. They’ve met with a lot of potential 2nd round picks, and the first-round value of some of the more likely prospects available to them at #22 or #25 isn’t that compelling.
- A small trade up in the first round is also not out of the question either, if a highly rated prospect is still available into the mid- to late-teens, for example.
- I expect the Vikings to draft a cornerback every day of the draft, unless they trade back out of the first round with both of their picks.
- It’s also interesting that the Vikings haven’t met with any defensive ends to replace Everson Griffen, but they have met with some interior defensive linemen. That may provide some insight into possible changes defensively this season.
The Vikings have the 4th most draft capital in the league this year, thanks in large part to the Stefon Diggs trade. Fortunately, or perhaps with foresight, this happens to be the deepest draft for wide receivers in quite some time, so there will be a lot of good options for a Stefon Diggs replacement in this draft.
For cornerbacks, quarterbacks, offensive tackles, edge rushers, and interior defensive linemen, it seems a bit top-heavy. Some top quality at the very top of each position group, but after the first 3-5, it drops off. That could lead to more in these groups being taken in the first round, and perhaps more top quality wide receivers being available in round two. There could be a couple good value picks for defensive tackles later in the draft, however.
This is not a deep draft class for positions such as tight-end, safety and interior offensive line, the latter two being potential needs for the Vikings. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if there were no picks in these position groups in the first round. It’s not just that these are not deep position groups this year, it’s that the top end isn’t that great compared to other years. This year’s draft class at safety may have also influenced the Vikings decision on whether or not to keep Anthony Harris.
Be that as it may, the Vikings have plenty of draft capital to draft quality starters at CB, WR, and DT. Getting an immediate upgrade along the offensive line is probably a tougher task, given supply and demand, but not impossible. Still, the Vikings will have to prioritize, and best player available when the Vikings are on the clock in the first couple rounds may not be an offensive lineman.
Beyond that, the Vikings will also need to add depth at safety, as they currently have no safeties on the roster beyond Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris, although it’s possible CB Kris Boyd could be considered at safety too.
Overall, this draft is a big opportunity for the Vikings to improve their roster- more so than recent years because of the amount of draft capital available. Getting it right could keep the Super Bowl window open for the Vikings for another few years, while striking out could lead to a decline and rebuild in the coming years.
April 16, 2020 UPDATE:
Vikings have also reportedly met with the following prospects:
- G Robert Hunt (video)
- QB Jake Fromm (video)
- QB Jalen Hurts (Combine)
- CB Chris Williamson (video)
- C Matt Hennessey (video)
- CB A.J. Green (video)
- DT Kameron Cline (video)
- LB Shaun Bradley (video)
Of the likely Day 1 & 2 prospects the Vikings have met, which one are they most likely to draft?
This poll is closed
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