The countdown to the 2020 NFL Draft has reached single digits as of today, as we’re just nine days out from learning who the newest members of the Minnesota Vikings (and the 31 other teams that don’t matter as much) will be.
Over behind the great E$PN paywall, Mel Kiper. . .dramatic pause. . .Draft Expert has put out his latest mock, expanding things out to two rounds. That means three selections for the Vikings, and frankly I think Kiper does a pretty solid job. No trades in this one, so we can just tell you who he decided to take for the Vikings in this scenario.
We’ll start at #22, where Kiper fills the Vikings’ need at wide receiver with a guy that hasn’t gotten a lot of steam to this point in Arizona State wideout Brandon Aiyuk.
As I mentioned in my Mock Draft 3.0, the Vikings don’t have much at receiver beyond Adam Thielen. In a deep receiver class, they have to take one here or at No. 25. And in this scenario, I’m giving them one of the best playmakers in the class in Aiyuk, who averaged 18.3 yards per catch (and 31.8 yards per kickoff return) last season. Aiyuk is a great athlete who plays bigger than his 6-foot frame. He has an 81-inch wingspan, which is only an inch behind Calvin Johnson’s.
To finish up the first round, Kiper addresses the Vikings’ other major glaring need at cornerback with the selection of Jaylon Johnson out of Utah.
Again, Johnson doesn’t have a first-round grade on my board, but with length and athleticism he fits the profile of what Mike Zimmer likes in his defensive backs. Johnson is a bit of a wild card because he played the 2019 season with a torn labrum and had surgery in February, which means not every team will have a full picture on his rehab. He’d be a good fit in Minnesota, which lost Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander from last year’s team.
As we drop to the second round, Kiper addresses another need for the Vikings along the offensive line, tabbing Boise State standout Ezra Cleveland.
I gave Minnesota a wide receiver and cornerback in Round 1, so let’s fill out the Vikings’ list of weakest positions with an offensive tackle. Cleveland, who started 40 games at left tackle for Boise State, looked great in agility drills at the combine and ran a 4.93 40, the third fastest among offensive linemen. He’s not just a workout warrior, though; he has stellar tape. Cleveland could be the swing tackle in Year 1 for the Vikings or push left tackle Riley Reiff over to guard.
All three of the players that Kiper selects for the Vikings appear in our most recent Mock Draft Database as potential first-round picks for Minnesota, so to get all three of them is a pretty solid scenario for the Vikings. These three picks address what might be the three biggest needs the team has, and would allow them to use the other nine picks in their arsenal for this year on simply collecting talent without having to worry too much about positional needs.
What do you think of Kiper’s selections for the Vikings in his most recent mock, folks?