I have been privileged to perform the role of “Vikings Analyst” by doing the mock drafts for Drafttek since December of 2019. All the different variations that I have on hand for this draft season are in this post here.
Most Vikings fans are obviously very worried about the offensive line. They do not know if there is a left tackle on the roster although most would say to put Ezra Cleveland at left tackle. That would be OK but leave one or both guard spots needed a player. I think the Vikings feel very comfortable with Mason Cole and they also brought back Dakota Dozier who would likely go into the “break in case of emergency” enclosure.
Rick Spielman had a press conference Tuesday, April 27th and there were some interesting quotes that we can dismiss or take seriously. I think he was serious about some points he made. Here are some of his quotes ...
“I will just say this, that there’s no position that is off-limits going into this draft,” he said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”.
“Right now we have four fourth-round picks, which does give you the ability to move back into the second round,” Spielman said. “To have the draft capital that we have, it gives us a lot of flexibility, hopefully, to be able to move up in the draft if we want to go do that.”
“A lot of people are going to wait and see what players are on their draft board and if they’re willing to move up or down. We started our process of going through scenarios, we’ve looked at scenarios on if a specific player was falling in the top ten, do we go up and get that player? We’re going through what the potential cost of that would be. We’re also looking at if we are at 14 and if the board there, we have two or three players that we still think we can get, like we’ve done in the past, trading back, picking up some more draft capital. So we have the flexibility of moving up and down through the draft.”
“I don’t take it very serious at this time [when people say], ‘Hey, if our guy’s there, would you be willing to trade back?’ We haven’t been really making any active calls on trying to trade up, either. I think a lot of that evolves as the draft process goes on Thursday and throughout the draft – depending on who’s on the board and how teams covet players.”
“We think it’s a pretty deep draft class [in terms of offensive linemen]. Just like every position, I think there’s quality throughout this draft. Through the first three rounds and maybe into the fourth round on getting some potential starters for us up front — or at least creating competition. We spent a lot of time and listened to the coaches on scheme fit.”
I think these quotes give us a brief glimpse into what he could possibly consider during the draft. The first and the last quotes are the ones I truly believe.
So, what did the Vikings do in this mock?
1.14 MICAH PARSONS LB PENN STATE
In this mock, the top three Tackles are gone. Ideally, the Vikings would receive a few offers from teams wanting to trade up. Since I believe the Vikings are very serious about taking the best player available, that player is Micah Parsons. Why pick Micah though?
Anthony Barr, who turns 29 in March, agreed to restructure his contract which eliminated the remaining years making him a free agent in 2022. Eric Kendricks turns 30 next February and has cap hits of 13.53M in 2022 and 11.43M in 2023. The Vikings could be very thin at LB next year. This would set them up for at least another couple of years after this season at the linebacker position.
Parsons ran a 4.36 forty, broad jumped 10’6”, vertical jumped 34”, and had an elite 3-cone at 6.96. He is an excellent blitzer which plays right into what Zimmer wants at times. He is too talented to pass.
The other options were Kwity Paye, Caleb Farley, Mac Jones, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Sam Cosmi to name a few.
3.78 WALKER LITTLE OT STANFORD
Little has not played football since the first game of 2019 which is likely the reason he lasted this long. He tested fairly well which showed that while he is not the best athlete, he is athletic enough. He is talented and, if healthy, could prove to be a steal. it does worry me that he has not played but that is why you get him in the third round. If the Vikings can also sign Eric Fisher to a one or two-year deal then this could be perfect. Have Little developing until Fisher is bid adieu.
3.90 MILTON WILLIAMS DT LOUISIANA TECH
Williams is very athletic and had 10 sacks in 23 games over his final two seasons. He had a 9.96 RAS score, ran his 40 in 4.63 seconds, his 20-yard shuttle in 4.33 seconds, and his three-cone drill in 6.96 seconds. Plus, he put up 34 reps on the 225-pound bench press. Since the Vikings signed Tomlinson and have Pierce, a penetrating defensive lineman could be exactly what they need on passing downs. Could he be the closest thing to Aaron Donald? You tell me.
Aaron Donald, 2014 combine: 6’1, 285 lbs,
4.68 40-yard dash, 32” vertical, 35 reps on the bench, 9’8 broad, 7.11 three-cone, 4.39 short shuttle
Milton Williams, 2021 pro day: 6’3, 284 lbs,
4.67 40-yard dash, 38.5” vertical, 34 reps on the bench, 10’1 broad, 6.96 three-cone, 4.33 short shuttle
4.119 AARON BANKS OG NOTRE DAME
Banks may not be the best fit for the zone blocking scheme but he has started 31 games in a solid program. He should be able to handle power fairly well. A fine fellow member of the DN posted a very good article about guards. Banks is not high on his list but he is on my list. I prefer someone who can stop bull rushes more often than not.
4.125 CAMERON SAMPLE DE TULANE
Sample is not the most athletic but he is powerful. He really did well at the Senior bowl dominating in one-on-one drills during Thursday’s practice. In the game, Sample won Defensive MVP, logging a game-high seven total tackles, a half-sack, and 0.5 tackles for loss. he is a player the Vikings met with and would be another nice developmental prospect.
4.134 JAELON DARDEN WR NORTH TEXAS
Darden is fast and extremely quick. He is able to threaten defenses from all three levels. He had 74 receptions for 1,190 yards and 19 TDs in 2020. He had 76 receptions for 736 yards and 11 TDs in 2019. His carrer stats from the slot are 2010 recptions for 2,493 yards with 1,377 YAC, abd 33 TDs. This is first amongst draft eligible wide receivers. He has returened punts and kickoffs too.
5.143 BENJAMIN ST-JUSTE CB MINNESOTA
He is tall and long with 32” arms and a wingspan of 80 1/4”. He could be a great fit as a press-man corner.
5.157 DAVIS MILLS QB STANFORD
Mills is a good athlete but nothing extraordinary. He has the prototypical build for a QB and has a steady demeanor according to scouting reports. His projections are all over the board and some think he can get selected in the first round.
5.168 JAMAR JOHNSON S INDIANA
Johnson is experienced in the slot and deep which can only help the Vikings defense. He has risen up boards lately so he may not be available in the 6th round.
6.199 JACOB HARRIS WR CENTRAL FLORIDA
Harris is a tall fast receiver who had a really impressive pro day which likely will get him drafted. At this point in the draft, it was worth it to get a tall receiver.
Here is a link to players the Vikings met ...
1.14 MICAH PARSONS LB PENN STATE 6’3.1” 246
3.78 WALKER LITTLE OT STANFORD 6’7.3” 313
3.90 MILTON WILLIAMS DT LOUISIANA TECH 6’3” 284
4.119 AARON BANKS OG NOTRE DAME 6’5.3” 325
4.125 CAMERON SAMPLE DE TULANE 6’2.6” 267
4.134 JAELON DARDEN WR NORTH TEXAS 5’7.5” 174
5.143 BENJAMIN ST-JUSTE CB MINNESOTA 6’3.2” 202
5.157 DAVIS MILLS QB STANFORD 6’3.6” 217
5.168 JAMAR JOHNSON S INDIANA 6’2.2” 205
6.199 JACOB HARRIS WR CENTRAL FLORIDA 6’5” 219
Well, there you have it. The drafttek mock is tough without being able to do any trading.