The picks have been rolling in for the annual SB Nation Writers’ Mock Draft, and we’ve reached the point where the Minnesota Vikings are officially on the clock. In case you haven’t been keeping track thus far. . .and, if that’s the case, shame on you. . .here’s how the first 11 picks played themselves out.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
- Detroit Lions - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
- Houston Texans - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
- New York Jets - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
- New York Giants - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
- New York Giants (from Chicago Bears) - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
- Atlanta Falcons - Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State
- Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
- New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks) - Drake London, WR, Southern Cal
- Washington Commanders - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Louisiana State
That brings us to our selection. The Stingley pick really threw things off for yours truly as I was all ready to make him the selection at No. 12. Cornerback is still, honestly, the biggest need for this team after the moves they’ve made in free agency, and Stingley would have been a great selection to pair with another former LSU great in Patrick Peterson for at least a season.
That meant having to go to the backup plan, and after considering at least a couple of other positions, I decided to stay with the cornerback position and take the next man up. On our board, that’s Washington standout Trent McDuffie, who is our pick at No. 12 overall.
The scouting report for McDuffie draws a direct comparison to a player Vikings fans are quite familiar with in Green Bay cornerback Jaire Alexander. Here’s what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has to say about McDuffie’s skills.
Three-year starter whose average size is overshadowed by skillful ruggedness, allowing him to contest throws from a variety of coverages. He’s an elite competitor with a route-hugging mentality fueled by body control, foot agility, aggression and burst. He’s a pesky press-man defender with the tools to excel in zone. He’s willing to fly downhill and hit anybody near the football. He keeps his eyes on the prize and has an itchy, twitchy trigger to close throwing windows and make plays on the ball. He lacks lockdown traits but has lockdown talent and his competitive energy is contagious. He can play outside or from the slot and carries a very high floor with the potential to become one of the league’s top corners at some point during his first contract.
One of the knocks on McDuffie is going to be his size, as he stands 5’11” and weighs 195 pounds. That’s significantly smaller than the two corners that have already gone off the board in our mock draft, but being small doesn’t always mean that a cornerback is going to have difficulties. The positives from McDuffie, from everything I can see, far outweigh the potential negatives, and with the Vikings’ need for talent at the cornerback position McDuffie seems to be a natural fit here.
There were a handful of other players I considered at this spot:
- Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa - The interior of the offensive line is still a point of contention for the Vikings, but new head coach Kevin O’Connell says that four of the five offensive line positions are set. He apparently wants to give Garrett Bradbury one more opportunity, and I don’t like the idea of drafting a center with the immediate idea of moving him to guard. If you want a guard, draft one later.
- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State - The wide receiver spot isn’t, on the surface, a screaming need for the Vikings. However, Adam Thielen isn’t getting any younger and it never hurts to have too many weapons on offense in today’s NFL. Wilson would have been the choice for me had I gone with a receiver here because, like Thielen and Justin Jefferson, he can have success from every spot in the formation and would give the Vikings a lot of flexibility offensively.
- Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia - We’ve seen a little bit of movement towards Davis for the Vikings in our Mock Draft Database recently. . .well, as much movement as we could realistically see for any player that isn’t a cornerback. The Vikings only have Dalvin Tomlinson under contract for one more year, and with Michael Pierce being released early on in free agency, they could use Davis’ freakish athletic ability in the middle of the defense in the future.
So, that’s the pick we’ve made for the Vikings in this year’s SB Nation Writers Mock Draft, folks. What do you think of the choice?
Best players remaining:
- Charles Cross, T, Mississippi State
- George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Bernhard Raimann, T, Central Michigan
- Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia