The Vikings are putting together quite the roster. They are staying true to their beliefs that the team can and will be super competitive. They do know better than most of us. Not me of course but that goes without saying amirite?
On defense, they have signed a former second team All Pro and two time Pro Bowl EDGE Za’Darius Smith who we hope will wreak havoc opposite Danielle Hunter. The potential is there and it is proven but there is reason to be cautiously optimistic due to his surgery.
They brought in LB Jordan Hicks to presumably play inside linebacker alongside Eric Kendricks. Hicks is solid and, most of all, dependable. He has played 61 of the last 65 games covering four seasons.
They brought in DT Harrison Phillips to replace Michael Pierce. Phillips is three years younger and although he is lighter he is still effective. This feels like a lateral move but was necessary salary cap wise. Phillips was beloved in Buffalo and his character and spirit is something to look forward to.
They brought in CB Chandon Sullivan who has played over 70% of the snaps as a slot corner the last two seasons. Regardless of his grade, if you even believe in that, he has excellent experience.
They brought in CB Nate Hairston who has modest playing experience in the regular defense and good experience playing special teams.
They re-signed CB Patrick Peterson which, at the very least, makes the cornerback depth chart complete before the draft. I hope he does well.
They signed CB Tye Smith who was on the practice squad last year.
On offense, they signed OG/OT Jesse Davis who brings solid experience at both tackle positions and right guard. He has started 72 out of the last 80 games. He presumably is going to compete for the right guard spot but more veteran experience on the offensive line was necessary.
They signed OG Chris Reed who also has solid experience. He has experience mainly at left guard but does have plenty of snaps at right guard.
They signed OG Austin Schlottmann who has experience at left guard and right guard mainly. He did get 42 snaps at center last year.
They signed TE Johnny Mundt to a modest deal. He brings knowledge of the offense and a modest amount of snaps played since 2017. He is recovering from a torn ACL last October but should be ready by training camp hopefully.
They also brought back QB Sean Mannion. I got nothing.
Overall, and thus far, it is a decent blend of experienced players that may still have upside. They needed players with actual experience though. They have navigated the cap well but will have tough decision to make next year. I think one theme I have noticed is that they have signed a lot of players that were released which does protect any compensatory picks they may receive. They may not really care about compensatory picks but I think there are a lot of GMs that value those picks and keep heed during free agency. According to overthecap, the Vikings are currently projected to get two 6th round picks next year for Mason Cole and Xavier Woods.
I still would like to see them sign a veteran safety. Bynum was solid in his two starts last year (week 9 & 10). Not sure he started week 16 as he only played 26 snaps. Not sure if he get hurt in that game either. I do not want to see the team give him the job because there is no competition. He could earn it easily but it looks like they are trying to create competition.
Right now, overthecap has the Vikings with $12,043,279 in cap space for 2022 and $17,808,280 for 2023. The 2022 cap space does not include the Chris Reed deal which is reportedly for two years. I imagine they could have one void year too but it probably is not necessary. I think it could come in around 1.2M to 1.5M per year which could make his affect on the cap about 400 to 700K.
The Vikings need about 4.3M to sign the rookies, 3.1M for the 16 practice squad players, and about 1.8M for the spot 52 & 53 in the top 53 salary cap calculated number. The current 12.043M number is based on the top 51 and stays into effect until the start of the season (if I am not mistaken).
By my calculations, without doing any other contract adjustments (Cook, Kendricks, and O’Neill) they have 2.5M left. Some teams like to have a little available in case they need to make a move because of injury or if a situation presents itself.
I think they can still sign a bunch more players at the minimum level deal or 300 to 400K more.
I still have hopes for safeties Terrell Edmunds, DeShon Elliot, Ronnie Harrison, or Armani Watts and I still have slight hopes for Akiem Hicks.
So, considering all that, what did I do for the mock draft at DRAFTTEK?
Packer get 12
Vikings get 22 & 53.
I wanted to swap a 4th for a 6th as well but the Packers GM was balking so I just said forget it and wanted to try out this trade.
1.22 : Jameson Williams WR Alabama
Hand: 9 1/4
Arm: 31 1/8
Wing: 75 7/8
Consensus mock draft #17
2.46 : Perrion Winfrey DL3T Oklahoma
Hand: 10 1/4
Arm: 35 1/4
Wing: 84 3/4
Consensus mock draft #51
2.53 : Boye Mafe EDGE Minnesota
Arm: 33 1/8
Wing: 81 1/2
Consensus mock draft #33
3.77 : Quay Walker ILB Georgia
Hand: 9 1/4
Arm: 32 5/8
Wing: 80 1/2
Bench: 23 (pro day)
20SS: 4.22 (pro day)
3Cone: 6.89 (pro day)
Consensus mock draft #57
5.156 : Zyon McCollum CB Sam Houston State
Arm: 30 3/4
Wing: 73 3/4
Consensus mock draft #157
6.184 : J.T. Woods S Baylor
Hand: 8 1/2
Arm: 32 3/8
Wing: 77 3/8
Consensus mock draft #153
6.191 : Pierre Strong, Jr RBC South Dakota St
Hand: 9 1/4
Arm: 31 7/8
Wing: 75 7/8
Consensus mock draft #144
6.192 : Zach Tom OT Wake Forest
Hand: 10 3/8
Arm: 33 1/4
Wing: 80 3/8
Consensus mock draft #253
7.250 : Daniel Bellinger TE San Diego State
Hand: 10 1/8
Arm: 32 5/8
Wing: 78 3/8
Consensus mock draft #172
In this draft, I wanted to get one of the top, if not the top, wide receiver in the first round. I think with the new offense that is going to feature a lot more 3 WR sets (11 personnel) AND with Thielen redoing his deal without a discount (he actually has ways to make more money included), the idea of taking another weapon is too tempting to pass up.
I realize that everyone wants another cornerback or an interior lineman but they have added players to both position groups in free agency and may still continue adding players. There are some nice corners still out there. Maybe they trade Bradbury or Wonnum or some other drafted player to the Dolphins for Noah Igbinoghene. Lots of options left to add to the cornerback group and, at this point, I personally prefer more experience.
Jefferson, Thielen, Williams, Osborn, ISM, and Bisi is a strong group. Very strong!
In the second, I went with a player I normally do not take but Winfrey would fit well as a 3/4 DE. He is explosive and while he may not have been as successful this past season he flashed at the Senior Bowl.
Boye Mafe will be popular here but he really did well at the Senior Bowl and tested great at the combine. Considering Smith is highly unlikely to see that third year of his deal which contains a base salary of 14.5M and a roster bonus of 5.5M and a cap hit of 21.67M, getting Mafe to groom and use seems like a good idea.
Quay Walker is kind of flying under the radar a bit but he is a very solid linebacker and would fit very well in the current defensive scheme as an inside linebacker.
McCollum tested through the roof and although he played at Sam Houston State, he has all the traits you want in a defensive back.
Woods is another great tester and the team does not safety depth specifically someone that can be deep and cover a lot of ground.
Strong will be another favorite here. I think they might take a running back considering Mattison is a free agent in 2023 and Cook’s contract could see him being moved next year.
Tom is the only offensive lineman I took and he is not even a center. I mean WTF is wrong with me? Well, that can be an entire separate story. Still, Tom started 13 games at center in 2019. Here is what it said on his Wake Forest bio.
Appeared in 48 games over the course of his career, making 37 starts including all 36 over the last three seasons...Over the course of his career, Zach Tom has played in 3,107 snaps and has gave up just two sacks.
Bellinger tested very well. He compares to Travis Kelce & Eric Ebron.
Kelce’s measurements at the combine ...
Hand: 9 5/8
Arm: 33 3/4
Well there it is. The latest version to mix it up. I know most Vikings fans are “need” drafters and would take any corner in the first round. The top remaining corner is probably what many would be happy with the team taking. I think they should take the best player at a position. Almost any position except dudes that put there foot on the ball. Save your jokes. Jameson Williams was/is the top WR on many draft rankings.
I like it!