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Vikings Drafttek Mock from 012623

Is it officially mock season? It never ends!

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Vanderbilt v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

As we all know, the Vikings season came to a disappointing end with a first round playoff loss to the NY Giants at home. The defense was horrid to say the least. The offense was not as good as we would have hoped as well. The run game in particular was very ineffective as they only managed 61 yards on 16 attempts. The pass game was good since Cousins completed 31 passes on 39 attempts or 271 yards with 2 TDs and no picks. But, the offense just could not overcome the poor play by the defense and really needed to score on more of their possessions. It is a high bar for sure and probably unfair but with the makeup of this team and the defensive “prowess” that was the only way to advance. Sadly.

Still, all in all, it was much better to go 13-4 instead of 8-9, 9-8, etc. It gives a lot of reason to simply think they can tweak something here of there and run it back. The results could be similar with a better defense. That is the positive spin.

Starting off 24M over the cap could damper the enthusiasm a bit. There simply must be changes and some long time high paid players could get released. We would hope they could trade them but being 30 or over with a high salary is not something other teams want to take on while also sending back a draft pick (IMHO). That is one heck of a deal for those other teams and it is a surprise they would not gladly accept no?

Anyway, the mock drafts we do at Drafttek do not necessarily take into account any predicted changes the team could make. We simply have to take an “educated” (I use this word very loosely) guess.

Here is the latest iteration (posted on January 26th) of the Drafttek mock which does not allow for trades and does include an extra sixth rounder (the person who runs the site does his best to guestimate the comp picks and trade conditions which often change since we do not actually know all of the details) ...

Round 1 Pick 23 - Anthony Richardson QB Florida

Height: 6’3” Weight: 236

LSU v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Round 3 Pick 87 - Mazi Smith DL1T Michigan

Height: 6’3” Weight: 326

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 03 Big 10 Championship - Michigan vs Purdue Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Round 4 Pick 118 - Steve Avila OG/OC TCU

Height: 6’3” Weight: 334

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 24 TCU at SMU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Round 5 Pick 158 - DeMarvion Overshown LB Texas

Height: 6’4” Weight: 221

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 17 UTSA at Texas Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

R6 Pick 199 - Karl Brooks DL5T Bowling Green

Height: 6’4” Weight: 300

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange via Imagn Content Services, LLC

R6 Pick 209 - Sydney Brown S Illinois

Height: 6’0” Weight: 205

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 27 Wyoming at Illinois Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

R6 Pick 212 - McClendon Curtis OT/OG UT Chattanooga

Height: 6’6” Weight: 328

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Samford at Chattanooga

Here is a link to the Vikings page which includes a first round comment.

Basically, I said what I said above but included this ...

“Kirk Cousins’ decision to throw a check down when it was 4th and 8 or the season is over, shows that he just doesn’t have “it”. He is really good and when everything else around him is almost perfect he is one of the best passers in the NFL. Unfortunately, it will never be perfect and he simply must be able to buy time to make plays when things break down. The league is changing and Quarterbacks needs to have some mobility.”

... that is my thoughts about his play and by not taking a gamble on that last play of the season it illustrated clearly who he is and forever will be as a QB. It was NOT his fault they lost but I’d like to have my QB take a shot right there. Even his own teammate, Patrick Peterson, publicly stated this about that last play ...

“Going into that final play, when I saw it, the only thing I could think about, I was like, ‘He must have didn’t know what down it was,’” Peterson said on his podcast “All Things Covered”, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I haven’t heard his explanation about it as of yet. But on the sideline it just took me back because I was just shocked that we threw the ball three yards when we needed eight.”

Now, having said all that, it is more than likely to cause a lot of commenting and rehashing of the play that has been done here already. I cannot stop you and it is not my intention. I do these mocks for Drafttek and there could be Vikings fans that do not visit this site. So, I have to include my thoughts on the season and the final play. But why though? My first pick should be explanation enough.

The Vikings restructured Cousins’ deal last year and 2023 will be his last year under contract. It is the perfect time to take a gamble on a young QB who many believe possesses the highest upside. Anthony Richardson is a polarizing prospect in the NFL Draft community who has rare speed and athleticism for the QB position. By most accounts he needs to work on his accuracy and patience in the pocket. Some scouts believe he will need two years of development which could work very nicely for the Vikings since they have Kirk Cousins under contract for 2023 and could extend him a season or two more provided he accpets of course.

Richardson is similar to Josh Allen in build and his accuracy is just as bad. Allen had 25 starts to Richardson’s 14 so there is concern for number of starts.

Behind the paywall ...

Advanced stats reveal a peculiar split:

• On throws of 15-plus yards in the air, Richardson ranked 26th nationally in pass efficiency. He completed 48 of 103 for 13 touchdowns, four interceptions and 1,426 yards.

• On throws of less than 15 yards downfield, he ranked 105th.

... the touchdownwire article does a good breakdown of his season passing the ball.

The point is that the young man would benefit from sitting behind Cousins for a year or more while KOC tutors him on his mechanics. I am going to guess it is his mechanics that is causing inaccuracy. Although, sometimes I have to wonder (like with Allen) if the QB is simply trying to make plays and not willing to check it down or take a sack. You also have to look at their college receivers and backs. Florida does get good athletes and plenty of 5 star talent but they did not have a receiver in 2021 or 2022 that could that drafted besides maybe Justin Shorter this year (I hope he does though).

It is a gamble for sure and it would be pretty ballsy for Kwesi to eschew other “needs”.

Some players in this mock that went after Richardson were WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, CB Christian Gonzalez, WR Josh Downs, S Antonio Johnson, EDGE Isaiah Foskey, WR Jalin Hyatt, LB Noah Sewell, EDGE Andre Carter II, OC John Michael Schmitz (#37), DT Siaki Ika (#40).

There is plenty of valid arguments for taking any of these other players over a QB especially a project QB.

But, I like the way the rest of the mock went and we all know all too well how first round picks work out. JJ is the gold standard and Darrisaw could be there soon. Cine, Bradbury, Gladney (RIP), Hughes, and Treadwell show just how much a crap shoot it really is.

Mazi Smith started 27 games over the last two years and is the #1 player on Bruce Feldman’s College Football Freaks list.

Smith does 22 reps on the bench press, but that’s with 325 (not 225).

Note: he probably goes much higher.

Avila is a huge dude who played at center, right guard, left guard, and right tackle in his 34 starts.

Overshown has started the last 33 games over the last 3 years and too part in 8 other games in 2019.

Brooks has played in 51 games since 2018 and had an outstanding career. He is a big dude and could be too big for an edge rusher but looks like a very good 5 techinique candidate.

Note: he probably goes much higher.

Brown has played in 51 games since 2018 and was very productive for the Illini.

McClendon has played in 38 games and appeared in 48 games over his career.

Obviously, I need my head examined for NOT taking a cornerback in this mock. I think the team should add one free agent veteran corner (hopefully someone younger than Peterson) and should rely on Booth, Dantzler, Evans, and Shelley. Booth and Evans are Kwesi picks and Dantzler has proven to be effective (if used correctly) when healthy. Maybe they trade Dantzler? Either way, I do not necessarily think a rookie is going to make a huge difference and could struggle like all rookies.

No receiver is also questionable but even if they move on from Thielen, they have Osborn who is ready to step into the #2 role and Nailor should be given more of a chance especially after McCardell supposedly pounded the table for him last year. I have to trust Keenan’s judgment.

Well, there it is. Another mock that proves I am certifiable.

Enjoy the games today.