Vikings Seven-Round Mock Draft 3.0
The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching, folks. We're less than a month away from finding out where all of your favorite prospects wind up and hearing about how every team in the NFL just added the group of pieces it needs to go to the next level.
But until April 23rd rolls around, let the mock drafts continue. It's been two weeks since our last seven-rounder, and a lot has changed. The Vikings dealt Stefon Diggs to the Bills, receiving an additional first-round pick, a fifth-rounder, and a sixth-rounder while losing one of their four sevenths. Rick Spielman now has 12 picks to play with, which should make for a fascinating few days of wheeling and dealing.
Diggs wasn't the only notable departure during free agency. The following players have signed elsewhere or will do so shortly: Everson Griffen, Josh Kline, Trae Waynes, Linval Joseph, Mackensie Alexander, Xavier Rhodes, Stephen Weatherly, Jayron Kearse, Andrew Sendejo, and Laquon Treadwell. Spielman has added a few free agents – Michael Pierce, Tajae Sharpe, and Anthony Zettel – and re-signed several others, but the Vikings still have a lot of work to do in this draft to reload on talent. Without further ado, let's get to mocking. As always, shoutout to The Draft Network and its incredible Mock Draft Machine.
We are once again going to refrain from doing trades in this mock, but we will definitely be bringing some trades to future mocks.
Vikings needs, in rough order: CB, WR, OT, IOL, DT, DE, S, QB, LB
Round 1, Pick 22: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Vikings currently have seven cornerbacks on their roster, and just two of them have started an NFL game. Those two are Mike Hughes and Holton Hill, who have a combined nine career starts between them. The cupboard needs to be restocked at Mike Zimmer's favorite position. The Vikings are almost certainly going to take a cornerback within the first two rounds, and if the value is there, I think they pull the trigger with one of their two firsts. Unless CJ Henderson falls, the two players who would likely warrant a late first-round pick are Fulton and TCU's Jeff Gladney. With Gladney off the board here, I think Zimmer and Spielman will happily scoop up Fulton, who is one of the best man-coverage corners in the draft. His athleticism, ball skills, and football IQ could help him contribute right away.
Round 1, Pick 25: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Jones was the pick at 25 when I did my first seven-round mock back in mid-February, and he's still the pick at 25 six weeks later. This would change if the Vikings found a way to land a trade for Trent Williams, but for now, he's the clear choice. Jones has great size and is a perfect fit for the Vikings' zone-blocking scheme because of his mobility. He needs some technical refinement as a pass protector, but that's something the Vikings coaching staff can work with him on. Jones was a top performer at the Senior Bowl against great competition, and has all of the tools to be a longtime starter and potential future Pro Bowler in Minnesota.
Round 2, Pick 58: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Plenty of analysts have the Vikings taking a receiver in the first round after losing Diggs, and that wouldn't shock me at all. But unless one of the big three – CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs – falls (which is highly unlikely), the best value at WR might be in the second round. I considered going with a tall, physical wideout like Donovan Peoples-Jones or Michael Pittman Jr., but ultimately couldn't pass on Aiyuk's big-play ability. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound ASU product is a phenomenal athlete who runs crisp routes, is dangerous in the open field, and has some impressive contested catch ability for his size. Aiyuk put up nearly 1,200 yards on 18.3 yards per catch as a senior. In real life, Spielman will probably have to trade back from 25 or up from 58 if he wants Aiyuk.
Round 3, Pick 89: Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
The Vikings double-dip at corner in their first four picks, this time grabbing a very exciting nickelback prospect to replace Mackensie Alexander. Here's what I wrote about him the other day:
Robertson has a very strong case as the best slot corner prospect in the 2020 draft. His combination of ball skills in coverage and competitive toughness as a tackler could allow him to become one of the best nickel DBs in the NFL at his peak. The 5'8" Robertson had 14 interceptions and 34 passes defended in his three-year college career, and has drawn comparisons to Tyrann Mathieu because of his playmaking ability. Robertson has good fluid mobility in man coverage, but his most exciting traits are his physicality and his feel for the game.
A cornerback group with Hughes, Fulton, Hill, and Robertson has plenty of upside.
Round 3, Pick 105: Nick Harris, IOL, Washington
Harris played mostly center for the Huskies, but he has experience at guard as well. The Vikings can't expect to rely on two of Pat Elflein, Dru Samia, Brett Jones, and Dakota Dozier becoming capable starters at the guard spots, which is why the release of Kline was a confusing one. Harris is an extremely mobile player who fits the Vikings' scheme and should be able to contribute early in his career.
Round 4, Pick 132: Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
After losing Griffen and Weatherly this offseason, the Vikings will be looking to draft a pass-rusher. Some national analysts have them taking a player like Yetur Gross-Matos or AJ Epenesa in the first round, but that's presumably because they're unfamiliar with Ifeadi Odenigbo. The former seventh-rounder broke out with seven sacks last year and looks ready to step into a starting role. Also, the last two pass-rushers the Vikings took in the first round were Erasmus James (2005) and Kenechi Udeze (2004), both of whom were colossal busts. My bet is Spielman takes the Griffen/Danielle Hunter approach and waits until the middle rounds to find a player with high athletic upside. Robinson fits that mold, as he has a quick first step and put up great numbers for explosiveness and agility at the combine. He's very raw, but Andre Patterson has a long track record of helping projects reach their upside.
Round 5, Pick 155: Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
The Vikings should be looking to take a receiver in the first couple rounds and at least one more towards the middle or back-end of the draft. Remember, WR was a need even before the Diggs trade. Davis has good height and length at 6-foot-3, and possesses excellent hands and ball-tracking ability that helped him be very productive in college. His lack of refinement as a route-runner, 4.54 speed, and a very deep receiver class are three factors that could push Davis into the fifth round.
Round 6, Pick 201: James Lynch, IDL, Baylor
The Vikings have enough needs that there's bound to be at least one that goes unaddressed for longer than ideal. In this mock, that happened to be the defensive tackle position, where they need an interior pressure creator to put next to Pierce. My last mock had the Vikings taking a DT in the first round, but here, it doesn't happen until the sixth. Lynch is Baylor's all-time sack leader with 22 over the past three years – including 13.5 in 2019 – but he's somewhat limited athletically. The hope will be that one of Armon Watts, Jaleel Johnson, and Lynch emerges as an interior pass-rush threat.
Round 6, Pick 205: Myles Dorn, S, North Carolina
Safety is another position that I would've liked to address earlier, but so it goes. The Vikings lost Kearse and Sendejo this offseason, so they need to replenish their depth at the position. Anthony Harris could still be traded, in which case this would become a much more pressing need. Dorn is an experienced player who had six interceptions over the past three years and can make plays downhill at line of scrimmage.
Round 7, Pick 219: Francis Bernard, LB, Utah
Bernard signed with BYU as a running back all the way back in 2013. After going on his mission trip, Bernard converted to linebacker and ended up transferring to Utah. He was first team all-conference in 2019, and has solid skills in play recognition and zone coverage. He'd likely have to carve out a role on special teams to make the roster.
Round 7, Pick 249: Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State
Taylor was a top-ten recruit in the entire country in 2016, but a lack of production in college and some injury concerns have rendered him an afterthought. The Vikings take a flier based on his former potential.
Round 7, Pick 253: Jake Luton, QB, Oregon State
I'm not sure if the Vikings will do it, but they could look to spend a late-round pick on a developmental QB. Luton stands 6-foot-7 and threw for 28 touchdowns with just three interceptions as a senior. He could compete with Jake Browning for the QB3 spot.
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