Vikings Seven-Round Mock Draft 4.0: Two Trades in the First Round
In each of my first three seven-round mock drafts, I stuck to the standard, traditional formula: when it's the Vikings' turn to make a selection, I make it and then write about why I went with that player. No trades. The amount of picks has changed each time, first with the addition of compensatory picks and then due to the Stefon Diggs trade, so I wanted to get a feel for how those events affected the overall draft outlook for the Vikings.
That changes now. There were a record 40 trades during last year's draft, which broke the record of 38 from the previous year, which had broken the record of 37 from the previous year. They're an essential part of the equation. That's especially true for the Vikings under Rick Spielman, who is a notorious draft-day wheeler and dealer. Spielman made six trades last year, bringing his total to 32 in eight years as the team's general manager.
So I went into this latest mock looking to make some moves. I'm not trying to exactly predict any trades Spielman might make, because that would be a hopeless venture. Rather, this mock draft aims to present a look at what several fair, reasonable trades could look like over the course of a draft. For each deal, I used this value chart made by Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit, which has been shown to accurately reflect real trades over the past few years. And as always, I used The Draft Network's Mock Draft Machine to make it all happen.
Without further ado, I present InsideTheVikings' Mock Draft 4.0, featuring five – count 'em, five – trades.
Trade No. 1: MIN sends picks 22, 89, and 155 to DEN for pick 15
Spielman is known for trading back and accumulating picks, but he's never come into a draft with 12 selections already at his disposal. Add that to the consensus that there's a solid dropoff after the top four offensive tackles, top three wide receivers, top two cornerbacks, and top two defensive tackles in this year's draft, and I think there's a real chance the Vikings could look to move up and grab a blue-chip prospect.
Given the remarkable depth of the receiver and corner classes, it may not make sense to trade up for either position. But if Javon Kinlaw or one of the big four offensive tackles starts to slip, Spielman could be tempted to make a move. In this simulation, that's exactly what happened. One of the OTs slid out of the top 14 picks, so I packaged 22, 89, and 155 (total value on the trade chart: 310) to move up seven spots to No. 15 (value: 315).
Round 1, Pick 15 (via DEN): Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
It's clear that the first four tackles off the board will be Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, and Mekhi Becton. What's unclear is the order in which that will happen. One factor that could conceivably cause Wills to slide is that he's the only one of the four who exclusively played right tackle in college. That's not a concern for the Vikings, who are thrilled to land a top-ten player in the draft. Wills is an elite pass protector who has more than enough athleticism – his 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump are all above the 90th percentile for offensive linemen – to fit in Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme. Both Wills and Brian O'Neill could move to the left side, but we'll figure that out later. In Wills (who turns 21 in May) and the 24-year-old O'Neill, the Vikings are set at tackle for a long time.
Note: I'd probably make this same move for Wirfs, Thomas, or Becton, and I might even be tempted to explore a deal with the 49ers at 13 if that was needed to get one of the big four.
Trade No. 2: MIN sends picks 25 and 201 to LAC for picks 37 and 71
After using one of my third-round picks to go get Wills, I elected to trade back and recoup a third-rounder. Even if the Vikings don't move up in the first round, trading back with one of their first two picks might make sense because of how many potential starters can be found on Day 2 this year, especially at receiver and corner. Here, I packaged picks 25 and 201 (value: 234) to the Chargers for picks 37 and 71 (230).
Round 2, Pick 37 (via LAC): Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
With the 37th pick, the Vikings get a receiver who they may have been looking at late in the first round anyways, while securing an additional Day 2 pick. Reagor is an explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands; he had two kickoff return touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in addition to his 22 receiving scores in three years at TCU. Reagor's production dipped last season while he dealt with some truly awful quarterback play, but he has all the physical and technical traits to be a star in the NFL. Even at 5-foot-11, Reagor can win as an outside receiver because of his route-running and contested-catch ability.
Round 2, Pick 58: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Considering the current state of the Vikings' cornerback room, it might seem odd to wait this long to address that position. But the second tier in this year's corner class is deep. After Jeff Okudah and CJ Henderson, there are seven or eight players in that next tier, and there's not a ton of separation between No. 3 and No. 10 on the list. As long as the Vikings get at least one player from that group, they'll be okay. Arnette is a talented, physical corner who shines in press coverage. A redshirt senior, Arnette could transition quickly to a starting role in the NFL.
Trade No. 3: MIN sends pick 71 to DEN for picks 95 and 118
I don't love the value on the board when the second Chargers pick rolls around at 71. So the Vikings trade back a second time, and we're doing business with the Broncos again. I flip 71 (value: 68) to Denver for 95 and 118 (total value: 63) for my third trade in the draft's first two days.
Round 3, Pick 95 (via DEN): Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
Having landed an OT, WR, and CB so far, the Vikings have a lot of flexibility with this pick. Ultimately, it was an easy call. The Vikings need defensive end depth after losing Everson Griffen and Stephen Weatherly, and Zuniga perfectly fits their philosophy of taking raw, athletic pass rushers in the middle rounds. He's the most obvious candidate to be the Danielle Hunter of the 2020 draft; Zuniga's college sack numbers don't leap off the page, but his 4.64 40, 127-inch broad jump, and 29 bench press reps do. If anyone can help him reach his sky-high ceiling, it's Andre Patterson.
Round 3, Pick 105: Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
I took Robertson with the 89th pick in Mock 3.0, so I was happy to land him at 105 this time around. The best pure nickel corner in the draft, Robertson is a ball-hawking, hard-hitting playmaker who seems to have no idea he's 5-foot-8. He dominated in Conference USA, recording 14 interceptions, 34 pass breakups, and 23 tackles for loss during his three-year career. What stands out most when watching Robertson is the fearless toughness he plays with. That's a trait not everyone has, and it's something Mike Zimmer will love about him. He can get over-aggressive at times, but his mentality helps him a lot more often than it hurts him. Robertson's ceiling is some combination of Antoine Winfield Sr. and Tyrann Mathieu.
Trade No. 4: MIN sends pick 118 to JAX for picks 137 and 189
Surprise! We kick off Day 3 with a third trade down, as Spielman wants to make sure no one forgets about his brand. This is a less dramatic reenactment of last year's third round, when he traded down four times and almost made it seem like he was refusing to ever make a pick. We send 118 (value: 23) to the Jaguars for 137 and 189 (total value: 20), and have now turned picks 25 and 201 into Reagor, Zuniga, 137, and 189.
Round 4, Pick 132: McTelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas
The Vikings make their originally scheduled pick for just the third time, taking a high-upside tackle in Agim. He moved from defensive end to the interior in 2019 and posted a career-high five sacks. Agim's burst and explosiveness allow him to penetrate gaps on the interior, and his time as an EDGE has given him some pass rush moves to work with. He's still learning the position, but for a Day 3 pick, there's a lot to like about Agim's developmental upside at the three-technique spot. He played with Armon Watts at Arkansas, where both were coached by new Vikings assistant d-line coach Imarjaye Albury.
Round 4, Pick 137 (via JAX): Kyle Murphy, IOL, Rhode Island
Right now, the Vikings' interior offensive linemen are Garrett Bradbury, Pat Elflein, Dru Samia, Brett Jones, and Dakota Dozier. That doesn't inspire a ton of confidence. However, the team appears to be higher on that group than outsiders are – cutting Josh Kline suggests as much – so they may feel comfortable waiting until Day 3 to address the IOL. Among the middle-round guards in this year's draft, Murphy is one of the best scheme fits. He wins with mobility and angles, and can climb to the second level with ease. Murphy needs to get stronger and become more polished, so he'd likely take a "redshirt" year like Samia did in 2019.
Round 6, Pick 189 (via JAX): Omar Bayless, WR, Arkansas State
Adam Thielen, Reagor, Tajae Sharpe, and Bisi Johnson is a solid receiving corps, but the Vikings still need more competitive depth at the position. Bayless broke out with 1,653 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, winning Sun Belt Player of the Year in the process. He can go get the ball in the air and was a dynamic vertical threat in college. However, there are concerns about athleticism after Bayless ran a 4.62 at the combine.
Trade No. 5: MIN sends picks 205 and 249 to TB for pick 194
Here it is, folks: trade No. 5. That's one short of last year, but one above Spielman's career average. Having yet to address the safety position, we toss in a seventh-rounder to move up 11 spots in the sixth round. 205 (4 points) and 249 (1) are equal to the five-point value of 194.
Round 6, Pick 194 (via TB): Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State
The safety I wanted is Fuller, who becomes the Vikings' second pickup from the Ohio State secondary in this draft. Spielman has shown a tendency to draft teammates, with the most recent example being Mackensie Alexander and Jayron Kearse from Clemson in 2016. Speaking of Kearse, he and Andrew Sendejo departed in free agency, leaving the Vikings with no safety depth. Fuller has good size at 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, and played in 45 games as a Buckeye. He has some upside as a deep safety and should be a specials teams asset right away.
Round 7, Pick 219: A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
With our penultimate pick, we're just looking for someone with a chance to develop. Green's size and physicality give him a chance to do that. He needs a lot of work from a technical standpoint and may not have the athleticism to ever carve out a major role. Still, there's hope that Green could become a capable depth corner with the right coaching.
Round 7, Pick 253: James Robinson, RB, Illinois State
To cap off our 11-player draft, we add our second FCS star. Robinson was unstoppable at that level, ripping off 1,900 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. Dalvin Cook's future is a constant source of discussion, but No. 3 running back Mike Boone is also set to hit free agency in 2021. Robinson will need to improve as a pass-catcher out of the backfield to stick around in the league.
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