This morning, PFF’s draft twitter (@PFF_College) tweeted a full mock draft for the Minnesota Vikings. I thought it was extremely unlikely to play out like they predicted, and not just because it didn’t include any Spielman trade downs.
Th picks were as follows:
RD 1, Pick 22: A.J. Epenesa, DE Iowa
RD 1, Pick 25: Denel Mims, WR, Baylor
RD 2, Pick 58: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
RD 3, Pick 89: Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
RD 3, Pick 105: Jordan Elliot, DT, Missouri
RD 4, Pick 132: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
RD 5, Pick 155: David Taylor, LB, Colorado
RD 6, Pick 201: Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
RD 6, Pick 205: Francis Bernard, LB, Utah
RD 7, Pick 219: Jalen Elliot, S, Notre Dame
RD 7, Pick 249: James Proche, WR, SMU
RD 7, Pick 253: Mike Danna, Edge, Michigan
Starting at the top with Epenesa. It’s interesting that so many mocks have Epenesa to Minnesota when defensive end is not even in their top five draft needs. Also, he doesn’t fit the mold the Vikings have been using for their defensive ends.
Both Danielle Hunter, and the man that Epenesa would replace Everson Griffen, are physical freaks who are athletically gifted. Epenesa is not. He’s slow, and I question his ability to get off of blocks against NFL level competition.
Perhaps the team could convert him to a three-technique tackle, but that seems unlikely. I’d rather see them target an offensive tackle, or anybody who has fallen to this point because somebody will.
The next six picks are actually ones that I’m okay with, and are all likely. Mims is a very gifted deep threat whose only true downside is that he’s raw running routes in a limited tree at Baylor. The Utah tandem at defensive back makes sense for need and chemistry. I don’t know what about these players, but they’re now on my list to scout.
Defensive tackle is a pretty obvious need and Elliot is a big boy who fits the Vikings needs. Tyler Johnson is a dream pick as a Gophers fan. The dude is tough, runs good routes, and makes some impressive catches in traffic. That said, he drops some easy ones and that can be frustrating. A linebacker in the middle rounds makes sense to replace Brothers/Wilson, assuming at least one will be gone.
After that, it gets confusing. McDonald, a good athlete with a weak arm is not what the Vikings have from any of their other quarterbacks. If they didn’t keep Sloter over Mannion, they’re not going to spend a draft pick on a guy like McDonald.
Another linebacker isn’t the worst move next, but it is a bit of a head scratcher when the team has needs at offensive guard and tackle still. Although, I find it interesting to suggest they would nab a third Utah player.This would be a good time to snatch a depth guard. A second safety with the next pick gets the same treatment for me. Go guard or high upside tackle here.
A third receiver in the seventh isn’t a bad choice, assuming you convert a couple of other picks to higher needs. The only switch I might make here, would be to maybe switch this to a running back for depth, and because I’m not sold on Mike Boone or Ameer Abdullah. The final pick of an edge rusher is fine. You can almost never have too much depth at defensive end and that’s a flyer pick anyway, but again, could go with running back or even another offensive guard.
My biggest issues are with the lack of offensive lineman, doubling up on positions with very little need (safety and linebacker), and not finding guys who fit the mold of this team. Of course if we are in the major rebuild that some are speculating, and Mike Zimmer/Rick Spielman are on their way out, fit might not matter as much as talent. For the time being though, assume that Zim and Rick will get their guys who fit their system.