By Jason Wisniewski
Vikings Spin is back with new mock drafts now that the Free Agency period dust has settled! Yes the Vikings can and will most likely still sign Free Agents and make roster moves up through September before they take the field in their Week 1 regular season match up but those moves will be dictated by what they do in the upcoming draft just like the first wave of Free Agency has now shaped what they can and will do in the draft.
With all that said, let’s draft!
The Vikings really like Fant and showed a ton of interest in him in the pre draft process. He’s the most athletic TE & the best receiving TE in this draft class. His routes are crisp, he’s blessed with WR speed. His blocking isn’t awful either and he can be coached up in this area. Fant will bring a Jordan Reed type feel to the TE position for the Vikings and give Cousins a tremendous weapon in the passing game besides just Diggs & Thielen. Fant will be a game changer.
Trade Rd 2 #18 & 2020 Rd 3 to Jacksonville for Rd 2 #6
Another player the Vikings have really coveted during the pre draft process, Lindstrom fills an immediate need at LG and will start from day one. One of the safest picks in the draft, there really isn’t a glaring weakness to Lindstrom’s game. He performed very well against top competition while he was at Boston College and followed it up with a very impressive Senior Bowl. His combine showed off his athleticism as a player who can excel in a zone blocking scheme. Lindstrom plays with great pad level, takes proper angles and has great play strength. He’ll be a tremendous upgrade to Tom Compton.
Trade CB Trae Waynes to Houston for Rd 2 #22
Howard proved he could hang with the big boys at the Senior Bowl showing that jump in competition wasn’t too big for him as there were questions about him being the product of a “small school level of competition”. Howard looks to have a natural feel for the position moving well and being able mirror. He’s got excellent size and the frame to get even stronger. What impressed me was how he handled both power & speed at the Senior Bowl. He seemed to have an answer for both. With a little bit of refinement of his technique he could become a Pro Bowler in the future. His selection would make Rashod Hill expendable and perhaps Howard could replace Reiff as a starter in 2020.
Omenihu is a pick that kills 2 birds with one stone. Being a bit of a “tweener” and “movable chess piece” he can line up at DE as a stout run defender and/or kick inside on 3rd downs as an interior pass rusher. Getting a player like this who can play multiple positions and roles on the D-line can save a roster spot and save cap room in the future.
Slayton is a burner with solid hands who need to his refine his route running to eventually become a more complete WR but the ability to take the top off the defense could see him play the role of deep threat as a rookie which would help the offense open things up for Diggs & Thielen underneath. With Aldrick Robinson unsigned it makes sense the Vikings would look to replace his deep speed in the draft.
Trade TE Kyle Rudolph & Rd 6 #17 to New England for Rd 4 #32
Anderson battled injuries while he was in college but he is hands down one of the best RBs in this draft class when healthy. The injury history likely drops him to Rd 4 but if he’s available at this pick the Vikings would be wise to take him as long as the medicals check out. A big powerful back with above average speed who can catch, pass block and who has outstanding vision and home run ability would be a nice complement to Dalvin Cook as the Vikings RB2.
He has the versatility to play all 3 LB positions and his best fit is probably a MLB. Has the speed to be a very good special teams player. The Vikings need to add depth & restock their backup LB corps with Kentrell Brothers becoming a Free Agent in 2020.
Nice size and speed for the position. Was a Team Captain & leader for the defense at Rutgers. Needs to play more consistently but does have the traits and flashes the ability to cover TE’s one on one and can come up and make plays on ball carriers. The Vikings have done well at developing 7th rd & UDFA safeties in the job they have done with Jermaine Kearse & Anthony Harris and Hampton could be their latest project safety that they turn into a good player on defense in a couple years. For now he can contribute on special teams and provide depth as the #4 safety.
A raw big armed passer than can move, Stick offers upside as a developmental QB and a guy that can come in a provide competition in camp for a QB2 or QB 3 spot. At worst he’s a camp arm that can sit a year or 2 on the practice squad. At best he could give Kyle Sloter some competition in camp. The Vikings may still add a veteran backup QB to the competition but with athletic traits like Stick has he’s definitely worth a shot to see if Stefanski & the Kubiaks can work with him even if he’s just a practice squad player in year 1.
POST DRAFT FREE AGENT OPTIONS
With an extra $16.8 million in cap space from the Waynes & Rudolph trades the Vikings can be players in the Post Draft Free Agent period. The selection of Tytus Howard makes OT Rashod Hill expendable so that opens up another $2 million bringing the total cap space up to $18.8 million. CB depth would be an area Zimmer would want addressed so I could see them adding a guy like Morris Claiborne who can play outside CB to the roster to be the primary backup to Rhodes & Hughes. They would also have money to bring back Aldrick Robinson or Tom Johnson for depth if they wish. Pierre Garcon at WR could also be an option. They could also sign a more proven veteran backup QB if they want to. Any remaining space can be stored as rollover cap for the next season or emergency funds in case of an in season injury.
With that said let’s do a Mock Post Draft FA:
CB Morris Claiborne 1 yr $5 million
WR Pierre Garcon 1 yr $4 million
QB Brock Osweiller 1 yr $2 million
Those moves would fill out roster depth at CB, WR & QB with proven veterans of which 2 of them (Garcon & Osweiller) have previously played in the Vikings current offensive scheme and still leave the Vikings with $7.8 million in unused cap space which they can roll over towards the 2020 cap.
Here is how a Vikings 53 man roster would look after this Mock Draft & Final wave of the FA period:
QB K. Cousins/B. Osweiller/K. Sloter
RB D. Cook/R. Anderson/A. Abdullah
FB CJ Ham
WR S. Diggs/A. Thielen/P. Garcon/D. Slayton/C. Beebe/L. Treadwell
TE N. Fant/D. Morgan/T. Conklin
OL R. Reiff/C. Lindstrom/P. Elflein/J. Kline/B. O’Neill/T. Howard/B. Jones/A. Collins/C. Edison
DL E. Griffen/S. Stephen/L. Joseph/D. Hunter/S. Weatherly/J. Johnson/C. Omenihu/J. Holmes/I. Odenigbo
LB B. Gedeon/E. Kendricks/A. Barr/E. Wilson/T. Summers/D. Downs
CB X. Rhodes/M. Hughes/M. Alexander/M. Claiborne/H. Hill/J. Myrick
S H. Smith/A. Harris/J. Kearse/S. Hampton
K D. Bailey
P M. Wile
LS K. McDermott