We are officially into the NFL off season, and a major part of that is the speculation about the NFL draft. Here is our in house analyst T.J. Bryce’s mock draft for the Green Bay Packers main rival, the Minnesota Vikings.
Round One: Taylor Decker/OT/Ohio State- The Vikings have massive offensive line issues, perhaps one of the worst offensive line situations in the entire league if you wish to view it from that perspective. Former first round draft choice Matt Kalil was drafted for an old system the Vikings have moved on from and has had his fair share of problems adjusting to this new system. To simplify, he just doesn’t fit in this system and the Vikings need a new left tackle. Looking at the free agent market there really isn’t one, so it may be in their best interest to use their first round draft choice on one. Decker excels at pass blocking, and would do a great job of protecting Teddy Bridgewater’s backside.
Round Two: Pharoh Cooper/WR/South Carolina- The Vikings hit a home run a year ago when they drafted Stefon Diggs in round five. Now they need more. I’ve been on this guy to the Vikings now for a while, and I will stay on him. He is a polished route runner, and that is something the Vikings sorely need at the wide receiver position at the moment.
Round Three: Jack Allen/C/Michigan State- In addition to signing a guard in free agency, the Vikings could also use a long term answer at center. John Sullivan will be over 30 and attempting to come back from a pair of back surgeries, which is almost asking for the impossible from a center on the wrong side of 30. It is extremely difficult to find a center on the free agent market. Fortunately, the best centers are found in rounds 3-6 in the draft. Allen could be a good one.
Round Four: Jihad Ward/DE/Illinois- At 6’5” and a jellybean away from 300 pounds, Ward is a physical “monster” who has a ton of upside. He can play either right defensive end or under tackle in the 4-3 zone run defense the Vikings utilize. Ward has a high ceiling, and if these Vikings coaches can convince him to play to his potential, look out. He can go with the best of them.
Round Five: Paul McRoberts/WR/Southeast Missouri State- I originally had UCLA’s Jordan Payton to the Vikings with this selection, but he is flying up the draft boards, currently in round three. Instead, we will opt for the physical McRoberts, who isn’t fast, or quick, nor is he the best route runner either. So what is he? Well, McRoberts is almost impossible to stop in a one-on-one “box out” situation due to his size, strength, and big strong hands. These types of players come in handy on third and six in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field in December with the season on the line.
Round Six: Wendell Smallwood/RB/West Virginia- A perfect solution to the Vikings third down back question. Smallwood is a tweener who excels at pass blocking and catching the ball out of the backfield.
Round Seven: Chris Brown/WR/Notre Dame- Yes, I know, this is my third wide receiver in this draft. Let me explain. You can sign offensive guards, you can sign safeties (as the Vikings are interested in George Iloka,) you can sign linebackers, you can sign defensive lineman. However, free agent wide receivers rarely ever work, at all so you need to draft and make your own. In my opinion, the only two wide receivers from last season who should be on the Vikings week one roster are Diggs and special teams standout Adam Thielen. Everyone else can get lost. They were that bad. So what is Chris Brown? Well, he is a solid, consistent football player. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either. Just a solid performer. Every roster needs players like Chris Brown.