Yup, it is getting to be that time of the year.  We are hoping it is many weeks from now before we, as Vikings fans, cast our gaze completely towards 2013 but I couldn’t hold off any longer.

As many of you know, my mock Drafts often times go against the grain and can cause some passionate fans to either disagree or (on rare occasions) agree with enthusiasm.  I ended up getting more picks correct than your average bear last year (you can view 2012’s right here) and never wavered from my Vikings pick of Matt Kalil.

This year, with the Vikings picking somewhere in the neighborhood of the late-teens and early-twenties makes things far more unpredictable, and my choice is likely to change a number of times between now and April.

Heck, we are still waiting to hear exactly which players will elect to enter 2013’s NFL Draft.

Right now, however, I picked Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in an attempt to bolster a defensive middle that has fallen from the elite category over the last couple of years.

Richardson strikes me as the perfect complement to Everson Griffen, both being incredibly fast and athletic defensive lineman, providing the Vikings with an exciting youth movement along their defensive line.  We saw the Vikings struggle greatly with mobile quarterbacks in 2012 so Richardson’s sideline-to-sideline abilities would be a welcomed addition to the defensive tackle position.

At 6’ 4” and only 295 pounds, and plenty of college experience playing end, Richardson wouldn’t be the run stuffing nose that the Vikings really need Letroy Guion to become, but he would provide a very disruptive force in the middle of the line regardless.  After all, Kevin Williams isn’t getting any younger and the Vikings could decide he is no longer worth the large salary as soon as this coming offseason.

Richardson was suspended for one game this year for refusing to show up to one of his classes, and also refusing the punishment given to him for that, so teams will certainly want to explore this kid’s attitude and character to see if he is worthy of such an early pick.

Please, view the rest of my first 2013 Mock Draft by clicking right here.