The NFL draft is a wild animal ready to devour the weak and unsuspecting general managers and executives. But in this mock, the Draft Whisperer himself, Rick Spielman, tames the Radio City Music Hall Monster and walks away with a handful of trophy picks worth bragging about.

 The Vikings have wined and dined every quarterback from sea to sea in search of “the guy” to fill the franchise void. No reason to question the Vikings’ desire to plug the all important quarterback hole with the 8th pick in the NFL draft, right?

 Spielman has also hinted that the Vikings would like to trade down and collect more picks. Again, very believable, especially knowing that this is one of the deepest talent rich classes the NFL has seen in years.

 Ok, when a smokescreen doesn’t look like a smokescreen… well, just don’t be fooled.

 Spielman and the Vikings have invited Teddy Bridgewater, Anthony Barr, Terrence West, Preston Brown and others to their annual top 30 prospects event. The Vikings would like nothing more than to sell the idea they’re A) targeting QB Teddy Bridgewater, B) trading backwards or C) showing interested in Anthony Barr. Seeing Barr’s draft stock continue to rise can only help the Vikings. I fully expect the Anthony Barr to Minnesota chatter to be in full force in the coming days. My mock draft explains why.

 Pick 1: Houston Texans select QB Blake Bortles

Pick 2: St. Louis Rams select WR Sammy Watkins

Pick 3: Jacksonville Jaguars select DE Jadeveon Clowney

Pick 4: Cleveland Browns select QB Johnny Manziel

Pick 5: Oakland Raiders select QB Teddy Bridgewater

Pick 6: TRADE – Minnesota Vikings trades up to select OLB Khalil Mack

Atlanta has interest in an OT and an edge rusher. As Anthony Barr’s stock rises, the Falcons might be eager to slide back 2 spots and still land Barr or select an OT. In this mock the Vikings trade pick 8, pick 96, and a forth round pick in 2015 to move up and select Mack.

The 6-2 251 lbs OLB from Buffalo is one of the top defensive stars in this draft and Zimmer will certainly know how to use him as a 3 down linebacker/edge rusher.

Four-year starter. Has played both outside linebacker and a four-man front defensive end. Projects to outside linebacker for the next level. Good balance and change of direction. Long arms to lock out, play square, and shuffle laterally down the line of scrimmage. A good athlete who can dip his shoulder, penetrate and pressure the quarterback. Experience dropping into coverage and playing on or off the line of scrimmage. Will finish backside pursuit. Good effort player with a non-stop motor. Doesn’t stay blocked. Explosive first step when rushing the passer. Uses his hands on blockers like a shiver board. A disruptive playmaker. His 2012 stats: 94 tackles, 8 sacks, 13 tackles for loss. -Report by Ourlads Scouting Services

Pick 40: TRADE – The Vikings trade back 10 spots and pick up a 3rd round pick in 2015. In this mock the Dolphins move up to select ILB Chris Borland. Borland has been compared to former Dolphins ILB Zach Thomas. Dolphins have yet to name a starter at ILB for 2014

Pick 50: Minnesota Vikings select QB Zach Mettenberger.

Not only does Spielman land Khalil Mack, a guy Mike Zimmer might covet, but he also lands a big armed QB Norv Turner might covet. The icing on the cake is Spielman hits both targets and also improves the 2015 draft in the process.

The 6’5″ QB from LSU just might be the perfect fit in Norv Turnners vertical passing attack.

 Against Auburn, Mettenberger showed off his big arm as well as his ability to throw the deep ball accurately and effectively.  He hit a couple of go routes that he was able to drive in the hole versus 2 deep safety look.  He showed he’s also capable of playing and executing in a pro-style offense under new OC Cam Cameron.  He displayed an understanding of reads and defenses and went through his progressions quickly finding and hitting open receivers on time.  He also stood tall in the pocket and delivered accurate throws down field against the pass rush.  He also gets the ball out on time to receivers before they’re out of the break giving them a chance to get yards after the catch. He even showed he has the ability to move out of the pocket and pass effectively on run on naked bootlegs throwing a laser on a crossing route while rolling to his left. – Report by Jame MacPherson

Pick 72: Minnesota Vikings select C Marcus Martin.

The center position is one that can fall in the draft, and in this mock the Vikings just happen to be in the right place to land BPA Marcus Martin. Spielman is unafraid to draft versatile centers and plug them in at guard or tackle. Marcus is a guy that can compete with Charlie Johnson for the starting left guard spot right away.

The 6’3″ 320 lbs lineman from USC was the first true freshman to start at offensive guard for Southern Cal since Jeff Byers in 2004. Moved to center after 2 years at left guard. The Athletic and long-armed 20-year old packs an explosive punch. He cleans up second level linebackers like he was born to do it. Plays with a flexable power base and square versus hardcharging defensive lineman. Good hand placement.  Thick lower body. Aggressive fight to get to the second level and seals pursuit. Keeps running after contact.  

Marcus looks good against a solid Notre Dame front. 

Pick 96: Traded for Khalil Mack.

Pick 108: The Minnesota Vikings select RB Charles Sims.

I fell in love with this versatle 215 lbs RB from West Virgina when I wrote about the tailbacks a couple weeks ago. 

http://vikingsterritory.com/2014/uncategorized/is-it-time-to-draft-a-running-back

With that said, RB Terrence West from Townsend has been invited to the Vikings top 30 visit. He is ranked as the #92 prospect by nfldraftscout.com. The Vikings might also have the option to here to select Terrence West if he is on the board with pick 108.  

 Pick 148: The Minnesota Vikings select CB Walt Aikens.

This selection could turn out to be the gem of the draft. Aikens has 3rd talent but he falls to the 5th round here because of off the field red flag issues. Zimmer has had success in the past working with players with off field issues. Aiken has the size and talent to some day be a starter in the NFL at boundry courner or safety.

Aikens isn’t your typical small-school prospect. He chose Illinois after being recruited by Clemson and Louisville and impressed as a freshman, starting five games at safety, recording 32 tackles and two passes broken up.

An arest for theft prompted then Illinios head coach Ron Zook to kick Aikens off the team and he wound up at Liberty, where he starred on the football field and also spent time with the Flames’ basketball and track and field squads.

Aikens is a three-time Big South all-conference honoree, taking first-team honors in 2013 and second-team accolades in 2011 and 2012. His impressive play earned him a spot at the Senior Bowl, where he played well, impressing with his frame, athleticism and confidence.

He tied for the team lead in 2013 with 62 tackles and help Liberty rank No. 5 in the country in interceptions (19), individually recording three interceptions to give him seven for his career. Aikens also forced six fumbles over his career. – Report by Rob Rang

Aikens is ranked #150 overall by Nfldraftscout.com and was mocked to the Atlanta Falcons with pick #147 by Drafttek. Aikens is highly competitive in run support and will fight through blocks to make a plays. Good jam in press man coverage and can also turn and run fluidly with a reciever. Aikens just seems like the perfect late round red-flagged prospect that Zimmer can turn into a productive NFL player.

Pick 184: The Minnesota Vikings select ILB Preston Brown

This mock gives you a chance to get to know Vikings’ top 30 invitee Preston Brown. The 6-1 251 lbs linebacker from Louisville is currently ranked #175 overall by Nfldraftscout.com and grades as their #7th overall ILB. A slow 40 time of 4.86 at the combine adds to questions about his staightline speed and whether he is a 3 down linebacker at the next level.

Preston Brown is certainly one of the more overlooked prospects in an unispiring group of inside linebackers. Part of that is because his teammates stole the spotlight on the Louisville defense. Brown had a fantastic season in his own right and projects as a linebacker prospect who can produce on his first day on the job.

Brown’s intelligence and play-recognition skills ease the concern for his lack of athleticism. The one thing teams will have to do their homework on is how Brown manages his weight. – Report by Darren Page

Lousiville’s leading tackler in 2013 doesn’t look too overly slow or overweight in his Florida highlights.

Pick 223: The Minnesota Vikings select OT Donald Hawkins

The Vikings have been looking for a swing tackle prospect for awhile now… maybe the 6’5″ 301 lbs lineman from Texas is the answer. 

Hawkins earned the starting LT position for the Texas Longhorns in the spring of 2012 after two season at Northwest Community College where he didn’t allow a sack in 19 starts at the JUCO level. Hawkins can stays light on his feet with good lateral quickness and shuffle to protect the edge. He has natural body control and coordination allowing him to comfortably pull and block on the move.- Dane Burgler