Monday, August 29, 2016

kyle rudolph

Do you play it safe or take a risk?

Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The NFL Draft is so exciting because it’s so unpredictable. Players pegged as top-10 draft picks can fall to the second or third round, and teams can make earth-shattering trades that change the landscape of the night’s festivities. For the most part, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman sticks to a familiar script — accumulate draft picks, trade back when sensible, and use the end of the first round as a fluid space for movement.

This year, however, the Vikings are this close to contending for more than just the NFC North title and a Wild Card playoff berth. A roster flush with talent at almost every position gives the team a chance to be more aggressive come April 28th. Rather than staying put at the 23rd-overall pick, drafting the best available player, or trading back, Spielman can flex his negotiating muscles.

So, the Vikings Territory team tried their hand at such an exercise, concocting scenarios that very well could play out in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. See our answers after the jump!

What’s one surprising and/or unexpected move you could see the Vikings making in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft?

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The Minnesota Vikings added to their haul on Friday by signing free agent tight end Brian Leonhardt, according to his Twitter account.

Leonhardt turns 26 in April and is listed at 6′ 5″ and 255 pounds. He is a native of Minnesota and played his college career at Bemidji State University.

The deal is of the one-year variety and totals $600,000 without any guarantees attached to it, according to the Pioneer Press. This presumably makes Leonhardt an insurance policy, or even a short-term solution, in the event that tight end Rhett Ellison starts the 2016 regular season on the PUP list.

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Minnesota Vikings re-sign Rhett Ellison
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Rhett Ellison flirted with the free agent market, but in the end, found his way home to the Minnesota Vikings. As announced on the team’s official website, the fifth-year tight end re-signed with the Vikings on Tuesday morning. The Vikings also made the Marcus Sherels re-signing official, as the punt returner and special teams ace reportedly returned to the team late last week after visiting the New York Jets.

Sherels signed a two-year, $4 million ($1.5 million guaranteed) deal to remain in Minnesota, and he’ll have zero guaranteed money after the 2016 season. Ellison, who is recovering from a torn patellar tendon suffered in Week 17 last year, reportedly signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract.

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See my entire first 2016 NFL Mock Draft by CLICKING HERE.

Last year, I produced version 1.0 of my mock draft in January and had the Vikings selecting cornerback Trae Waynes 11th overall. I never wavered from that pick, one that would subsequently become very popular and then very unpopular, and repeatedly had the Vikings selecting Waynes in every version of my Mock Draft after that.

Picking 12 spots later, and a much more flexible roster makeup, I am highly unlikely to repeat the boring redundancy that was my 2015 mock drafts.

The pick, of course, ended up being Waynes and it was met with disdain from a healthy portion of Minnesota’s fan base. Many preferred the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year, cornerback Marcus Peters, and others thought that it was a wasted pick. A number of Twitter arguments started with the assertion that Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson made the first round investment into the cornerback position a waste.

Well, if you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that I care not for your perceived needs when it comes to the NFL Draft and it is equally likely that you’ll care not for my first version of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

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[NOTE: This Ryan Malleck Scouting Report is a part of our “Sunday Sleeper” series highlighting some later-round options available to the Vikings on Draft Weekend. It is also a part of our goal to amass as many Vikings slanted scouting reports as possible. To track our constantly growing list of scouting reports you can CLICK HERE. For more great coverage of the NFL Draft please be sure to visit our partners at Draft Season.]

RYAN MALLECK SCOUTING REPORT

Tight End – Virginia Tech

MEASUREMENTS

Height: 6′ 4″

Weight: 256 pounds

Class: Redshirt Senior

AT FIRST GLANCE

Malleck is unlikely to turn heads with his athleticism in Indianapolis this year, but that isn’t going to be what interests NFL teams about the Virginia product. Malleck will attempt to earn his NFL paycheck as a blocking tight end in a rookie class that features very few.

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