NFL Draft 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings 7-Round Mock Draft – No Quarterbacks Edition

Mock drafts in March—or any time of year, really—are largely pointless exercises. Some of the most accurate mockers in the business are proud of getting a third of their selections correct, which underscores the difference in evaluation and information mockers have between themselves and 32 NFL teams.

So, why not have fun? As long as we keep within certain parameters (only choosing players when they’re reasonably available) and create particular rules (no drafting quarterbacks—in this scenario, all the QBs the Vikings would be willing to spend a pick on at that time are gone and the rest are undesirable or too poor a value), it’s useful to see how different scenarios can play out.

I’m well known as an advocate of taking a quarterback early—even trading up to do so—but it’s well known that a number of fans would rather not. Signing an average quarterback and fixing the defense would go a long way (although it is unlikely that they’d be able to fix it in one draft class).

In order to make sure that this is closer to a team-specific mock and not a wish list, I’ll use Drafttek and Matt Miller’s 7-round mock draft as an availability model so that I don’t pick players that would have been gone. When the two disagree on a player being gone (they disagree on whether or not Khalil Mack will go by #8, for example), I’ll use my own judgment.

Pick #8 – Kony Ealy, DE Missouri

Ideally, the Vikings would trade down out of this spot if they don’t pick a quarterback; there are a number of prospects that would be tantalizing to others and would be less interesting for the Vikings; players like Taylor Lewan, Mike Evans and Anthony Barr fit other teams far better than they do for Minnesota. This means that despite refusing to pick a quarterback, the Vikings will necessarily “reach,” even though that would be a goal of this exercise.

The most ideal defensive pick here would likely be Khalil Mack, but despite being available in Matt Miller’s mock I don’t think he’ll be there. There’s a good chance, in fact, that he’s gone in the top three. C.J. Mosely would be ideal here too, but linebackers provide poor value in the first round. That alone wouldn’t drop him, but his multiple surgeries and knee issues are enough to keep me from picking him in the first round.

Even greater than their need at linebacker (where there is the possibility that Michael Mauti and Audie Cole could fill in) is their need at defensive end, where it’s entirely possible that the Vikings don’t sign Everson Griffen, who is testing the market to gauge his value and may price himself right out of the Vikings’ range. While they could talk to Michael Johnson, there’s no guarantee they’ll grab an edge rusher in free agency, particularly with the rush to franchise the top pass rushers on the market (both Brian Orakpo and Greg Hardy are off the market at the moment).

Ealy doesn’t have too many weaknesses. He’s very clearly not a 3-4 outside linebacker, but the worst issue for him so far is inconsistent leverage, which is a coaching issue that can be corrected. He otherwise checks all the boxes. He’s strong, athletic, explosive, quick and instinctive. His body type is perfect; his natural playing weight is the heavier type Zimmer has preferred that should allow Ealy to anchor against the run (something he’s had on-and-off issues with because of leverage), but his flexibility and explosiveness, as well as his long arms, has allowed him not just to grab 8.0 sacks this year against SEC left tackles, but consistent quarterback hits and pressures.

Unlike many defensive ends, he’s not content to simply pin his ears back and get to the rusher; he’s savvy enough to read the play and determine exactly what he needs to do to make the most impact. That’s part of the reason he’s been able to bat down six passes this year and also grab a pick-six, all from the line of scrimmage. His 14.0 tackles for loss is not too bad, either.

His measureables have been ignored as of yet, too. Of all defensive linemen, his 3-cone time was the best at 6.83 seconds. What’s more is was better by a whopping .15 seconds! It was the second-best 3-cone time of all players in the combine after adjusting for weight, too.

Should he play with a lower pad level against his competition, he’ll be hard to top. He has experience in the system, smart about gap control, and has a variety of pass-rushing moves, even developing a counter-move partway through the season that has been effective. He needs better anticipation off the snap and plays a little too slow when he’s reading the play, but his agility, length and smarts warrant the pick.


Pick #40—LaMarcus Joyner, S/CB Florida State

Available in both mocks, Joyner solves a significant problem for the Vikings at slot cornerback and backup safety. While the Vikings are probably good when it comes to safety and safety depth (Jamarca Sanford is critically undervalued and Andrew Sendejo can come into his own), it never hurts to be deep at a position the Vikings have had issue with for some time.

Josh Robinson in the slot was a disaster, and while he may be an average corner on the outside with sideline help, he’s at a disadvantage when it comes to the unique problems in the slot. No corner gave up more yards per snap in coverage than Robinson and ranked second-worst in passer rating given up.

Joyner has been excellent in slot work with Florida State.

The best comparison for him may be Tyrann Mathieu, but evaluators comparing him to Antoine Winfield aren’t too far off, either. He’s fearless and plays with plus instincts. The biggest advantage that Mathieu has on Joyner is Mathieu’s preternatural awareness, but Joyner is no slouch there.

Aside from that, Joyner is even more physical, technically sound and faster. His run support is closer to Winfield’s than Mathieu’s and his feel for the game is top-notch. With elite agility and excellent explosiveness, Joyner doesn’t just have the tools to compete at the next level, but star. He’s won his one-on-one matchups and excels in both man and zone coverage, with next-level footwork and an understanding of how to play in complex defenses.

The biggest issue for him is size. At the combine, he measured in at a tiny 5’7 6/8”. Mathieu measured in exactly an inch taller, and Winfield was the same. It’s good that Joyner has long arms for his size (31 1/2”) that will help, but it’s clearly a concern. He has the bulk (184 pounds, same as both the compared players), but it’s a serious concern that isn’t easy to overlook. With that, he will occasionally bite on play-action and lacks the long speed to take receivers downfield.


Pick #72—Chris Borland, ILB Wisconsin

While Borland goes in the late second-round of Matt Miller’s mock, he doesn’t go for some time in Drafttek’s mock. It makes sense that he should fall after the Combine, in fact, given that his arm length raises serious concerns and that he’s not nearly as athletic as some evaluators had hoped he be.

But Borland’s timing is fantastic, and he certainly shows up faster on film than in shorts.

He’s an extremely smart player in more than one facet of the game and is always found around the ball. Aside from excellent drops in zone coverage, he has an instinctive approach to taking tackling angles far better than anyone on the current Minnesota roster, aside from the developmental players we haven’t seen much of.

He quickly diagnoses plays and gets into the proper running lane or jumps the route. Aside from simply wrapping up well, Borland does a great job shedding blocks and driving through contact to make the play. He’s agile in coverage, a disciplined player and rarely bites on play fakes.

His average athleticism limits his upside, but it’s difficult to find players both with on-field intelligence and technical soundness, and Borland clearly has that.


Pick #96—Caraun Reid, NT Princeton

The Vikings sorely need a nose tackle, and while it is unlikely they’ll be able to find a starter in the third round, they could pick up a potential gem in Ivy League nose tackle Caraun Reid. Because of his level of competition, Reid is one of the most underappreciated players at his position in the draft.

Reid’s play at the Senior Bowl certainly goes some way into alleviating those concerns. Many project him as a 3-tech-only player at the next level, but his ability to consistently take on double teams, sustainably add to his frame and anchor the run means he can play 1-tech in the NFL as well.

Unlike many nose tackle prospects, Reid isn’t just characterized by his strength or his size, but also his quickness. Reid can shoot upfield quickly or move extremely well laterally, whether attacking screens or on stunts at the line. His snap anticipation is average, but his get-off is fantastic, and he’s usually the first into the backfield.

At the Combine, he replicated this burst with a great 1.69-ten yard split, and besides Aaron Donald had the best weight/split ratio of every defensive tackle at the Combine. To go along with that, he’s been extremely intelligent on the field, playing with excellent play recognition and he can adjusted from the pass to the run during the play with fluidity.

Reid has an excellent backstory and he’s another high-character player that can come in and help lead a young locker room. His negatives seem artificial at times. CBS lists two, and neither raise serious red flags for a third-round pick (they are the fact that he played against weak competition and that he is “Intelligent and well-rounded off the field, which some suggests mean that he could be a player who may not love or need the game as much as preferred”).

A third-round pick that can start on Day One is rare, but Reid can be one of those players despite how often he gets pushed down boards.


Pick #104—E.J. Gaines, CB Missouri

Drafttek has E.J. Gaines go at the bottom of the third round to San Francisco, but they also note that Gaines is a more than 20-pick reach at that spot. Picking Gaines would accomplish a few goals. The first is that the Vikings don’t have a clear answer at starting outside corner even with drafting Joyner, and may need to find some solutions either this year or next—Gaines has that ability.

The second goal that the Vikings accomplish by drafting Gaines is their ability to retain the tradition of drafting two rookies from the same school; something Rick Spielman has been explicit about having as a goal whenever possible, and one he’s replicated in past drafts, with prospects from Notre Dame, USC, Florida State, UCLA, Penn State and Arkansas pairing up in drafts.

This isn’t to say E.J. Gaines is a token; he’s a legitimate prospect in his own right.

Ethan Hammerman with Draft Mecca thinks Gaines is a first-round pick, though the trend of preferring lengthy corners will drop him. At 5’10” and with 30 1/8” arms, he doesn’t seem like a lock to play outside, but his film against tall receivers and with a sideline has been fantastic.

He has excellent footwork and is scheme-versatile, playing with good burst in zone coverage and tracks well in man coverage. His instincts when reading the quarterback and anticipating the throw are as good as anybody in the draft, and he combines his excellent route recognition with on-field speed.

He’s a smart player that makes sure to close windows against quarterbacks, and he usually wasn’t thrown to at Missouri. His positioning is consistently there, though his hands haven’t been the greatest and he doesn’t turn deflections into interceptions as often as he should.


Pick #136—Telvin Smith, OLB Florida State

Doubling up once more, the Vikings select an outside linebacker/strong safety “tweener” that’s looking for a true position but may not have the size to have a “true” position. If nothing else, however, Smith can be an excellent sub-package player in nickel or dime sets.

Smith is an active, high-energy player that has a great feel for the game, particularly in pass coverage. He’s a player that has packed together instinctive play with on-field athleticism, and his 4.52 40-yard dash is representative to what he brings. He’s one of the fastest linebackers in the country (though again, in due no small part to his size). With that, he has agility, flexibility and nearly every other physical attribute you want in a fast player.

His footwork when navigating traffic or working through a route progression are top-tier and his speed allows him to appear anywhere on the field, potentially with the ability to cut under any pass. He excels in zone coverage, where his click-and-close ability can really limit YAC for receivers.

Smith’s technique is far better than nearly any other linebacker in the draft, including the well-touted C.J. Mosely and the earlier pick in this mock, Chris Borland. He even has subtle techniques down.

Aside from good hand-fighting techniques to stay off blocks, he aligns pre- and post-snap with precision, strafes well, keeps his eyes up even during blocks and maintains gap discipline (and force responsibilities) while still attacking. He’ll move laterally, backpedal or attack based on the situation, and he’s rarely wrong.

The issue is that at 218 pounds, Telvin Smith could simply be a rich man’s Larry Dean, the current Vikings special-teamer who really never has a shot to start but does what he’s asked to extremely well. Smith doesn’t have unusual strength for his size—he’s about as strong as you’d expect him to be, and that’s an issue.

If the defensive line hasn’t cleared way for him, guards and centers can do whatever they want, and he can’t really protest. Against bigger fullbacks or running backs, he struggles, and he’s not a particularly adept pass-rusher. He did do a much better job shedding blocks and making plays in Senior Bowl practices (he was perhaps better than any other off-ball linebacker there), but his film speaks more than the Senior Bowl will.

Regardless, getting a naturally talented football player isn’t easy and having a subpackage star is not bad, particularly with how pass-happy the NFL is, and the NFC North in particular.


Pick #168—Isaiah Crowell, RB Alabama State

Crowell goes undrafted in both mocks, but I would be surprised if he even lasted to the top of the sixth round. Despite his small-school pedigree, he could easily be the best pure running back in the draft.

A 5-star recruit out of Georgia, Crowell was often compared to Georgia’s best running back, Herschel Walker. So long as the comparison doesn’t scare Vikings fans specifically, it’s high praise indeed.

Crowell earned the starting job as a freshman at the University of Georgia and had a fairly spectacular year, especially for a freshman. But after failing a drug test and being charged with two felonies for illegal firearm possession (since dismissed), he was excused from UGA.

The running back transferred to Alabama State, where he’s been excellent. He exhibits uncommon patience at the line, which is hard to find for such a physically dominant running back. With a fantastic blend of power and speed, Crowell could be the rare feature back in the NFL.

Crowell has upper body and lower body strength, and uses both to break tackles, sometimes stiff-arming defensive linemen and at other times punching through gang tackles with consistent foot drive and push.

He has an average official time at the NFL Combine, but his unofficial times of 4.50 (twice) seem more consistent with his film. A high vertical leap (38”) and quick ten-yard splits (1.55 and 1.60) speak to his explosiveness. He also has been fluid and capable as a pass-catcher and is fairly versatile as a three-down running back.

The character questions are still an issue, and he has come under heavy fire for his work ethic at Alabama State.

But with footwork, physical ability and an intuitive sense of where to run and how, he’s hard to ignore.


Pick #200—Ryan Groy, OG Wisconsin

Drafted fairly early in Drafttek’s mock but not at all in Matt Miller’s it seems more like he would be available in the seventh round based on big boards around the web. Aside from fulfilling the traditions of pairing up schools, it also allows the Vikings to continue their trend of late-round interior linemen.

Wisconsin typically produces strong offensive linemen and are generally well-regarded. This year, however, they haven’t proven their worth to evaluators in the same way, and none of those coming out have a Day One or Day Two grade by most scouts. Ryan Groy is certainly the best of the bunch and has a certain degree of upside as a guard.

Groy played is 2012 season as a guard, but slid out to tackle at the beginning of 2013. Eventually, he moved back to guard as Tyler Marz took over and played much better. His greatest attribute is his strength, though he’s not quite ready to use that to his advantage at the next level yet.

While stronger than most of his competition, there are worries about his lateral agility and balance, and his 2012 film looks far better than 2013. He did improve over the season and earn accolades as a Big Ten first-team guard from the coaches poll and second-team in the media poll, but his showing against quicker interior lineman leaves something to be desired.

His issue isn’t so much lateral agility or speed, which he certainly has enough of (his three-cone and short shuttle scores, for example, were better than average for guards at the combine). Generally speaking, linemen with a lot of strength and average agility do very well in the NFL, but Groy hasn’t shown much balance this year as a guard.

He’s played every position on the line, and can kick out as tackle depth if need be, and has much more upside than he’s given credit for. A very, very smart football player who has an intuitive understanding of the opposing defense’s assignments, he can be an asset on the line and even be a long-term guard. When locked onto his block, he’s extremely tough to disengage from.

Two issues he can fix in order to improve as a long-term offensive line prospect are his flexibility (in particular at the waist) and his hand placement, both of which will hide his balance issues.

In all honesty, there’s not a world of difference between what Groy is coming out as a prospect and what Brandon Fusco was: smart, tough, well-sized linemen who were strong but not balanced and could play every interior position. That is enough to take a late-round flyer on him, with the school-pairing to boot.


Overall, it might end up being too easy to pair mid- and late-round picks with a Vikings needs profile, given that mid- and late-round picks rarely start in the first or even second year. But here, the Vikings can grab players that fit a mid- and late-round BPA philosophy while matching some of their tendencies, including the desire to grab late-round linemen and pair schools.

It might be tempting to give Norv Turner more weapons (and Crowell can do that), but aside from the fact that the only weapon the Vikings truly need on offense is a quarterback, some of the best school-pairs and pure players in the draft are on the defensive side of the ball. The deepest classes in the draft are at the skill positions of receiver and cornerback, but the very real likelihood that even a mid-round WR may not make the roster is well worth the strategy of choosing defensive players.

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  1. Interesting read. I’d like to point out how ridiculous CBS’s second flag for Reid is. It’s possible for a professional athlete to have other interests other than their sport and still excel at it.

    1. It’s a really outdated, old-school thing people used to say about players that might have challenged their coach’s intellectual authority–back in the day when people thought that locker rooms were homogeneous in personality. That was never true and even less true now, so I have no idea why that made it on to a draft report in 2014. Ridiculous.

  2. Nice draft evaluation. If only the front office would follow the parameters listed here NO QBs. Front office seems to have better luck when they do.

  3. If Kahlil is gone, why wouldn’t you pick Justin Gilbert? He is a big, fast, physical corner with great ball skills. For as bad as the Vikings secondary is and when we have Megatron, Marshall and now Jeffery to deal with, that would be the pick I would make.

    1. Two reasons: 1) I think he’s overrated, though a physical specimen for sure. Not sure his game translates well.
      2) The depth at cornerback this year is insane. Not so for pass rushers.

      I would also potentially add the fact that DE is a bigger need than CB if they don’t sign a top-tier DE in free agency.

      1. I would disagree, I watched the combine and he was by far the smoothes CB out there. CB maybe deep but not in the same class as Gilbert. There is a much deeper pool of pass rushers in free agency than corners this year.

        1. I like Gilbert but a strong combine performance only amounts to so much. Some people are just workout heroes.

        2. He’s smooth on the field, too. But he has really, really poor footwork in stride and doesn’t change directions in play as he does in shorts. He reacts a little late and has relatively poor instincts, coupled with some fairly poor diagnosis. He doesn’t play with punch in press coverage and allows himself to lose leverage quickly when lined up close to a receiver. In college he had the recovery speed not to worry about it, but at the next level it can be exploited. He’s a one-year wonder and had a junior year worthy of an undraftable grade and isn’t as scheme-versatile. All of this is in the film.

          I’m emphasizing the negatives to make a point; I do think he’s worth a first-rounder in most years. But this year the cornerbacks going in the fifth round could go in the second in other years. Kyle Fuller would be a top ten pick in some years but is projected to go in the second round.

          When I meant “depth this year,” I was referring to the draft, which is all that this addresses. Obviously the depth in free agency is different and that’s not what I’m projecting. This mock would change after free agency. It’s not like the Vikings (or I) committed to a draft plan before free agency and would ignore signing good free agents because of it. It would clearly be different if the Vikings signed Justin Tuck or Michael Bennett but not a CB. Same can be said if they sign Alterraun Verner but not a DE.

          I generally do not understand criticisms of mock drafts based on what *might* happen in free agency.

    1. I think that in a normal draft year, Ealy would be a solid pick at #5 or 6. The fact that there’s some talent better than him this year doesn’t mean the Vikings aren’t getting their value. If those players happen to be at positions the Vikings cannot get on the field, then there’s no point.

      I’m a strong opponent of BPA in the first round for teams with issues. BPA can only help you if they can get on the field. For other rounds, BPA can serve as excellent developmental fodder and is different.

      Many of the best teams eschew BPA in the first round for this reason.

      If he is the best player that can help the Vikings, he is the best player. And I think that there are a lot of scenarios where that’s true (especially because he’s around a 12 on a lot of big boards, so he’s not really a reach).

      1. I strongly disagree. I wouldn’t have taken Ealy in the first round last year. Ealy will be bust of the year. He also doesn’t fill a need like a lb,qb,db, or even guard would. Griffin can easily start at de and we have had success with 4th round de’s. Taking a DE in the first would be the worst move of Speilman’s career.

        1. Again, criticizing mock drafts based on what might or might not happen in free agency makes no sense to me. Obviously it would change if they signed either of them. This mock assumes they don’t. If they do, they don’t draft a DE in the first.

          I’m not saying they won’t or shouldn’t sign a DE. I’m saying this is what happens in that scenario. If they signed Justin Tuck, Everson Griffen, Alterraun Verner, Will Blackmon, Linval Joseph, Paul Soliai, Jon Asamoah, Travelle Wharton and Karlos Dansby, the draft looks a lot different.

          They haven’t signed a DE, so it’s a need until they do.

          We disagree on Ealy’s talent (though I have no idea why), and that’s fine. He’s ranked in the top ten of a few boards and the top 20 of most. If this year is a deep year for drafting (it is), then that would imply he is top ten by most people most years, so it’s not a crazy reach.

          There are no needs in that range that wouldn’t be a reach, which I outlined, too. Mosely has serious long-term knee issues, and no CB is worth a top ten pick. Same with safety; the two positions the draft is really not as deep at this year are FS and RB. No reason to grab one of those very early, either.

          1. I’m not criticizing due to de need, I just don’t believe in taking a DE in the first unless he’s a lock(Clowney, watt, Williams) and I just think Ealy is as close to a sure bust as possible. I also happen to think Dennard and Gilbert are deserving of pick 8, but agree both have questions and I’d be scouting the hell out of them.

            1. I understand. We disagree on Ealy, but I was more concerned about the fact that some of us were dismissing a need because of things that haven’t happened yet.

  4. I think DE will be adressed in free agency. And the slot corner spot I don’t believe the Vikings are ready to admit they have a problem. Robinson is still developing, M Sherels is close to a new contract and Shaun Prater was drafted by and well liked by Zimmer. Plus Blanton and M Raymond were corners in college.

    So, with that in mind here is my mock draft.

    #8 – Hasean Clinton Dix S from Alambama, Harrison Smith and Clinton-Dix would be dynomite
    #40 – Carl Bradford OLB Arizona State
    #72 – Stanley Jean Baptiste CB Nebraska
    #96 – Yawin Smallwood ILB Connecticut
    #104 – Cyril Richardson OG Baylor
    #136 – Josh Mauro DE Stanford
    #168 – Kevin Norwood WR Alabama
    #200 – Deandre Coleman DT California

    1. Wait, Hasean? Is that his real name? Otherwise, I like it. I think Jean Baptiste in the third is a good pick. Some of those later guys I know nothing about.

    2. If I’m being honest, I really don’t like the top of that draft, but I like the bottom. I think Norwood and Coleman are very underrated and could produce in a big way.

      I think Clinton-Dix is a low-first/high-second round talent being pushed up by a very weak safety class, and I think that both Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo can fill in the spot just fine. Sanford has been very good the last two years, and we’re colored by the fact that he wasn’t very good before that. Sure, he doesn’t haul in interceptions, but he forced more turnovers than a lot of safeties that are known to. I just don’t think HCD is as good as advertised.

      Bradford is an edge rusher. He’s one with great technical skill, balance and has underrated athleticism, but if you think DE is going to be addressed in free agency, you miss an opportunity to get a difference-maker who can play early. He’s also a very small edge rusher that doesn’t have a lot of room to gain for his frame. I like him as a player and wouldn’t mind grabbing him, but the second round is a bit much for me.

      I might be the only person who really dislikes SJB, incidentally. I think he’s stiff and awkward in coverage and is being overrated for his length. He avoids physicality and doesn’t have the type of burst well suited to be scheme-versatile. That said, third-round SJB is not a bad place to get him, and you might have gotten very good value. He’s not available in either Drafttek or the Matt Miller mock, though. Joyner and Hampton are, and may be worth more even if you think the slot position is not going to be addressed.

      Yawin Smallwood worries me, because he never stands out, but he plays on a team without a lot of talent. He’ll get swallowed up on blocks and doesn’t play very physically for a linebacker. He’s an average athlete with adequate size and decent awareness. I considered him for this spot, but there are higher upside guys with similar level floors later in the draft.

      That said, I really, really like the last half of picks.

      1. Arif,
        I agree about Bradford. I think he is more of 3rd-4th round guy that might get drafted higher cause he is a football player that does a lot of things well. Smart guy that plays hard. He can play MLB, OLB and also put his hand in the dirt as DE. I think he is the type of player that Zimmer like from a mental stand point. When I watch him, he just plugs things up and never seems to get pushed back. Nothing flashy. Not fast, but dependable at different positions. Just gets the job done.
        When I listen to Zimmer talk about his vision, he wants smart guys who can listen to coaches and translate that to the football field. He is not talking about building the fastest team, biggest team, or most talented team.

        Bradford is that type of player that Zimmer might like. Now, with that said, if I could take that pick back and trade it for Kyle Van Noy, I would.

        I wasn’t feeling great about those first 2 picks, but I’m more focused on a QB at the top anyway.

        But it was fun to look at other positions than QB in the top 40 picks. Thanks

  5. ok, get out the cheese, i’m gonna whine a little, but it’s vintage whine because we’ve whined and dined this topic before. we’re in a predicament. because we’ve needed to remove any excuses for ponder to realize his potential, and ricky to have one last chance at justifying his reach for ponder, we neglected our D and the D stunk last year, so now we’re forced to focus our valuable early picks this year on defense, but one of those top picks has to be for a QB, because the aforementioned reach didn’t play up to his first round pick potential, or even second or third round potential, for that matter, when compared to recent super bowl winners. this kind of behavior, to vacillate from one extreme to another, isn’t uncommon in the nfl, and it doesn’t bother me all that much, it’s just where we are at right now, and we all can’t hire bill belichik

    for all the talk of who we’ll get to improve our defense, zim, norv, and spielman have indicated that we will be picking a QB. that QB pick will again be the most important move of all because it can set us back so far, years back, if this pick isn’t close to matching it’s importance. we are royally screwed if we pick the wrong QB, this is true for any nfl team, and where the bothering for me gets annoying. the fact that the pendulum has swung back to our QB issue again is just so damn disheartening, especially as we’ve watched our divisional competitors find pretty good QB play, and the pukers have ungodly luck with favre and rodgers. all other picks and FA moves we make this year will pale in comparison to this QB pick. yeah, it’s sadly redundant for the vikings, but it’s even worse now considering we’ve had two really bad years out of the last three. the nfl’s trajectory is still ramping towards the passing game and limiting smash-mouth football. QBs will only continue to become even more critical to the success of each team. if we fail with this QB pick, ricky, our ‘new’ and improving GM, will probably be gone, and AD’s last chances to win a title with the vikings will have been squandered, and that would truly be a shame

    i’m hoping that one of our young LBs can contribute this year, but we’re now so poor off at defense, we need help at all three levels. we’re gonna be stressed in this draft unless we can get some D help in FA, and that is gonna happen for sure, regardless of ricky’s desire to build from the draft, because he hired zimmer. ricky can’t say no to his own choice of a new head coach, who is a defensive guru, and will want some new elite defensive players right away to shore up our last place D. another ten days or so will render all of this current speculation moot, and then we can start over again, but the elephant in the room throws the football

  6. I will cry if the Vikings draft like this; the only pick I like is Borland in the third, and I wouldn’t mind Groy as a late rounder. Going off Drafttek and not selecting quarterbacks I’d take
    1. Anthony Barr OLB UCLA
    Talent is incredible he could be a top 3 pick in a different year, also has tremendous skill rushing the passer and would ease the loss of Jared Allen I see a Von Miller type player here who will not only help the defense but allow Zimmer to have some fun.
    2. Jack Mewhort OT/OG THE Ohio State University
    Could easily be Roby or Haggeman but I like Mewhort as a replacement for C Johnson and possibly Loadholt who we overpaid for and could be cut in a year or two if he doesn’t pick it up against speedy pass rushers.
    3(72). Jared Abbrederis WR Wisc
    I like him as an Eric Decker type #2 WR. He has good size 6’2″ 188lbs and could replace Simpson with Jennings moving to his slot position he loves and CP moving to WR1.
    3(96). Jimmy Garoppolo QB Eastern Illinois
    Had to cheat, there aren’t players I really want around this position and hes still avaliable.
    4. De’Anthony Thomas RB Oregon
    This one is for you Adam, Im giving you your receiving RB you’ve wanted for years.
    5. Chris Borland Mike LB Wisc.
    An absolute steal this late and according to Drafttek he’ll still be on the board.

    In rounds 6&7 I generally tend to favor players who have fallen and are still on the board IE: Herzlich, Burfict, and Tyler Sash are 3 players I have wanted in previous years.

    1. Aside from the first two picks, I think this would be a good draft (even though you cheated). I think Barr is definitely overrated. He has poor instincts and terrible play recognition and is technically extremely raw. He’s fast and that’s it. Sure, he’s still a first-round pick, but he won’t be productive for a few years and I’m not sure how much you can teach him instinct.

      Loadholt has been very good these last two years. In fact, he was great last year, Baltimore game aside. We may have issues with PFF’s grading (I certainly do at times), but it is significant that Phil was their second-best RT. I happen to agree he had a phenomenal year. I think the criticism of Loadholt is based off of his 09-11 years and doesn’t have relevance today (same with Jamarca Sanford). Mewhort is alright, but I don’t think the pick is spent upgrading a very, very good RT or a slightly less-than-average guard over the minefield of terrible talent elsewhere.

      Find it kind of weird that Borland lasts that long on Drafttek’s board, but that would be a total steal.

  7. Arif, great reports on these guys. I can read this kind of stuff about draft prospects all day. Lov it!

  8. Without picking a QB, the draft seems a little empty. So, it leads me to believe Spielman might be under some heavy pressure to get the QB position right.

    If Spielman is going to miss on a QB, is it better for him to be aggressive and try to move up and get Blake Bortles at #2 or sit back and hope one falls in his lap?

    If he does nothing and the the good QBs are off the board at pick 8 or 40, will Spielman be ran out of town by the fans?

  9. One way to get a QB through the draft but without actually drafting one is to call New England about Mallet. Sending them Seattle’s third round pick this year and a conditional pick the following year based on his play is really a fair deal for the Pats and would give us a young QB who fits the big strong armed passer mold we are expecting Turner to prefer. Mallet’s entering the last year of his contract, so if New England is fairly certain they won’t be retaining him, it would be far better to take the 96th overall pick this year and a conditional next season than to wait and get one compensation pick in the 2016 draft which would be no higher than 97th overall (and that would be absolute best case scenario). I’m not neccesarily pushing for this, but I think it’s a scenario that works.
    As far as the QB’s in the draft, this overall class is just too good to waste a pick reaching on a QB. If they are going to take one, they need to be sure. If they trade up, that means they are throwing away picks that could be used on other players and you don’t want to do that this year.

  10. i think it should be
    1st darqueze dennard cb
    2nd dee ford de
    3rd deone buchanon s
    3rd anthony johson nt
    4th moncrief wr ole miss
    5th chris borland ilb
    6th james wilder jr rb
    7th bpa

  11. that is bull shit. The Vikings are going to take a QB, they have too. Ponder is a piece of shit. But it doesn’t matter because speilmen will just screw it up.

    1. It’s an experimental mock, not an advocacy. If you took the time to read the intro, you’d know that I think the Vikings should (and probably will) take a QB. Calm down.

  12. I agree about Gilbert and Dix. Most on Dix, didn’t think he was all that but a lot of people obviously do. Also like the Crowell pick. Followed him, we need an RB2 that does what AD doesn’t. Catch passes fluidly. I don’t see the Nose we need in this draft. But it’s a huge need. I can appreciate you mocked with current roster considerations, but if I had to pick at 8 given the likely available (agree on Mack being gone and Barr being a ?) I go with the top TE. My reasoning is 2 fold, 2 tight is a young/ shitty qb blessing, and the position is violent, I worry about durability. There is no one else in the slotted area that is a surefire value, and rather than filling a hole you create an actual postion efficiency to go with tackle and WR. Offense becomes dangerous. I like the young LBs, I like the safeties. You can’t miss by stocking on d-line, corner the next several picks.
    It’s a mock draft where a feat would be to pick the first 3 correctly. Heck even #1 isn’t locked down. Who’s picking isn’t locked down!
    Instead of the tight end I’d take the best set of picks I can get, even if it includes a high selection next year. Compare our depth to SF or Sea, and you know we’re not 1 draft/free agency away. Why even think about taking a QB that landed in a draft that is loaded everywhere but. It would take the 1 guy falling, whoever they decide is that guy. How good is Norv at picking QBs? How should I know?? He maybe picked Gus Ferotte in the 7th. Good value I guess? He may have signed Trent Green from the cfl, he may have brought Kerry Collins to Oakland. If those were his moves, A) not a bad scraps hunter, how was he not with the vikings in the 90s? But B) Please don’t expect to win a championship. He possibly hasn’t picked a franchise Qb. No clue on his ability to judge talent, they had great squads in San Diego for years but that team was winning before he got there. Zimmer could be a great talent evaluator, and if he is I’d lay money on it they take people we aren’t pegging. Hilarious how some people keep going with Big10 talent. How about the guy from Ohio or Michigan or Wisconsin? Maybe that gopher or the one guy from penn state? At least you’re a good fan.

  13. Love the mock, especially the 2 kids from FSU. Joyner is a stud and I think Smith will add enough weight as a pro to be a solid will backer.

  14. Oh, also, Ealy could be great, but when you add up Richardson, Sam and other top players from one defense in a short period, I worry somebody benefitted from an overall strong D. Richardson has been great, so it should be easy to see the film and project, but think of Alabama .. Some of their guys work out, some don’t. Not saying any one prospect should be taken with a grain of salt because of how the odds play out, but it always happens, except to 2001 Miami. But everyone else has players that go big and players that go back to Alabama.

  15. I like most of it, I feel the need for a top CB, or FS in the first round. Need to fix the defense if we are going to win any games. If Blake Bortles is there at No.8 we need to take him but if not, fix the defense, I like the two men from FSU, I hope we can get them. I also like the man from Wisconsin. Maybe the RB also, but I seen a few that maybe better and I believe we could get in the third round. A lot of needs and not enough draft picks. Maybe a few FA would be helpful, I would hate to see the Vikings spend a lot of money and not get results. I feel for GM, I hope he receives some good advice from his new coaches and we get some real gems.