NFL Draft 2016

What Should the Vikings Do With Their First Selection of the 2016 Draft?

Finally the NFL Draft is here! Well, almost.

At least now the league’s annual event is less than one month away from taking place. Soon enough, each team will do their best at selecting the right players to add to their roster and then the Cleveland Browns will end the careers of a new set of rookies.

Unlike the New England Patriots, the Minnesota Vikings have not made an enemy of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and are going to be allowed to keep their first round selection in this year’s draft. With their very first draft pick in 2016, will the Vikings keep it boring or will they use the selection to become the talk of the league after the draft’s opening night?

Scenario 1: Offense

Needs: offensive line, wide receiver, running back

Almost every mock draft that has been published up until now has envisioned the Vikings taking a wide receiver in the first round. But do they really need one?

Was the lack of wide receiver production in 2015 a result of bad pass protection or even poor play calling? Would it not be a better idea for Minnesota to draft an offensive lineman to improve the unit and see what the Vikings receivers can do when they have more than half a second to get open?

Look at the Patriots. In the last 14 seasons, New England’s passing offense has not ranked lower than 12th in the league in terms of total passing yardage.

The Patriots offensive line gave up an average of only 27 sacks during that time span. That total number of sacks allowed would have been the 4th least amount given up by a team in 2015.

It may be in Minnesota’s best interest to continue their efforts in building a successful offensive line this offseason and perhaps worry about their “need” for a receiver next year.

The Vikings could shock the league by selecting a running back with their first selection, but the crop of running backs available in this year’s draft class says that Minnesota would be better off filling a different need. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is now 31-years-old, but drafting his future replacement in the first round seems unlikely this year.

Scenario 2: Defense

Needs: safety, linebacker

Mike Zimmer has been Minnesota’s head coach for the past two seasons and in each of the last two drafts, the Vikings have selected a defensive player in the first round. So even though all of the “experts” have Minnesota taking an offensive player with their first pick, it should not come as a shock if the team chooses to use the pick to add another player to their defense.

There is one safety that has been consistently been given a first round grade by various media outlets and that is Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey. He is regarded as one of the best players available in the entire draft which would make it highly unlikely that he would last all the way to 23 for the Vikings.

Other than Ramsey, there are really no other safeties available in this draft class that have been deemed worthy of a first round selection. If Minnesota is going to take a safety in this draft, it will likely come after the first round.

Now, drafting a linebacker rather than a safety in the first round seems like a much more plausible scenario for the Vikings. The top talent available this year in terms of linebackers makes it seem viable for there to be a few of them taken in the first round.

By selecting a linebacker in the first round of this year’s draft, it would be the third consecutive year in which Minnesota used a pick on a linebacker within the draft’s first two rounds. If Minnesota opts to not select a linebacker with the 23rd selection, they could always just draft the best player available on defense.

When it comes to the best player on offense or defense being available, Zimmer is more than likely going to make sure the Vikings choose the player who plays on the defensive side of the ball.

Scenario 3: Trade

In having a general manager like Rick Spielman, Minnesota will always be a candidate to make a trade in the first round of the draft. In three of the past four years, the Vikings have come home with multiple first round draft selections thanks to the wizardry of Spielman.

In the last four drafts, Spielman has not been shy about making a trade with another team. His work has resulted in more than 15 trades involving more than 39 draft picks and five players.

This year seems like it would be a prime opportunity for Spielman to add another transaction to his trade total. Based on where Minnesota is slotted in the first round, their position could become very valuable to another team looking to move up or back into the first round.

If Spielman and the Vikings do decide to trade the 23rd pick to another team, do not expect them to remain out of the first round if that is the outcome of the trade. Since all first round draft selections come with contracts that include a team option for a fifth year, Spielman would more than likely make sure Minnesota trades back into the first round even if it is the very last pick.

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Adam Patrick

Adam has been rooting for the Vikings ever since he saw Randall Cunningham win NFC Special Teams Player of the week in 1997. Since his career sports highlights include 3rd place at 5th Grade Golf Camp and catching a ball during a soccer game (he was not playing goalie), Adam turned to writing. He considers himself a 'Vikings Realist' as he does not shy away from criticizing the purple and gold if necessary. He will not always write about the popular topics, but his goal is to provide readers with content they cannot find anywhere else. Follow him on Twitter @Str8_Cash_Homey

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36 Comments

  1. Linebacker in the first round two years ago and linebacker in second round last year. I believe we take the third linebacker in the first round again. Zimmer is getting this team right.

    1. Too much depth in d line class this year. Can get a solid d linemen in later rounds if need be. I like Floyd or Lee at lb but might not be available. It all depends on whos left but i see us trading out of 23rd spot

      1. To trade out you need a trade partner,and that is easier said than done.The strength of this draft is with the defensive players,so to get a quality player you need to draft defense early and not wait and take an inferior player later.

  2. Personally, while I am a big fan of a solid OL…I think it really matters is …who is there. While I think we need a WR, picking one up in the 2nd round would not be a disaster given it is unclear if there is a dominant receiver in round 1. Lets say the #3 and #4 OL guys (Decker, Conklin are off). . Now lets say a couple of the higher ranked WRs are still around (Doctson, Michael Thomas)…While it is easy to say pick one of them I think it depends on what defensive talent is around (Darron Lee, Billings, Rankings)….If we really do not have the WR of our choice (and maybe Rick does not like any one of the them in the 1st round) it seems picking up a probable defensive stud would be best.

    nobody thought Floyd would fall to 23 a few years ago (and while he has not been great, he has been solid when not injured…we could have done much worse)

    As for trading down…while not a bad idea, it is not obvious we need 10 picks this year. When we had a ton of holes, 10 picks was correct, but now I think we need less, but more…probable hits in our picking.

    1. Very well said.

      It seems everyone has Rick and Co. Drafting a WR. I’m not sure a WR in round 1 is the way to go. BPA! Rick should be able to find an impact player or as you mentioned someone who is very good and reliable (Floyd).

      There should be WR’s available in round 2. Boyd and the 2 Buckeye’s come to mind. If not, then don’t force it. If they go with OL in round 1, there are OLB and SS’s that could make an impact projected in round 2. If they pick an OLB in round 1 (Lee would be awesome) there is OL help available in round 3.

      1 – OT Conklin or Decker
      2 – SS Bell or Cash
      OLB Cravens or Perry
      WR Thomas, Miller or Boyd
      3 – if WR in 2nd then SS Kilebrew?

      1 – OLB Lee (yay)
      2 – WR Thomas, Miller or Boyd
      SS Bell or Cash
      3 – OT Murphy, G Tretola or SS Kliebrew
      4 – G Kirkland, SS Kearse

      A great Defense with a good offense wins Super Bowls. We are close. Another stud on defense, an improved OL and who know, maybe they take home the big one!

      Lots of choices. Keep the pre draft post going. I for one am addicted.

      1. I should have added we are close, with a little luck, NO FUMBLES and KICKING STRAIGHT maybe they bring home the SB trophy.

      2. I’m pretty in line with your thoughts on the draft.

        My preferred order in the first round is:

        1. Jake Conklin – OT
        2. Darron Lee – OLB
        3. Andrew Billings – DT
        4. Taylor Decker – T/G
        5. Sheldon Rankins – DT
        6. Kevin Dodd – DE
        7. A’Shawn Robinson – DT
        8. Trade down
        9. Reggie Ragland – ILB
        10. Emmanuel Ogbah – DE

        In a trade down to the bottom of the first, the players I would look there would be:

        1. Any of the above mentioned players
        2. Jason Spriggs – OT
        3. Jonathon Bullard – DT
        4. Jason Reed – DT
        5. Laquon Treadwell – WR
        6. Corey Coleman – WR
        7. Josh Doctson – WR

        In the second round:

        1. Tyler Boyd – WR
        2. Michael Thomas – WR
        3. Cody Whitehair – OG
        4. Hunter Henry – TE
        5. Sterling Shepard – WR
        6. Braxton Miller – WR
        7. Jeremy Cash – S
        8. Su’a Cravens – S/LB
        9. Shon Coleman – OT
        10.Vann Bell – S

        Third Round:

        1. Karl Joseph – S
        2. Miles Killebrew – S
        3. Ryan Kelly – C
        4. Germain Ifedi – OT
        5. Kenny Clark – DT
        6. Pharoh Cooper – WR
        7. Darian Thompson – S
        8. Nick Martin – C
        9. Deion Jones – OLB
        10.Willie Henry – DT
        11.Joshua Garnett – OG
        12.Christian Westerman – OG
        13.Kyler Fackrell – OLB
        14.Keanu Neal – S
        15.Adolphus Washington – DL
        16.Scooby Wright – ILB

      3. I don’t see the need to WASTE the # 23 pick in round 1 on a LB when that player will only be on the field for +/- 25% of the defensive plays.
        WR, OL, S & RB are more important than LB anymore, besides Lee from Ohio State is very over-hyped, a smart man would angle for Dion Lewis from LSU in rd2 or rd3.

        1. I think Zimmer would prefer a base set – if he had a player such as Lee I doubt they would take him out on obvious passing downs.

          1. Lol, oh really, and you personally know Coach Zimmer and what he is thinking/wanting ?
            Who would play nickle CB ?….Lee ? Kendricks ? Barr ?

            1. If they draft a 3 down linebacker and then move Anthony Barr to DE in the nickel, move Everson to the inside and have Danielle on the other side, we might have the most feared nickel pass rush in all of football.

    2. since our roster has very few openings and we are in fact fairly deep at a lot of positions, i think this draft it might be more favourable to focus on quality, not quantity. If, and it is a big IF, Jaylon Smith’s knee looks like it has a chance to recover even if it takes another 6-8 months, i would love to see the Vikes take him even in the first round , perhaps even by trading down a few slots and capturing a few extra picks to use as powder to trade up in 2nd and perhaps 3rd round. I’m not sold on taking a WR in the 1st round and here is why: I think Teddy will be more effective if he does not have a clear #1 WR that he is always going to have to try and force the ball into because we happened to draft someone in the 1st round. Teddy is better when he chucks the ball around to many different players (see AZ game and Chicago #2). Look at the teams that have that alpha #1 receiver – Detroit circa megatron, Atlanta J.Jones, Cinci AJ Green, Giants Beckham, Chicago Jefferey, Dallas Bryant. I would much rather have a 1A (Diggs?) and 1B arrangement where each week either one is going to be the primary receiver. I think we are fine on OL for now but fine w drafting another one after rnd 1. I think Loadholt will be cut but remember that we also have some developmental guys we have drafted in the past few years that could step up and add depth.

    3. With the last picks he likes to pick multiple players from his weakest position group – perhaps hoping that one stands out after getting to evaluate them after receiving coaching. I think this is a great strategy rather than choosing one guy each from a number of positions and hoping for the best.

    1. Since you spent soooooooo much time writing your well thought out reply a explanation is in order for your outright hatred of Josh Doctson…..let me guess, he doesn’t play for your favorite college team (I smell the stench of a Buckeye homer), or you think your Mel Kiper 2.0 and have all the necessary info to make your well thought out “Anything but Josh Doctson” statement.

      1. I could care less about where anyone went to school other than how it affects the level of competition they faced, Let’s see 1) he cant run routes well, 2) he’s 25 which both means he will have a shorter career and he was beating up on much younger, less experienced, less physically developed competition, 3) I don’t think he fits what the Teddy does well and its naïve to think Teddy will all of a sudden be a deep ball king with JD on the team, 4) I don’t think he will be nearly as successful in the nfl at jump balls as he was in college, and 5) anyone who spells dog with an aw is a retard so if you like him he must suck. There, take your pick.

      2. Well since you’re so clever bigdawgdaddy then maybe you should be making the case for Doctson and why he’s worth a first round pick? Perhaps you should enlighten us?
        Wyatt is entitled to his opinion,he never said he hated Doctson.The question at hand is “What should the Vikings to with there first pick”.Many people think taking Doctson in round 1 is a reach when there will be better quality players available on defense.
        If the Vikings want to build a team to go deep into the playoffs in coming years,they need to be making quality picks,not reaching for guys that will likely still be available with a later pick.

  3. Am I the only Vikes fan here who thinks our biggest need after free agency signings is at cornerback? You never know when a guy gets old and Newman is going to be 38. Waynes could be very bust-worthy biting on first moves and grabbing people. It tells me something how little he played last year after a nightmarish pre-season. We also lost Robinson at nickel. This is a pass happy league and you can’t have too many cover guys. This is a decent year for rookies at CB and we need one.

    1. I believe we will draft a corner at some point but I think Waynes will be fine. He was playing a lot more at the end of the year and playing fairly well. It’s nice to have Newman as a safety net, though.

  4. Offense: I think we need to grab a receiver in one of the first 2 rounds. They already added a couple of good offensive linemen in free agency, plus Sully and Loadholt should be healthy again. Unless we can get a solid left tackle, I think we’re fine on the offensive line. I agree that we need a running back but I’d be perfectly willing to wait until rounds 3-5 to address that. All we need is a bruiser to pair with McKinnon when Peterson leaves/retires. There should be plenty guys like that in the middle rounds of the draft.

    Defense: Ideally, I’d also want to see a safety in one of the first 2 rounds. I think we’re okay there but Michael Griffin is a bit past his prime and we need a long term option anyway. I might be the only one who’s completely fine with the linebackers on the roster. I think Barr-Kendricks-Greenway are still a solid starting group, especially since Greenway’s role is shrinking every year. We have a few talented young backups too. We could add another guy in the mid-late rounds of the draft, but I see quite a few people expecting us to take a linebacker in one of first 3 rounds. I don’t think that’s necessary. Linebacker is an afterthought for me going into this draft

  5. I would love to see Zimmer finish what he started with the D! If you are willing to trade up and pick up a guy like Myles Jack. What a stout young LB core we would have for years to come!

    1. I concur that Zim Tsu needs stallions to make this defense ultra-elite. DT is deep this year. My suggestion is grab best one available at 23. Possible Billings DT Baylor or Rankins DT Louisville. Second round take best secondary available. A slot corner nickelback, safety or LB. Although our safety spot opposite Mr Smith could be Harris or Exum. I do like the Griffen signing. Third round another physical freak like Hunter to rush the QB.

      MOAR DEFENSE!

  6. Mid to late round picks, I’m in favor of either Boddy-Calhoun or Murray in the secondary. I believe that those two are definite sleepers and will develop there game very well at the next level!

  7. No matter what O-Lineman we draft he is not likely to start and I think there are quality WRs available to be had in the later rounds, I would not be all that surprised to see Barr, Hendricks and Jack with Cravens next Smith at safety … then just throw one out there and very late first or early second trade 2017 1st rnd. pick for Jaylon Smith OLB/ILB ND … now Coach Zimmer can go to a 3-4 in 2017 Smith probably IR for all of 2016.

    Since for the next couple years we will be drafting in the late 29s or early 30s. hopefully #32 both years … If Myles Jack makes it past #5 …
    Traded 23rd pick & 1st round pick in 2018 for
    Round 1 Pick 6 (BALT): Myles Jack, “OLB”/ILB, UCLA
    Round 2 Pick 23: Su’a Cravens, OLB/”SS”, Southern California
    Round 3 Pick 23: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
    Round 5 Pick 12 (DET): Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State
    Round 5 Pick 21: Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU
    Round 5 Pick 30 (DET): Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
    Round 6 Pick 5: D.J. Reader DT Clemson
    Round 6 Pick 16 (DET): Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
    Round 7 Pick 19: De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
    Round 7 Pick 23: Deiondre’ Hall, CB, Northern Iowa

    IMHO don’t sleep on Reader DT was a Clemson Captain or Marshall RB from Georgia very good all around back and Hall CB from Northern Iowa can play in the NFL for sure …

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