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Curiously, Vikings Pivot Back to DT in Latest PFF Mock Draft

When the Minnesota Vikings signed defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson from the New York Giants in March, the bulk of mock drafts pivoted to the team’s defensive end and offensive line needs. A defensive tackle at the Vikings 14th spot in the draft has been a mock-draft scarcity during the last month.

But on Monday, prominent Pro Football Focus personality, Sam Monson, sent Christian Barmore the Vikings in his latest mock draft.

It’s been a while. Barmore was a popular prediction target for Minnesota before free agency, but the “roster need” segment of draft philosophy was quenched when Tomlinson agreed to terms with the Vikings.

Monson wrote about his decision of Barmore:

“The Vikings would shed a silent, single tear if Darrisaw went one pick before their chance to snag him. They end up pivoting back to a pick many were penciling in for this team before free agency. Minnesota may already have Michael Pierce returning and new free agent acquisition Dalvin Tomlinson on board, but neither of those players can rush the passer the way Barmore did in his final season at Alabama. There is space for all three to be impact players on the same line throughout a season. This is a pick that would anger a lot of Vikings fans, but it would be the smartest move in this situation.”

Tomlinson signed on the dotted line for two years with the Vikings, so Monson’s theory must enable grooming of Barmore for a couple of seasons. Most draft heads, though, foresee Barmore as a day-one starter. Ergo, his relationship to Minnesota’s 2021 defensive line is a flummoxing one. The more the merrier — evidently.

Jordan Reid of The Draft Network breaks down Barmore’s scouting report like this:

“He already has a rock-solid and mature upper body that makes it hard for blockers to engage and stick against his frame. The Alabama interior defender possesses outstanding raw power combined with active, busy, and powerful hands that enable his frame to remain clean and disengage when desired. Even though he’s had limited reps, Barmore has proven to be excellent with executing swim/arm over moves that allow him to make plays behind the line or in his gap as a run defender. As a redshirt freshman, he was treated mostly as a third-down specialist prior to the final four games of the season. He has the versatility to play 1- or 3-technique in an even front, but he’s also spent a lot of his reps as a base 4i/4-technique in Alabama’s odd front. Barmore doesn’t understand the leverage of how to withstand against double teams and he can be pushed back because of his high pad level.” 

Back to Monson, it’s worth noting that the Vikings passed on these players in his mock draft: Micah Parsons (LB), Jaylen Waddle (WR), Caleb Farley (CB), and Jaelan Phillips (EDGE). The Vikings failing to grab Parsons from Penn State is especially interesting because PFF’s own big board ranks the linebacker as the seventh-best overall player in the entire draft. It would be astonishing if general manager Rick Spielman left Parsons on the board at #14. Why? Because long-time linebacker Anthony Barr is only under contract for one more year. Parsons has the sizzle to succeed Barr in 2022, if necessary.

For 2021’s sake, Barmore — if Monson is correct and he is the pick — would add a boatload of depth to Minnesota’s defensive line. It’s hard to imagine that Spielman would make Tomlinson his big offseason signing, only to request DT2 services from the man.

On a fun note, Tomlinson and Barmore both attended the University of Alabama — about three years apart.

 

Dustin Baker

Writer. Host of Bleav in Vikings Podcast w/B-Mac & Baker.

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cka2nd
cka2nd
25 days ago

Might the Barmore selection make more sense if you consider that the Vikings signed two free agent defensive tackles in 2014, Mike Zimmer’s first season as head coach? We had drafted Sharrif Floyd in the first round the year before to take over from Kevin Williams as our 3-tech, let both of our 2013 starting DT’s (Williams and Letroy Guion) walk in free agency after the season, and then signed Linval Joseph to become our nose tackle, and Tom Johnson to back-up Floyd and rotate in on passing downs. Along with rookie 7th rounder Shamar Stephen, the members of our 2014 interior defensive line were all in either the first or second year of their contracts, and included significant capital invested in Floyd and Joseph, if not in Johnson and Stephen.

NT1: Pierce = Joseph
NT2: Watts = Stephen
3T1: Tomlinson (for two years) = Floyd
3T2: Barmore = Johnson now, Floyd (as planned) later on

As investments, Barmore and Floyd would have both cost us 1st round draft picks, Joseph and Pierce were both Tier 2 free agents, and Watts and Stephen low round draft picks. The only disconnect is between Tomlinson, a Tier 2 free agent, and Johnson, a Tier 4 free agent signed to only a one-year, vet minimum or slightly above prove-it deal (and prove it he did, earning a three-year contract for 2015-17).

Maybe the logic behind drafting Barmore is that since we desperately need an interior pass rush anyway, why not get a defensive tackle who can rush the passer, while also defending the run better than some defensive end or tweener you might otherwise have to rotate inside, whether one already on your roster (Weatherly, Wonnum and Mata’afa) or one who could cost you a Day 1 or Day 2 draft pick? And this way, you have a DT who you control for up to five years (not including franchise tags) who can take over at 3-tech from your free agent after two years, instead of signing a Geno Atkins to join the IDL rotation for only a year.

I’d only hate this pick if it meant our offensive line was not getting the investments it needs, not because I would prefer a DE, CB, S or QB, some of the other positions bandied about as options for our first round pick.

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