Latest PFF Mock Draft Has Greek Flavor for Vikings

Latest PFF Mock Draft Has Greek Flavor for Vikings
George Karlaftis

As various draft pundits foresee the Minnesota Vikings hopping into bed with cornerback on Thursday night, Pro Football Focus predicts Greek flavoring for the purple team via defensive line.

For months, most draft brains envision the Vikings ending up with Ahmad Gardner, Derek Stingley Jr., Trent McDuffie, or Andrew Booth Jr., but EDGE rusher is also a roster need for Minnesota. The Vikings employ a top-heavy tandem of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, followed by D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones II, Janarius Robinson, and Kenny Willekes on the DE depth chart.

If PFF is correct with its latest mock draft, though, George Karlaftis from Purdue will soon have white horns on his helmet. Stingley Jr. went to the Houston Texans, Ahmad Gardner tumbled to the New York Jets, and Karlaftis became a Viking. Connor McQuiston of PFF wrote about the Karlaftis choice:

“New acquisition Za’Darius Smith should help alleviate some of these concerns, but he will be on the wrong side of 30 when the season starts. Karlaftis’ 25.4% pass rush win rate ranked fifth in the FBS last season among players with at least 250 pass-rush snaps, giving the Vikings much needed pass rush juice with the frame and strength to bump inside on pass-rush downs if necessary.”

Connor McQuiston | Pro Football Focus
Indiana offensive lineman Luke Haggard (70) blocks Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis. Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. Cfb Purdue Vs Indiana

Emigrating from Greece at age 13, Karlaftis was a Purdue Boilermaker for three seasons, tabulating 14 sacks in 26 games. Oliver Hodgkinson from Pro Football Network called Karlaftis a man who “moves incredibly well, surprisingly so, [displaying] excellent burst, can change direction smoothly, and can often be found chasing down the opposition.”

VikingsTerritory‘s Josh Frey said about Karlaftis, “Everything about Karlaftis is mystical from his physique of a Greek god, his water polo background, to his pure power as a pass-rusher; it’s hard to argue that any pick is too high for him to go in this class.”

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Purdue defensive lineman George Karlaftis. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, ESPN’s Jordan Reid ranked the Greek man as the 34th-best player in the 2022 draft class, assigning Karlaftis a Round 2 grade.

No matter what comes of Danielle Hunter’s ever-evolving contractual situation — chatter will likely heat up again next spring — or how the Za’Darius Smith experiment pans out, drafting Karlaftis would set the Vikings up for the long-term at EDGE rusher. For now, that future rests in Hunter sticking around, plus Wonnum, Jones II, and Robinson developing.

A cornerback is still the favorite to land in Minnesota on Thursday, but pass rushers like Karlaftis, Jermaine Johnson II, and Travon Walker cannot be ignored, mainly because this draft is Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft as boss.

Karlaftis turned 21 years old three weeks ago.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).