Draft Analyst Posts Strange Mock Draft for Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings are in a crucial period in franchise history because the new quarterback could arrive in the first round of the 2024 draft following the exit of six-year starter Kirk Cousins. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has acquired an additional first-rounder, likely making his trade offers look more attractive.

Draft Analyst Posts Strange Mock Draft for Vikings

Draft Analyst Posts Strange Mock Draft for Vikings
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Adofo-Mensah wants a new franchise quarterback and some defensive help. He surely desires to find some gems on day three; perhaps a new receiver, a sidekick for Justin Jefferson, and Jordan Addison could take the offense to a new level. If he indeed packages picks 11 and 23 to slide into the top ranks of the draft to snatch a signal-caller, he would be without a selection until the fourth round, pick 108.

He could fill two holes by staying put but would probably miss out on the top guys in the draft. However, that is precisely what Ryan Fowler, a draft analyst at The Draft Network, did in his latest mock draft.

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In his simulation, the Vikings use their picks instead of trading them, and the franchise ends up with Washington’s quarterback, Michael Penix Jr., and Florida State’s defensive lineman, Braden Fiske. On the surface level, the two choices would fill two needs. A new defensive tackle would undoubtedly benefit defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

It’s all about fit here. Throwing to Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison won’t hurt—neither will the threat of T.J. Hockenson up the seam. The team also brought in RB Aaron Jones, has an excellent front five, and I like the idea of Michael Penix Jr. learning under the tutelage of Kevin O’Connell. Oh, and he would play in a dome? Yeah, I like the fit.

Ryan Fowler, The Draft Network

Penix is a true pocket passer with an electric arm. His homerun power was prominent in the playoffs when he shredded Texas’ defense. The problem is that he hasn’t displayed the ability to feature the middle of the field and the quick game. In Kevin O’Connell’s complex offense, the passer must be able to feature all areas of the field, so it can be questioned if Penix is a good fit in addition to his alarming injury history.

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Fowler’s explanation for Fiske’s selection:

This pick is expected to be packaged to move up for a QB, but if it’s not, give me Braden Fiske, who remains one of my favorite players in the class. The additions of Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel provide more pop off the edge, but Fiske would immediately push the pocket from the interior with day-one three-down potential.

Ryan Fowler, The Draft Network

Fiske is coming off a season with six sacks and nine tackles for loss at FSU following four seasons as a contributor to Western Michigan’s defensive unit. He could provide the spark Minnesota needs upfront. The defense has lacked a true difference-maker in the middle of the defensive line, and Fiske has the potential to be that. There is nothing wrong with selecting Fiske.

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However, Fiske isn’t viewed as a first-rounder. On the consensus board from The Athletic’s Austin Mock and Nick Baumgardner, Fiske ranks 43rd. Trading up from 42 to 23 to pick the 43rd player seems strange, especially with highly touted pass rusher Dallas Turner (Alabama), who ranks eighth still available.

Of course, those draft boards don’t necessarily reflect how teams regard the players. But suppose most draft analysts think Fiske is a second-rounder, and the Vikings virtually spent two second-round picks on him. In that case, that doesn’t really fit Adofo-Mensah’s typical value speeches.

Penix ranks 40th on the same list. The picks fill needs but don’t really bring the value the GM is chasing.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt