10 days out from the draft every NFL teams front office is locked in and finalizing their draft plans. Teams are also calling around the league and gauging value for potential trades up and down the draft board. From what I’ve heard teams like the depth this draft has to offer over the top 40-50 prospects or so. This can create a buyers market and decrease costs to move up the board. In this mock the Vikings try to take advantage of this by acquiring a first round pick, something I believe is somewhat likely come draft day.
1(31) *via ATL – Cam Robinson (RG/RT Alabama): The Vikings make a move up the board with ATL to acquire a late 1st round pick and 5th round selection #174. In return the Vikings trade away their 2nd round pick and first third round pick #79. The Vikings are committed to winning in the run game and pushing defensive lineman around the line of scrimmage. Cam Robinson player on the left side in Alabama’s run first attack but projects to the right side in the NFL. He wins with power and a strong punch at the line and has the light feet to get to the second level. Initially Robinson can play RG with the ability to slide out to RT if either Reiff or Remmers were to suffer an injury. In time he should be able to compete at RT with the potential to still move back to the left side if he develops to his ceiling.
2(48) – Traded to ATL for 1(31) & 3(79)
3(79) – Traded to ATL for 1(31) & 3(79)
3(86) *via MIA – Jalen Myrick (CB Minnesota): Another DB is not one of the Vikings top priority, but the teams needs security into the future. The goal is for Mackenzie Alexander to develop into the #3 DB but secluding him to the slot may not be the teams best development tactic. Drafting Myrick allows the coaching staff to rotate Alexander into the slot as needed but also rotate him on the outside with Trae Waynes / Terence Newman. Assuming this is Newman’s last season it is important to have a developed and cost controllable secondary and taking a corner early would do that. Myrick is a long (not tall) and quick DB who play tight coverage all over the field. His ball skills are average and he has a good feel for playing downhill against the run. Mike Zimmer made a trip over to the U of M recently to take in an on-field workout which would support there is some mutual interest there. There is also added value in Myrick’s ability to return kicks with Patterson’s departure.
4(121) – George Kittle (TE Iowa): In a deep TE class being able to grab a multi-functional talent like Kittle in the mid-4th is great value. Behind Kyle Rudolph there is no real receiving threat. Not only is depth an issue, but is prevents using your TE’s creatively across the formation. On a team that wants to funnel offense through the ground game, TE’s are invaluable. Kittle is a willing and tenacious blocker inside the formation on tape he is shown clearing out lineman, linebackers, and defensive backs. In the receiving game Kittle can work down the seam and curl at the marker to move the chains. Having a player who can play inside the formation immediately gives the Vikings an improved blocker at TE but more importantly allows Shumur to move Rudolph around the field to create matchup issues for opponents.
4(129) – Samaje Perine (RB Oklahoma): Similar to the depth at TE being able to grab a potential 3-down back in the middle rounds is great value. Perine is more of a power player who excels and running downhill with proper pad level and good balance. He isn’t a burner in the open field but is slippery in the sense that he can’t be brought down with arm tackles and smaller DB’s have issue breaking him down in the open field. Jerrick McKinnon and Latavius Murray will be the main players in the backfield this upcoming season, but Perine can take carrier here or there and can develop into a bell cow back.
5(160) – Tanzel Smart (DT Tulsa): I wouldn’t be so fast to say that Sharrif Floyd’s career is over but a potential return does push a 3-tech down the board unless a great value can be found earlier. Smart will need time to develop additional pass rushing moves but has the raw first step quickness to get into the backfield and attack the QB. When rotated with a combination of Shamar Stephen and Tom Johnson he would have the opportunity to make an impact in year during clear passing situations. If Floyd were to return in the future he can remain as a rotational piece without feeling like you left a ton of value on the table.
5(174) *via ATL – Elijah Lee (OLB Kansas State): The departure of Chad Greenway doesn’t leave a gaping hole at OLB with Emmanuel Lamur on the roster, but depth is missing. Long-term Lamur is in the last year of his deal and Edmond Robinson is more valuable as depth behind Anthony Barr. Lee is a high effort tackling machine who has the speed to play some coverage if needed but doesn’t project as a nickel LB. Typically the Vikings like freak athletes at linebacker but Lee is solid enough fundamentally that he is worth bucking the trend for.
6(199) – Jon Toth (C Kentucky): Joe Berger is the projected center in 2017 but this is likely his last season as a Viking. Toth is a nice developmental center but isn’t ready to make an impact immediately. Nick Easton was able to get some snaps late in the season last year but is not the foregone center of the future. Toth brings in competition to camp and allows Berger to be moving to an OG spot in the case of injury. The Vikings learned first hand how you can never have enough line depth and Toth is a great fit.
7(232) – KD Cannon (Baylor): Baylor receivers get a bad rap with scouts since they don’t run block and walk back to the huddle but that shouldn’t stop Cannon from being drafted. Cannon is a one-trick pony who can pressure defenses down the field vertically. That type of ability can keep him on the roster as he develops into a more well-rounded player. The losses of Johnson and Patterson challenged the Vikings depth at receiver. Going into 2017 Fruechte & Cannon can move into their roster spots.