Minnesota Vikings Mock Draft: 7-Round Selections with Videos
The 2012 NFL draft is just over a week away and, for the most part, it's getting easier to get an idea of how teams might play their hands.
In my mind, the biggest areas of need for the Minnesota Vikings are ranked as offensive line, safety (either spot), Mike linebacker, cornerback and then Will linebacker. Though I would rank the needs this way, I'm sure others will argue against me. I'll do my best to explain that argument as it comes up on the slides.
The Vikings have had a history of taking the best player available in certain situations. While they have plenty of holes on both sides of the ball, Vikings fans must expect that the team won't reach for an area of need (okay, Christian Ponder is the exception—not the rule) and pick the player that comes with the most value to the team.
Along with this mock draft, I'm going to include whatever highlight video I can find for each player. Hopefully, seeing the player that I'm predicting will explain some of the reason why I chose that player.
Here are my seven-round predictions.
Round 1: 3rd Overall Pick
Player: Matt Kalil
Position: Left Tackle
Height/Weight: 6'7", 295 pounds
Projected Round: Top 5
Matt Kalil is the only pick here. There has been plenty of speculation that the Vikings will pass on Kalil and go after CB Morris Claiborne or WR Justin Blackmon, but I just don't see it. If we're sticking with the Best Player Available mentality, Kalil is head-and-shoulders above both of those two players.
You could make the argument that the Vikings should trade down to accumulate more picks, but the reality is that trading is not worth the risk if you can't get a blue-chip player like Kalil.
Kalil not only helps Christian Ponder grow because of the improved pass-protection, but he also helps Adrian Peterson get back to form by contributing in the run game as well. Taking a wideout or a corner only helps one facet on either side of the ball. Kalil, on the other hand, makes the whole offense better.
Round 2: 35th Overall Pick
Player: Harrison Smith
Position: Free Safety
School: Notre Dame
Height/Weight: 6'1", 212 pounds
Projected Round: Round 1-2
The first point that I want to make with this pick is that free safety is a much bigger need than corner or wide receiver. You could argue that Alshon Jeffery or Janoris Jenkins could still be available here, and I'm not knocking either of them, but I want Smith in round two.
The Tampa Two defense does not require lock-down cornerbacks—the ones they have on their roster will get the job done for now. The system is build on a strong defensive line, a Mike linebacker with great vision and two above-average safeties to keep the passes in front of them.
The Vikings have the offensive line, and could potentially have their Mike backer in Jasper Brinkley, but they don't have even one starting-caliber safety.
Harrison Smith is the best free safety prospect in his class and automatically becomes the starter without the Vikings re-signing Husain Abdullah. Once the Vikings put two competent safeties on the back end of their secondary, the corners won't seem so bad.
Round 3: 66th Overall Pick
Player: Brian Quick
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Appalachian State
Height/Weight: 6'4", 210 pounds
Projected Round: Round 2-3
Brian Quick isn't a flashy receiver. He isn't 6'6", he doesn't run a 4.3 40-yard dash and he doesn't have any outstanding character concerns that will make him particularly entertaining to watch.
The things that Brian Quick has going for him are his incredible hands and his ability to come back to the ball.
The Vikings don't need a project at wide receiver. Drafting for potential is always key, but when you're looking at Tommy Streeter or Stephen Hill, you know that it could be a season or two before they actually get the ability to run NFL routes.
Though he is a small school guy, the Vikings got a chance to see Quick at the Senior Bowl. He started off unimpressive at the first day of practice, but after a day or two, he started to process the playbook and played pretty well in the game.
Quick will be overlooked by teams that are polarized by the height/speed combinations possessed by Streeter and Hill. It would be wise to grab him in the beginning of the third round and potentially get a starting-quality receiver.
Round 4: 98th Overall Pick
Player: Sean Spence
Position: Will Linebacker
School: Miami (FL)
Height/Weight: 5'11", 219 pounds
Projected Round: Round 3-4
The Vikings don't have a lot of depth at any of their linebacker positions. They were able to re-sign WLB Erin Henderson to a one-year deal, but lost Kenny Onatolu and potentially E.J. Henderson in the process. Given that Jasper Brinkley is the starting Mike linebacker at this point after being injured for all of 2011—and has no camp competition—linebacker becomes an area of great need.
Though the Vikings re-signed Erin Henderson and locked up their WLB spot, Sean Spence is too valuable not to take in the beginning of the fourth round. I would speculate that Henderson could be moved in to the Mike backer spot and allow Spence to compete for the starting WLB spot.
Even if Spence isn't able to start, he's got enough versatility to play all three 4-3 linebacker positions. His stock is as low as it is because of he relatively small size, but he plays much bigger than his frame suggests.
This pick is full of value, and that's what the Vikings need.
Round 4: 128th Overall Pick
Player: Antonio Allen
Position: Strong Safety
School: South Carolina
Height/Weight: 6'1", 202 pounds
Projected Round: Round 3-4
The Vikings could very well go cornerback at this point in the draft, but they could also find value in SS Antonio Allen. By attempting to solidify their two safety positions, they may not find two starters, but they will start some competition in training camp and will maximize the potential from all of the young DBs on the roster.
Allen is not the most technically sound safety in his class, but he's a good tackler and is a leader on the field. He has pretty decent ball skills and would certainly push the older players on the roster.
Round 4: 134th Overall Pick
Player: DeVier Posey
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Ohio State
Height/Weight: 6'2", 210 pounds
Projected Round: Round 5-6
By all accounts, we have the first reach of my mock draft.
DeVier Posey didn't play in 2011 because he was suspended for "receiving improper benefits" from boosters. Most scouts would call that a character issue. Though I'm not a scout and don't claim to be, I don't see how getting tattoos from money you received from boosters will really affect your career as an NFL player.
Posey is not a big physical receiver, but he has great hands, runs clean routes and, most importantly, is a fantastic run blocker. Posey fights for extra yards and will be a solid role player in the NFL.
I know, I haven't answered why I reached for him here.
Posey has the potential to be a playmaker. His great hands will be reason enough for a team to take a chance on him. With how many passes Vikings receivers dropped in 2011, a sure-handed target with decent potential is a solid pickup in the end of the fourth round.
Round 5: 138th Overall Pick
Player: Ryan Miller
Position: Offensive Guard
Height/Weight: 6'7", 326 pounds
Projected Round: Round 4-5
There isn't much to say about Ryan Miller.
He's got better-than-ideal size for an offensive lineman and is good at opening running lanes. He's not going to be a starter—not even for the Vikings—but he will add depth to an offensive line that desperately needs it.
Round 6: 175th Overall Pick
Player: Chris Galippo
Position: Inside Linebacker
Height/Weight: 6'2", 250 pounds
Projected Round: N/A
Chris Galippo will be a project. He played inside linebacker, not Mike backer, at USC. This would obviously require some kind of transition stage, but it could be worth the trouble.
The Vikings have one of the best LB coaches in the NFL in Fred Pagac. There would be no guarantee that Galippo could be coached into a starting role, but if there was a coach that could do it, it would be Pagac.
The Vikings need depth at LB, and Galippo has decent potential as a late-round pick.
Round 7: 210th Overall Pick
Player: Christian Tupou
Position: Defensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6'2", 300 pounds
Projected Round: N/A
You can always use depth in the trenches. The Vikings find decent value in DT Christian Tupou in the seventh round.
Tupou doesn't "wow" you, but he has the ability to plug up running lanes and could be a nice project for defensive line coach Brendan Daly.
Round 7: 223rd Overall Pick
Player: Ron Brooks
Height/Weight: 5'10", 190 pounds
Projected Round: N/A
In the interest of competition in the secondary, I thought a guy from Cornerback-U could come into camp and fight for a roster spot. How can the guy that played with the ranks of Morris Claiborne, Patrick Peterson and the "Honeybadger" Tyrann Mathieu really be that bad?
Even the practice squad could be a long shot for a guy like Brooks who didn't really impress at the combine or on the field, but with the right coaching, who knows?
This is a low-risk pick. If Brooks doesn't pan out, no harm done. If he does, cool beans.
Thanks for reading.
Follow me on Twitter @McAndrewsSports