Already, we've seen this draft (along with many of my previous mocks) deviate from the norm for the Vikings, as a number of analysts have the Vikings selecting a receiver in the first round and addressing other needs later.
In fact, in this database compiled by Christopher Gates of the Daily Norseman, nearly 62 percent of those mocks have the Vikings taking a receiver in the first round, with only about 32 percent taking a defensive tackle.
It's a crapshoot figuring out which wide receivers will last into the second round. Matt Miller has Robert Woods of USC, DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson and Terrance Williams of Baylor all falling to picks close to the Vikings at 52, while Drafttek's computer simulation has Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee and Aaron Dobson of Marshall seeing the latter half of the second round (a simulation aided by the help of Michael Schottey, who does excellent work here at the Bleacher Report as well).
CBS' prospect rankers see Markus Wheaton of Oregon State, Da'Rick Rogers of Tennessee Tech and Justin Hunter of Tennessee in the late second round, with Terrance Williams higher and Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech, Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas and Stedman Bailey of West Virginia potentially rounding out the bottom of the second and top of the third.
Nevertheless, it certainly seems like a talented receiver should be available to the Vikings in the second round, including some predictions that have presseason favorite Robert Woods or bowl-game darling DeAndre Hopkins.
The consensus seems to be, however, that a receiver like Terrance Williams will be available near enough to the Vikings that they could either pick him outright at 52 or trade a minimal amount to grab him.
More likely than not, a former track star like Woods can put to rest claims that he's not a burner and move up in the workout phase of the draft, at both the combine and his pro day—athleticism he'll have regained after fully recovering from his ankle injury.
Hopkins seems to be rising as a result of his Peach Bowl performance against an elite secondary in that of LSU. A backwards look at his film seems to confirm a lot of the basic skills that Hopkins exhibited in that game.
Cordarrelle Patterson has been mocked in perhaps more random places than any other receiver in this group, with the NFL draft tracker ranking him as the top receiver, Drafttek ranking him as the ninth-best receiver and numerous other groups ranking him in between. It does seem that he will generally go higher than the Vikings can select, especially because the workout stages coming up should be extremely favorable to him.
Williams shouldn't be seen as a consolation pick, however.
He wasn't asked to run a lot of routes at Baylor and needs more short-area quickness, but he is a prototypical field stretcher with speed and size. He has excellent body control that complements his focus on the ball well, as he can track the ball and adjust to it extremely well.
He has been asked to run the types of routes the Vikings either run often or need more of, as the complex underneath routes seem to be handled well by the rest of the receiving corps. His comebacks, fades and post routes are all well developed, and he can time those steps well.
With his ability to shake cornerbacks with both speed and classic shake-off techniques, he can become a legitimate outside threat.
More than that, however, he fits in the Vikings offense perhaps better than any other receiver above him—the combination of deep speed, ability to adjust to poorly placed passes and his tenacious run blocking all provide the Vikings with what they need (a deep threat), with a receiver who can make up for mistakes from a quarterback with concerning play (generating yards after the catch even with balls placed behind him or too high) and one that can enable the most powerful facet of the Vikings offense (excellent edge blocking and the ability to open up defenses).
The possession receivers above him might not provide the capability to go deep, while many of the field stretchers are poor blockers. The Vikings know they have talent in the slot and just need to find ways to give headaches to defensive coordinators.
Williams could very easily be that guy.