Minnesota Vikings Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions Post Combine
The biggest need for the Minnesota Vikings is at the quarterback position.
The biggest problem for the Vikings is that the big three quarterbacks (Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater) of this class are all likely to be gone by the time they make the No. 8 selection.
That was the thought process before the NFL combine.
Well, the combine has passed...and nothing has changed. That is, unless you are a firm follower of ESPN's Ron Jaworski, who said he wouldn't select Manziel in the first three rounds.
Aside from him, very few people believe those three quarterbacks will last long, which makes it that much more important for the Vikings to sign a veteran who can start in 2014 and draft a project-type quarterback later in the 2014 draft, whom offensive coordinator Norv Turner can mold.
That mindset is reflected in the seven-round mock draft here.
The Vikings have plenty of defensive needs, and that side of the ball will receive plenty of help in this mock.
Step inside as we go pick by pick for the Vikings' 2014 draft.
Note: Combine results are courtesy of NFL.com.
First Round, No. 8: C.J. Mosley, Alabama Middle Linebacker
The ideal situation for the Vikings would be if Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater fell to the No. 8 spot. Thus, in the eyes of most, they could acquire their franchise quarterback and reap significant value from the selection.
Alas, that appears unlikely. All three are very hot commodities, and six of the seven teams drafting in front of Minnesota (minus Atlanta) have a need at quarterback.
At this point, the Vikings will trade this pick if they can but will otherwise select a linebacker or defensive back.
Buffalo's Khalil Mack and Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert should be on their radar, if either or both are still available; I expect Mack will be gone by No. 8.
C.J. Mosley or Gilbert would look great in purple and gold, but my gut leans toward Mosley.
The Vikings haven't had noteworthy play at middle linebacker since E.J. Henderson roamed the middle, and even his play was erratic.
The middle linebacker is the quarterback of the defense, and while Audie Cole could develop into a worthy starter, CBS Sports compares Mosley to Tampa Bay's Lavonte David, who has recorded 100-plus tackles in his two years of NFL experience and was named First-Team All Pro.
He participated in limited drills at the NFL combine, which didn't include the 40-yard dash, so if the Vikings are interested, you can expect to see them at his pro day on March 12.
Second Round, No. 8 (No. 40 Overall): Deone Bucannon, Washington State Safety
At this point, it's a one-man show in the defensive backfield.
And Harrison Smith wants to tango. So, Minnesota needs to find him a partner.
Deone Bucannon could be his man. He is the best of both worlds, as far as the safety position is concerned.
He's not afraid to (and can) viciously hit offensive players when going across the middle, or he can come up and successfully aid the run defense.
He's also able to drop back and cover receivers deep. He has the ball skills to intercept quarterbacks who put the ball in his vicinity.
In Vikings terms, he could (loosely) develop into a hybrid combination of Darren Sharper and Robert Griffith.
At the combine, Bucannon posted the third-fastest 40-yard dash among safeties to combine with a 36.5-inch vertical leap and 19 reps on the bench press.
Walter Football declared him one of its risers among defensive backs after the combine, although it opined that he "has a shot" to become a second-round pick (implying he's not worthy of the status yet).
Third Round, No. 8 (No. 72 Overall): Keith McGill, Utah Cornerback
The biggest name floated around when trying to determine Keith McGill's NFL comparison is Richard Sherman, as this ESPN post suggests.
McGill compares very well to Sherman physically. At 6'3" and 211 pounds, he is the same height as Sherman and 16 pounds heavier.
The Utah product had a good combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and boasting a 39-inch vertical leap.
Walter Football declared him one of the risers among defensive backs after the combine.
NFL.com opines that he has "rare size" and is "very good athletically" while citing concerns over his run support and footwork.
Given his size, potential and the Vikings' dire need for help in pass coverage more so than run defense (Vikings were 31st against the pass and 16th against the run), they'll overlook his deficiencies in run defense for his pass-defense abilities.
Fourth Round, No. 8 (No. 104 Overall): Brandon Thomas, Clemson Guard
It seems all but certain Charlie Johnson won't be Minnesota's starting left guard for 2014 or beyond. It's less certain about whether he'll return as a backup.
Regardless, the left guard position needs to be addressed in some way.
Brandon Thomas could be the answer, or he could fail.
He has experience at guard and tackle, but at 6'3" and 317 pounds, he's likely better built for the interior of the offensive line.
That same NFL.com report questions his intelligence as a football player and his power.
If it makes you feel better about the latter concern, he bench pressed 225 pounds 35 times at the combine—the sixth most by an offensive lineman in 2014.
Fifth Round, No. 8 (No. 136 Overall): David Fales, San Jose State Quarterback
As mentioned in the opening slide, if the Vikings cannot acquire one of the "big three" quarterbacks of this class, they would be wise to obtain a player whom offensive coordinator Norv Turner can develop.
David Fales could be that guy.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Fales had "the freedom to audible and overrule the center's protection calls" at the line of scrimmage, which highlights his intelligence and ability to get along with a coaching staff.
He threw for 4,189 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2013 but also had 13 interceptions.
CBS Sports projects him to be selected in the fourth or fifth round and lauds his footwork, intelligence and accuracy while questioning his arm strength, athleticism and size.
At the combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.99 seconds while boasting a 28-inch vertical leap.
NFL.com declares that, at worst, he "should be a quality backup in a precision-matchup system."
Sixth Round, No. 8 (No. 168 Overall): Shamar Stephen, UConn Defensive Tackle
The run defense could use some help on the interior.
With Kevin Williams likely on his way out the door and Pat Williams having been gone for three full seasons, the Williams Wall that stopped running games in their tracks is tipping over and on the verge of collapse.
Reinforcements are needed.
Sharrif Floyd, the heir apparent to Kevin Williams, is known more for his abilities as a pass-rushing defensive tackle than a run-stuffer.
And with Letroy Guion not panning out in any way and Fred Evans best suited to be a rotational player, Shamar Stephen is an intriguing prospect, especially in the sixth round.
CBS Sports says he "offers size and power as a run stuffer in the middle, capable of lining up as a nose guard in either alignment. With better use of hands, he could offer something against the pass, as well."
NFL.com lauds him for his physical skills while calling him out as an "underachiever" at UConn. It believes he is a "developmental" prospect that defensive line coaches could "mold" into a difference maker.
Those are desirable qualities in a sixth-round selection. At this point, all prospects are tainted. But teams are looking for the diamonds in the rough who could surpass their projected value, and Stephen could be that kind of player.
At the NFL combine, he bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times (tied for 21st best among defensive linemen) while running the 40-yard dash in 5.25 seconds and posting a 30.5-inch vertical leap.
Seventh Round, No. 8 (No. 200 Overall): Carrington Byndom, Texas Cornerback
With Chris Cook and Marcus Sherels as free agents and A.J. Jefferson cut, the Vikings have plenty of holes to fill at the cornerback spot and potentially many more.
This position, more so than any other on the roster, could use multiple selections in the draft to address it, depending what the Vikings do in free agency.
In the video above, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller compares Carrington Byndom to free-agent cornerback Asante Samuel, who is a four-time Pro Bowl cornerback with 51 interceptions over his five-year career.
Now, Miller's reason for making that comparison is due to Byndom's aggressiveness in jumping routes to record interceptions (which is something that Minnesota cornerbacks haven't been known for; Cook has as many NFL interceptions as you and me combined).
Miller also is critical of Byndom for minimal development during his time at Texas, which either means he's as good as he's going to get or just needs more coaching. He could be a diamond in the rough for the Vikings.
CBS Sports projects him to be selected in the seventh round. He was not invited to the NFL combine.