It's been a quiet offseason for the Minnesota Vikings.
At this time last year, the Vikings were a quarterback away from being Super Bowl contenders and didn't need to fill a lot of holes.
Oh how the times have changed.
With Brett Favre once again mulling retirement, Pat Williams likely entering his final NFL year, an unhealthy secondary, and depth needed in almost all positions, the Vikings will have to be very careful in this draft.
In this mock, I'll give two different scenarios for rounds 1-4. Rounds 5-7 will only have one scenario as it is nearly impossible to predict what will happen in those rounds.
Round 1 (30 overall) Scenario 1: CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)
McCourty has seen his draft stock soar over the last few weeks thanks to an impressive showing at the combine followed by an equally impressive on his Pro Day.
McCourty is not known as an interception machine, but he has great coverage skills and is a solid tackler, something defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier loves. He gets beat on deep balls at times, but his deceptive speed helps him recover quickly.
With the Browns' recent trade for former Pro Bowl cornerback Sheldon Brown, that greatly increases the chances that McCourty will fall to the Vikings. The Browns had previously been interested in cornerback Joe Haden which dips his stock a little bit, so this is great news for Vikings fans.
With Antoine Winfield getting up there in age and the status of Cedric Griffin uncertain heading into the offseason, McCourty is almost a sure-thing for the Vikings in the first round.
Round 1 (30 overall) Scenario 2: C/G Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)
Pouncey is a versatile offensive lineman who can play every position on the line.
The Vikings need an upgrade somewhere on the offensive line, most likely at right guard where veteran Anthony Herrera is not getting the job done. Coaches are in love with center John Sullivan, right tackle Phil Loadholt is entering only his second season, right guard Steve Hutchinson is still a great lineman, and replacing right tackle Bryant McKinnie isn't a move that the Vikings are interested in making. Herrera is the odd-man out in this scenario.
Pouncey would immediately step in and give the Vikings a young, solid foundation for the right side of the line that would be there for a decade.
Round 2 (62 overall) Scenario 1: QB Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan)
There's Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen at the top of the quarterback class. After that, there's a huge drop until you reach Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy. After that, there's another slight drop off until you hit Jevan Snead, Jarret Brown, Tony Pike, and Dan LeFevour.
The top four quarterbacks listed above would likely be gone by the time the Vikings get to choose in round two, so they take the best available quarterback and that's no doubt LeFevour.
He completed nearly 70 percent of his passes last season with a 22/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his junior year. He has great size for an NFL quarterback and displayed fantastic decision making all season long.
LeFevour is also a great runner. He ran for nearly 3,000 yards in four years. That's also something head coach Brad Childress loves with his quarterbacks.
The only knock on LeFevour in that he didn't throw at the combine. That shouldn't stop the Vikings though. If they wait until round three, he may not be there.
Round 2 (62 overall) Scenario 2: CB Chris Cook (Virginia)
The Vikings have been interested in cook since the combine where Cook registered a solid 4.43 40-yard dash. He's tall for a cornerback at 6'2" and has the weight to match at 212 pounds. His play-making ability could have him moved to safety where he played a little in college.
Cook has struggled with injuries, but when has that stopped the Vikings who have selected Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson in the last three years? Both had considerable durability issues, yet both won rookie of the year honors.
Cook is another great cover corner who registered four interceptions as a senior while battling groin injuries. He has too much upside. The only problem is, he may be gone by this time.
Round 3 (93 overall) Scenario 1: G John Jerry (Ole Miss)
The 2010 All-SEC first teamer had a great year for Ole Miss and was the lone bright spot on a relatively poor offensive line.
Jerry blocked for senior sensation Dexter McCluster who has also seen his draft stock rise in recent weeks. Had it not been for Jerry, it's hard to imagine McCluster would even be considered a day two pick at best.
While Ole Miss had a down year in 2009, that shouldn't stop the Vikings from taking a long look Jones. The Vikings love big offensive lineman and at 6'5" and 335 pounds, Jerry fits the mold of a Vikings offensive lineman.
He may be gone by round three, but weird things happen on draft day.
Round 3 (93 overall) Scenario 2: QB Jevan Snead (Ole Miss)
Snead definitely had a down year in 2009. I remember before the season started that Mel Kiper Jr. had this kid pegged as the No. 1 overall selection.
See what six months can do to your draft stock?
Snead barely completed 51 percent of his passes with a 15/12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. With sensation Dexter McCluster as your running back, you should post somewhat better stats and show better decision making.
However, at the combine and his Pro Day, Snead wowed scouts. He ran an unimpressive 40-yard dash at just over 5.00, but his accuracy and improvement in his decision making is what made up the difference.
Snead has tremendous upside and should easily be available at round three. When you were a former No. one overall prospect, you must have some value, right?
Round 4 (128 overall) Scenario 1: S Van Eskridge (East Carolina)
He played great all season long and proved to be a solid play maker. With nine interceptions in the last two seasons, the Vikings shouldn't even think twice about it.
Free safety is a position that has killed the Vikings for the last decade. They have failed to find a long-term starter. In 2008, they gave up some big money to former Bengal Madieu Williams, but he didn't do anything in 2009 after being injured for most of 2008.
Van is a great player. His biggest problem is a lack of elite speed which is likely what is keeping him from being a top five safety in the draft.
Round 4 (128 overall) Scenario 2: RB Montario Hardesty (Tennessee)
The Vikings are in need of a running back to backup Adrian Peterson. Most mocks have the Vikings taking a running back in the first three rounds, but I thought they had much bigger needs.
A lot would have to happen for Hardesty to fall to the Vikings in round four, but running back is becoming less of a need as most teams are fairly set at the position which is bad news for all running backs.
There are a lot of great running backs to choose from, but Hardesty probably has the best hands which is what the Vikings need after losing third-down specialist Chester Taylor to the NFC North rival Chicago Bears.
The Vikings wouldn't need a lot out of Hardesty, but enough to give Peterson a break every now and then to put sticky tape on his hands so he can quit fumbling.
Round 5a (161 overall): OLB Roddrick Muckleroy (Texas)
Muckleroy has started the past two seasons at Texas, and looked great both seasons with 190 total tackles (13 for loss) and eight pass deflections. His speed and athleticism would be a great addition for a team that is severely lacking in linebacker depth.
Like 2009 rookie Jasper Brinkley, Muckleroy is a thumper. He hits hard and is extremely aggressive. Both are traits that Frazier would love to have on his defense.
Muckleroy would likely replace Ben Leber in 2011 unless the Vikings draft one in the early rounds in 2011. Leber is entering his final year and may not be with the team after that.
He may require some work, but he may be too good to pass up if he's available.
Round 5b (167 overall; compensation pick): FB John Conner (Kentucky)
The Vikings current fullback, Naufahu Tahi isn't very good and his ridiculous salary is embarrassing. Taking a fullback wouldn't be a bad idea. After all, at least Conner can block.
Round 6 (199 overall): C Erik Cook (New Mexico)
Does that last name ring any bells Vikings fans? It should, because older brother Ryan Cook was drafted by the Vikings in round two of 2006.
Just hearing that last name sends shivers down my spine, but the Vikings like pairing brothers. They drafted Jasper Brinkley last season and gave serious consideration to twin brother Casper Brinkley before Carolina got him. Casper is currently a free agent.
Then there's E.J. Henderson and his younger brother, Erin, who is currently a special teams player.
Hopefully Cook is better than his older brother because 2008 was the ugliest year from a Vikings right tackle in history.
Round 7 (237 overall): DE James Ruffin (Northern Iowa)
The Vikings starting defensive ends are great, but the depth is very thin.
Brian Robison is a great backup that actually plays both defensive end and defensive tackle, but there's nothing after that.
Ruffin led the Missouri Valley Conference with 11 sacks in 2009. He wasn't invited to the combine, but at his Pro Day, he benched 225 pounds 27 times and ran a 4.73 40-yard dash.
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