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Minnesota Vikings 2011 Mock Draft: Will the Vikes Go QB in the First Round?

Tanner ThomsSenior Analyst IDecember 22, 2010

Minnesota Vikings 2011 Mock Draft: Will the Vikes Go QB in the First Round?

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    Auburn Tigers Quarterback Cameron NewtonMike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Well, the Vikings are 5-9. I would have laughed anybody off if they told me that would be Minnesota's record in week 16.

    I guess the truth hurts.

    Minnesota is a team that is struggling on both sides of the ball. There is hardly one area where they've succeeded this year whatsoever.

    With the 2011 draft a mere four months away, the Vikings are looking at a potential top ten draft pick. But who will Minnesota be targeting?

    Names like Cameron Newton, Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker have all been mentioned, but obviously none of these outstanding players are a lock.

    I will be doing a full seven-round mock draft for the Vikings. Minnesota, as most of you know, do not have a third round pick, which was traded to the Patriots for Randy Moss.

    With the ninth pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings select...

Round One (9): Ryan Mallett, Quarterback, Arkansas

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 238 lbs.

    40 time: 5.12

    Stock: Top ten pick

    Much of whether or not the Vikings select a quarterback will be based on how well Joe Webb does at quarterback over the last two games of the season.

    If Minnesota can only base it off Webb's performance against the Bears, I can almost certainly guarantee that the Vikings will take a quarterback in the first round.

    Ryan Mallett is a fantastic quarterback with an incredibly strong arm. He's known for throwing a fantastic "long ball," which would be a good sign for Sidney Rice, if he re-signs.

    While Jake Locker may be a better fit for the offense, he's not nearly as good. Mallett's size, strength, and power are like that of JaMarcus Russell, but Mallett's work ethic is much greater.



    Probability of landing with Vikings:

    40 percent

    I list it as 40 percent because I believe that Mallett could go top five to a team like the Bengals or Cardinals, who will need a quarterback next year.

    That said, if Mallett is available, he's taken by Minnesota.



    Minnesota's 2011 depth chart (QB):

    1. Ryan Mallett, rookie

    2. Joe Webb, second year

    3. Billy Volek, twelfth year

Round Two (41): Ras-I Dowling, Defensive Back, Virginia

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 200 lbs.

    40 time: 4.54

    Stock: Mid-second to late-second

    I may get a lot of heat for this pick, but if Minnesota's secondary continues to play this way, they're in serious trouble.

    Losing Cedric Griffin took a major hit to the Vikings' secondary, which couldn't be made up for by Asher Allen, Lito Sheppard, Chris Cook or Frank Walker.

    With Antoine Winfield's career coming to an end soon, Minnesota will need depth in the secondary more than ever before.

    Ras-I Dowling is very similar to Chris Cook in size, but Cook is clearly the better player at this point.

    Despite missing almost all of his senior season, Dowling is still considered to be one of the best cornerback's eligible for the draft.



    Probably of landing with Vikings:

    20 percent

    My reasoning for only 20 percent is because Dowling's stock may continue to fall if he doesn't make up for his injuries at the combine.

    Still, 20 percent is a pretty big number.



    Minnesota's 2011 depth chart (CB):

    1. Antoine Winfield, 13th year

    2. Cedric Griffin, sixth year

    3. Chris Cook, second year

    4. Ras-I Dowling, rookie

    5. Asher Allen, third year

Round Four (109): Stephen Schilling, Guard, Michigan

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 308 lbs.

    40 time: 5.14

    Stock: Late third to early fourth

    Anthony Herrera, Minnesota's usual starter at right guard, went down for the year a month ago, and was replaced by Chris DeGeare.

    While Herrera's 2011 contract is at just under $3 million, he may end up either traded or released in the offseason.

    The Vikings' depth on the offensive line is absolutely putrid. They've shown all year long that they can't create holes for Adrian Peterson to run through.

    While I don't know a ton on Schilling, he's definitely a guard prospect to look for over the course of the next four months.

    Schilling will play in the Senior Bowl on January 29 in Mobile, Alabama. He will have a tremendous chance to boost his stock by doing so.



    Probability of landing with Vikings:

    25 percent

    The more I read about Stephen Schilling, the more I like his play. He would be able to fill more than one need for Minnesota on the offensive line.

    I truly believe he could be the eventual starter for Steve Hutchinson at left guard once Hutch decides to hang up his cleats.



    Minnesota's 2011 depth chart (G):

    Right guard
    :

    1. Chris DeGeare, second year

    2. Ryan Cook, sixth year

    Left guard:

    1. Steve Hutchinson, 11th year

    2. Stephen Schilling, rookie

Round Five (146): Tejay Johnson, Free Safety, Texas Christian University

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 212 lbs.

    40 time: 4.56

    Stock: Fifth round

    First off, I would absolutely love it if the Vikings went with a safety with this pick. Minnesota's corner's haven't played well this year, but their safeties have been even worse.

    I can't even count the number of times Madieu Williams has given up a huge play this year. In the end, it will likely get him cut from the team.

    If Minnesota wants to rebuild in certain areas, the Vikings' safeties will likely be on the way out, sooner rather than later.

    Tejay Johnson is a fantastic athlete that is on the rise. His leadership on defense is one of the biggest reasons why TCU is known for their stellar defense.

    Although it's highly unlikely that he'll be a starter from the get-go, Johnson should have an impact in situational packages and on special teams.



    Probability of landing with Vikings:

    30 percent

    I give Tejay Johnson's chances of landing with Minnesota around 30 percent because I think he's another player that could go even higher.

    If Johnson dominates in TCU's Rose Bowl game against the Wisconsin Badgers, his stock could elevate into the third or fourth round, potentially.



    Minnesota's 2011 depth chart (FS):

    1. Husain Abdullah
    (normally plays strong safety, but he's a candidate to switch over), fourth year

    2. Chris Cook, second year

    3. Tejay Johnson, rookie

Round Six (186): Brian Duncan, Outside Linebacker, Texas Tech

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 248 lbs.

    40 time: 4.73

    Stock: Mid-sixth to early seventh

    Minnesota should continue to go for defensive players, and they will fill another need by selecting an outside linebacker in the sixth round.

    Ben Leber, Minnesota's weakside linebacker, is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason. I believe there's a good chance he's allowed to walk.

    The Vikings need depth at linebacker, and there's no better way to get it then selecting a prospect in the draft.

    Brian Duncan is not a big name, but he's one of the better linebackers in the Big 12. He was named as an honorable mention for the All-Big 12 team.

    One of Duncan's more memorable moments was in the Red Raider's bowl game against the Michigan State Spartans last year.

    Duncan recorded eight tackles and a forced fumble in the win.



    Probability of landing with Vikings:

    15 percent

    I give Duncan a small percent because I think he could be somewhat of a reach early in the sixth round. A lot of sites have him listed as a seventh round prospect.

    That said, Minnesota's need for an outside linebacker may force them into reaching for one late in the draft.

    Brian Duncan has almost no chance of being a factor in his first year, but Minnesota rarely displays their rookies before they're fully ready.



    Minnesota's 2011 depth chart (WLB):

    1. Ben Leber, 10th year

    2. Erin Henderson, third year

    3. Brian Duncan, rookie

Round Seven (222): Kyle Hix, Offensive Tackle, Texas

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 325 lbs.

    40 time: 5.32

    Stock: Late sixth to early seventh

    As I mentioned before, Minnesota's offensive line is at an all-time low in almost every category imaginable. They need all the help they can get.

    Thus far, Phil Loadholt hasn't impressed many, unlike what was expected from him when the Vikings took the 6'8" tackle in the second round in 2009.

    I'm not necessarily saying he'll be benched in 2011, but there's a chance that his mistakes will wind up costing Loadholt his job.

    Kyle Hix is a gigantic offensive tackle, which Minnesota loves for some reason. In my opinion, the Vikings organization overrates size far too much.

    Hix has missed some time for the Longhorns this season, which is likely the cause of his stock dropping as of late.

    Kyle has played in 40 games with the Longhorns, 28 of those games have come from Hix playing at right tackle, rather than left.



    Probability of landing with Vikings:

    20 percent

    There will be many options in the seventh round for Minnesota, but I don't see the Vikings addressing any other position than right tackle.

    Kyle Hix will likely be available with this pick, and there's a high chance that he'll be the best option left for Minnesota.


    Minnesota's 2011 depth chart (RT):

    1. Phil Loadholt, third year

    2. Ryan Cook, sixth year

    3. Kyle Hix, rookie

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