Minnesota Vikings 2011 Mock Draft 2: Drafting to Perfection
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Without a doubt, the most important position for the Vikings to address in 2011 is the quarterback spot. As it stands, former sixth-round pick Joe Webb is the starting quarterback.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound very assuring to me. The fact remains, the guy was drafted to play wide receiver. That is exactly where he should be.
Outside the quarterback position, the Vikings need to fix the offensive line. The line itself has been deteriorating for the last two seasons due to age concerns as well as injuries.
Adrian Peterson is not getting any younger and upgrades on the offensive line would do wonders. Remember the years he had with Matt Birk under center? Those were the day, weren't they?
The pieces are still there, but the biggest need is what is keeping this team from NFC North contention. How will they fix it? Well, only Leslie Frazier knows.
Keep in mind that this mock is what I think would be best for the team, but also a mixture of what head coach Leslie Frazier and Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman may do.
The Expert Analysis and the First-Round Trade!
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The Vikings are in a good spot here. Most experts have the Vikings picking a defensive end here, but that is one of the worst things the Vikings can do. In fact, Todd McShay, who has had the Vikings selecting Boston's offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo for several weeks now, changed his mind to defensive end Cameron Jordan. Want to hear his reasoning?
"Offensive tackle is another need area and Boston College's Anthony Castonzo or Colorado's Nate Solder are possibilities, but with two defensive ends from last year—Ray Edwards and Brian Robison—set to hit free agency, Jordan provides better value than an offensive tackle."
Can you find the error? If not, remember that Robison signed a three-year deal worth $14 million just a couple of weeks ago.
Kiper has the Vikings selecting defensive end Da'Quan Bowers at the 12th slot. His reasoning? Bowers was the best defensive end coming out of high school.
Great, too bad success in high school does not mean anything once the players get to college. The same thing could be said for the college ranks to the NFL.
If the Vikings do take a defensive end, I'll be a little more than angry. However, I was also very angry when they choose Percy Harvin in 2009 over Michael Oher. I guess things turned okay for both parties. Rick Spielman recently said he would take the best player available, but we have seen this before.
That said, there is obviously two great pass rushers available here that teams will be drooling over and defensive end is not an area of need for the Vikings. Thus, the Vikings may be looking to trade down to reacquire a lost pick.
The San Diego Chargers are looking for a pass rusher and with several picks to go before their choice, they make a splash. The Chargers, who own the 18th pick in the draft, make a trade with the Vikings.
The Chargers send their first- and second-round picks (18 and 50 overall, respectively) to the Vikings for the the 12th pick, a fifth-round pick (139 overall), and a conditional 2012 draft pick.
First Round (18 Overall): Quarterback Jake Locker (University of Washington)
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The only teams with a possibility of drafting Locker between Pick 13 and Pick 17 are the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams have bigger needs that can be addressed right away, so they may draft quarterbacks later on as projects.
The Vikings get their guy in Locker. The Vikings have studied Locker seemingly more than any other quarterback not named Blaine Gabbert.
While his accuracy remains an issue, the wide receivers did not help the causes in college. He displayed tremendous accuracy during his pro day and looked in great shape. Word is that his interviews have completely blown teams away as well!
Locker is a dual-threat quarterback who would work well in Minnesota. There is a "new" head coach, offensive coordinator, a "new" defensive coordinator, all of which cannot afford this pick to be a miss. I think fans would welcome him and he would transition well into an NFL offense.
Locker moves very well in the pocket, something the Viking's offensive line will need since their pass blocking is absolutely horrendous.
If indeed Locker is taken by either team (or a trade up to get Locker by another team), the Vikings may go after Ryan Mallet. It would be an extremely high risk, high reward type move. The Vikings will really need to improve their offensive line, but Mallet has the arm to make every throw.
Mallet's issues are all rumors right now, although many teams have been turned away by his attitude. The Vikings have the veteran locker room that could shut Mallet up long enough for him to be a productive athlete.
Second Round (43 Overall): DT Stephen Paea (Oregon State)
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Paea absolutely shattered the bench press record at the combine with an astounding 49 repetitions of 225 pounds!
With Pat Williams likely not returning, head coach Leslie Frazier may feel he needs to address the defensive tackle position.
Paea is not a pass rusher by any means, but he has the strength to move the pocket and command multiple lineman. He is not overly large like Pat Williams was, but his strength is superior and his ability to move makes him more valuable than Pat.
He is not flashy or exceptionally fast for a defensive tackle, but his agility and work ethic will get the job done.
He boosted his draft status at the combine with his performance, but will it really transition to the playing field? It will be fun to watch the guy play alongside Kevin Williams and Jared Allen!
I originally had safety Rahim Moore here, but Frazier insists on giving Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson another shot.
Second Round (50 Overall, from San Diego): G Marcus Cannon (TCU)
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This pick may be a long shot as Cannon (No. 61 in the picture) is currently the second to fourth best rated guard depending on your ranking choice.
Cannon is a massive body with impressive agility on the offensive line. At 6'6" and nearly 350 pounds, he is the type of lineman the Vikings have been linked to drafting in their history.
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton rode Cannon and his offensive line to a Rose Bowl victory earlier this year.
While many will be looking to draft a center or tackle, the Vikings may opt to take the best lineman available and there's no denying Cannon's ability to sustain himself on the offensive line.
With Cannon in at right guard, that may push Anthony Herrera to center where he played a little in the preseason of 2010. I think it is almost a done deal that John Sullivan will not be the starting center in 2011.
Third Round (74 Overall): ???
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Oh yeah, thanks Brad Clueless...
No third-round pick in 2011. No compensation pick in 2012. You are welcome New England.
Fourth Round (106 Overall): WR Austin Pettis (Boise State)
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If a new CBA is reached and allows Sidney Rice to test the free agent waters, he will not be in Minnesota next season.
So the Vikings need to find his replacement. Percy Harvin is merely a slot receiver who does not like being the No. 1 guy. Bernard Berrian has been nearly invisible since his breakout 2008 season.
The Vikings choose to go with a wide receiver here and the best one available may be Austin Pettis.
The guy is nearly identical to Rice in that he has major ups and great hands, although he is lacking in the speed department.
Pettis' career stats at Boise State of 229 receptions, 2,838 yards and 39 touchdowns would be an absolute steal at this point of the draft.
I'll admit that this is a "me" pick, but there's no doubt that Frazier will need to find a wide receiver in this draft and in round four, there isn't a better value than Pettis.
Round 5 (150 Overall): OT Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh)
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This selection is courtesy of the New York Giants in exchange for quarterback Sage Rosenfels and kick-returner Darius Reynaud.
Previous injury problem have caused Pinkston's stock to fall. If he had a healthy history, there's no doubt in my mind he could have been a second- to third-round pick.
Be it as it may, Pinkston may still be on the board. The Vikings tackles, Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt, have underperformed in the last two seasons. McKinnie somehow managed to earn an undeserved Pro Bowl selection after the 2009 season. He also become the first player in history to be dismissed from a Pro Bowl roster.
The Vikings will probably give Loadholt one more year to show he was worth that second-round selection, but his time may be fading fast.
Pinkston was a 2009 First Team All Big-East selection, so he clearly has some potential. It would be wise for the Vikings to consider drafting multiple offensive lineman.
Final Picks and Conclusion
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Round 6 (172 overall): OLB Doug Hogue (Syracuse)
The Vikings are very thin at linebacker. They pick one up here that is an absolute beast physically, but may has trouble with the mental aspects of the game. He could sit for a few years, but let's be honest. Sixth-round picks don't seem to last long in the NFL.
Round 6 (200 overall): DE Karl Klug (Iowa)
The Vikings are thin at defensive end and many experts predict they will grab one very early in the draft. They could do this in the second round and once again ignore a horrid offensive line. Klug (pictured) is a solid athlete who offers nothing but a player who can be a rotational backup.
Round 7 (215 overall): TE Zach Pianialto (North Carolina)
Again the Vikings select a tight end in the late rounds and again he will probably not even make the team. It will be interesting to see what the Vikings do with their draft picks since there are so many roster spots to fill.
Round 7 (236 overall): ILB Brian Smith (Notre Dame)
This is one pick that would have a legitimate shot at making the team. The Vikings need linebackers and Smith could transition to the outside, adding to his versatility and making him more valuable to the team.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read through this mock. Let me know what you think in the comments section below. SKOL VIKINGS!