Minnesota Vikings Day-1 Draft Guide – Compact Edition
We sit just hours from the biggest Minnesota Vikings draft in recent memory. As the draft draws near, the Vikings are in an interesting spot, with their two 1st round picks (22, 25).
On the surface, those picks seem like a giant advantage… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. With those two picks, comes a lot of pressure. Viking fans know best, what can happen in big pressure situations.
Daniel Jeremiah from NFL.com released his final Top-150 big board, on April 20. I took his top-25 and I went through potential fits for the Vikings, based on how the draft might transpire. Spielman will more-than-likely go OL, WR, or CB/S so those are the positions I focused on.
Again, just as much can go wrong, having two first rounders, as can go right. The Vikings must nail these two picks, in order to jumpstart this draft and keep this franchise trending in an upward trajectory.
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com) – Top 25
|1||Chase Young||EDGE||Ohio State|
|4||Jeffery Okudah||CB||Ohio State|
|8||Javon Kinlaw||DT||South Carolina|
|10||Jedrick Wills Jr||OT||Alabama|
|12||Henry Ruggs III||WR||Alabama|
|13||Tristan Wirfs||OG||Tristan Wirfs|
|23||Jordan Love||QB||Utah State|
|24||Brandon Aiyuk||WR||Arizona State|
CeeDee Lamb – WR (Oklahoma) Lamb is labeled by Jeremiah as the top WR in the class. He is a pipe dream at 22, but given the Draft capital the Vikings hold with 5 picks in the first three rounds… Lamb would be a Day 1 starter opposite Adam Thielen if the Vikings decided to unload some of those picks.
Jerry Jeudy – WR (Alabama) Jeudy comes in one spot behind Lamb and I don’t think you can go wrong with either. Jeudy would probably take a trade up but, because of new worries about an injured knee, some have projected him to tumble down the board… He’s the best route runner in the class and would step in as a Day 1 starter next to Thielen (if healthy), hoping to eventually take over number 1.
Henry Ruggs III – WR (Alabama) Ruggs comes in at number 12 on Jeremiah’s big board. Ruggs is the definition of speed. Not nearly as polished as the first two, not worth a trade up. If he falls to 22, I’m taking him based on BPA.
Without trading up, I don’t see any of these first three names being available. This is the deepest WR draft ever, the first three names are top tier.
Laviska Shenault – WR (Colorado) After losing Stefon Diggs, the Vikings obviously have a need at outside receiver and Shenault brings that play making ability. He was deemed a “big play waiting to happen” by The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid. The Vikings aren’t going to replace Diggs, snap to snap, but Shenault would bring another home run threat for Kirk Cousins.
Justin Jefferson – WR (LSU) This is a name I’ve seen tied to the Vikings quite a bit in mock drafts. Jefferson was on display, as Joe Burrow led the LSU Tigers to the National Championship last season. He ran a smooth 4.43 at the Combine and that’s the type of speed the Vikings need on the outside. Deemed the “inaccuracy eraser” by thedraftnetwork.com he won’t have to worry much about that with Kirk Cousins. He also brings one trait that Coach Zimmer loves. Toughness. There are rumors though, that some teams like Jefferson more than the three at the top of this receiver list.
Tristan Wirfs – OT (Iowa) My one word description for this man is “animal”. YouTube the guy if you want to see what I’m talking about. Wirfs came into the combine at 6’5 320 lbs. blazed on the 40 with a 4.85, a vertical jump of 36.5, broad jump of 121, and 24 reps on the bench press. Freak of nature would be an understatement. Wirfs comes in 13th on Jeremiah’s big board. If he drops around 17-18ish, and I’m Minnesota, I look seriously at a move up the board to snag him. Reiff has been serviceable, but at that $13 mil cap hit, Wirfs could be an improvement on the field and in the pocketbook.
Mekhi Becton – OT (Louisville) Becton is Jeremiah’s top rated offensive lineman in the draft. This man is a monster. At 6’9”, 369 lbs, he’s also light on his feet as he ran a 5.10 40 yard dash. (Note – he weighed in at a slim 357 lbs at the combine per Daniel Jeremiah) Barring a trade up, Becton will be wearing a draft cap well before the Vikings pick. Even though OL has always been an issue in Minnesota, the draft capital it would cost to get him, would be better spent elsewhere.
Jedrick Wills Jr – OT (Alabama) Wills comes in 11th on Jeremiah’s big board, a spot after Becton. He’s not nearly as massive, but he can definitely bring the thunder. At 6’4”, 312 lbs, he was still able to get up for a 34” vertical and also broad jumped 113. These OL get more impressive physically year after year. Wills is another guy who is expected to hear his name early.
Josh Jones – OT (Houston) Jones is definitely a name to watch, as a potential replacement for Reilly Reiff. Jones also brings nastiness to the field, and has a very real edge to his game. Financially, it makes sense to replace your high priced LT with a rookie contract. Even if you keep Reiff this year, and let Jones redshirt, so be it. With the 3 year extension for Kirk Cousins, this is very much a possibility. Protect your investments.
Austin Jackson – OT (USC) Viking fans see USC + OT and Matt Kalil nightmares immediately kick in. Austin Jackson brings a ton of athletic ability to the table, though. He’s also been categorized as a “mauler” which the Vikings’ offensive line desperately needs. Jackson is seen as both a RT or LT at the next level.
Jeffery Okudah – DB (Ohio State) 5th on Jeremiah’s big board, you probably won’t even be comfy on the couch by the time this guy is picked, but his name is definitely worth remembering as he’s been mocked to the Lions at number 3 quite a bit. Vikings fans will become very familiar with him if/when that happens, but again, it’s the Lions so all bets are off.
Xavier McKinney – S (Alabama) Coming in at number 15 on the big board, the Swiss Army knife himself. McKinney literally can do it all. With Anthony Harris most likely getting moved ahead of the draft or possibly during it, McKinney could very well find himself starting opposite Harrison Smith next season. Scouts describe his tackles as “kill shots” and that’s all I need to say about that — But if you want more, I wrote more words about him HERE
CJ Henderson – DB (Florida) There’s a lot of potential in this kid. He’s constantly associated with words like “explosive” and “athletic” but the biggest issue (like quite a few college corners) is tackling and that might cause Henderson to slide. Head Coach Mike Zimmer prides himself on a defense that can tackle. Henderson could be a fit if his tackling problem is something Zimmer deems fixable.
Antoine Winfield Jr – S (Minnesota) The Minnesota connections aside, Winfield can flat out ball. If Xavier McKinney gets taken ahead of the 22nd pick, I’m not even hesitating. I’m taking Antoine Winfield and pairing him with Harrison Smith. I’m dusting off his Dad’s 26 jersey and letting him roam the back end of the defense. The kid is a ball hawk, he’s tough, has a nose for the ball, and he’s the surest of tacklers. He’s the ultimate Mike Zimmer guy. Durability is my only worry, but hey, injuries plagued Anthony Harris at Virginia and now he’s the highest-rated Safety in football.
Trevon Diggs – DB (Alabama) We see the last name, “Diggs”, and many Vikings fans cringe. I, for one, don’t. Stefon is a great player, but he wanted to move on and be “the guy”. Trevon is the epitome of a Mike Zimmer corner, as far as his ball skills and height are concerned. His tackling needs some work, but again, that’s up to Zimmer. If he sees something on tape he can fix… Trevon going off the board at 25 wouldn’t shock me. Let’s just hope he can wear 14 and save fans some cash on a jersey.
Jeff Gladney – DB (TCU) Gladney was a RS Senior at TCU, so there is no shortage of on-field experience. He appeared in 44 games and accumulating 5 INTs, 6 TFLs and 37 PDs. His 4.48 at the combine was nice too. Gladney was described as scrappy, tough and physical by Jordan Reid of The Draft Network. Reid goes on to say “Gladney has the physical attributes and vertical speed necessary to quickly become a starter. Possessing high-end athleticism and recovery skills, Gladney could prove to be one of the better defensive backs of this entire crop. There’s not much to dislike about his game overall and he has the talent to become a top-40 pick.”
For me, an ideal start to this draft is taking Xavier McKinney at 22, and BPA at 25, given the unknown of how the board will fall.
This years draft is very unique given the circumstances of the Coronavirus. Teams have to fully trust scouts and film with the absence of pro days, and in-person workouts. Those diamonds in the rough might just fall a little further because not everyone has seen what they can do.