The first wave of Free Agency is in the rearview mirror. Now we can begin to shift our collective gaze to this Vikings mock draft. A deep draft riddled with talent at several positions of need for the Purple. Let’s dive into the first 2 days worth of Vikings’ selections with no trades via PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator.
Vikings Mock Draft V1.0 by John Boyd
Round 1, Pick 12: Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
This mock draft saw three cornerbacks (Stingley Jr., Gardner, McDuffie) come off the board in the top 11. This isn’t ideal for the Vikings roster, but there are several great prospects to consider here. Although pick 12 could be a tad rich, consideration should be given to Andrew Booth Jr. He would be the 4th corner off the board because he may have the best ball skills in the class. Danielle Hunter was extended and Za’Darius signed to a multi-year deal. With those two on the roster, selecting an EDGE defender with this pick could be a poor allocation of resources. Even with the likes of Jermaine Johnson III and George Karlaftis still available, it is hard to justify another EDGE defender.
Ultimately, I decided to bolster the offensive line with this pick. We could all do without another year of Oli Udoh playing 94% of available snaps. Zion Johnson is a sturdy, cerebral blocker with powerful hands and outstanding technique in wide zone blocking schemes. Johnson, measures in at 6’ 2 3/4”, 315 pounds with r 34” arms and 11” clubs for hands. Teams flocked to see him take reps at Center in this year’s Senior Bowl. The opinion of Kevin O’Connell on Garrett Bradbury could influence the selection. Garrett Bradbury is approaching his fifth-year option. Zion could provide some competition at Center or slot in immediately at either Guard spot.
Round 2, Pick 46: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
Cameron Dantzler, Chandon Sullivan, Harrison Hand– alright, that’s all I’ve got. The Vikings need cornerbacks. It’s a need that the front office seems comfortable filling in the draft and on the veteran-minimum market. That said, this would be excellent value for a player like McCreary. Roger McCreary has one of the most well-rounded skill sets in this year’s corner class. The Mobile, Alabama native spent three seasons as a starter in the SEC. He led the Conference in pass break-ups over that span. Versatile in coverage, he has the skill to play inside or outside. Playing opposite Dantzler, McCreary’s tackling ability will help him to see the field in sub-packages right away.
Round 3, Pick 78: Nick Cross, Safety, Maryland
Nick Cross is the type of player who has the potential to open up the defensive playbook. A burly frame at six-foot-two and 4.34 speed Cross has the ability to cover up some deficiencies. Dependable safety play grants cornerbacks valuable confidence in coverage. His sheer recovery speed and deep range is an element the Vikings’ defense has lacked in recent years. Much of Cross’ time at Maryland was spent in single-high coverage shells. In this position, he played deep center-field á la Earl Thomas III.
The value that this archetype of safety brings, comes from allowing the strong side safety to rove the box. This simulates pressure and filling run gaps from a shallower depth. This makes him seem like a dream fit next to the Vikings’ friendly neighborhood Hitman. Harrison Smith thrives as an “overhang” defender, just outside the box and a few yards deep. I am a fan of what Cam Bynum could bring to the team. However, he played corner in college and moved to safety for subpar physical ability. Cross presents more size and more speed. Harrison Smith maintains the instinct and motor that have made him a perennial Pro Bowler. That skill set will be best leveraged with a more complimentary player opposite him.ck
We should all be extremely excited to see what Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and co. have in store for the Vikings in this year’s draft. The ”Competitive Rebuild” is underway.