The combine brought a few revelations and impacted the stock of a handful of top-tier talents. More players are in the public eye and more people are developing more opinions on said players. Free agency looms large now as team needs set to change drastically. But for one last pre-free agency go-around, we used Fanspeak’s Mock Draft Simulator to predict the Vikings’ draft strategy.

Round 1, Pick 18: LB Devin White, LSU

Passed On: OL Cody Ford, OT Andre Dillard, OT Jawaan Taylor, OT Greg Little

I hear the Vikings fans screaming, and by all indications, the Vikings are seriously considering taking a lineman in round one. However, look at all of those high profile names who were still available at 18. By this pick, the only lineman off the board was Jonah Williams. As such, the odds of finding day one starters on the line with not only the next pick in round two, but possibly in round three, are pretty high. Plus, Devin White is a top-15 talent, maybe even top-10. He was the best player available who also happens to fit a tremendous need for the Vikings.

Round 2, Pick 50: iOL Garrett Bradbury, N.C. State

Passed On: iOL Chris Lindstrom, OL Michael Jordan, Edge Jaylon Ferguson

This was a tough decision between Bradbury and Lindstrom. They are both steady, athletic interior linemen who could conceivably go late-round one. Ultimately, Bradbury’s malleability and zone experience earned him the nod. He is the perfect scheme fit for any offense that works open spaces and zone blocking, something the Vikings’ offense thrives on. Bradbury reminds a bit of Jason Kelce, in that they both had similar measurables and thrive on their quickness to get the job done. While it is unfair to compare Bradbury to one of the best centers in recent memory, he is the type of blocker who should lock down an interior line spot for a decade. Whether that is at center or guard is up to the Vikings’ opinion of how he and Pat Elflein project moving forward. But regardless, Bradbury brings consistency and versatility between the tackles.

Round 3, Pick 81: WR Andy Isabella, UMass

Passed On: TE Alize Mack, iOL Erik McCoy

Another tough call. Tight end and interior line are still greater needs than receiver, but Isabella was the best available at any position, and seems a more sure thing than Mack and McCoy. McCoy is more of a power system fit, and Mack does not bring the elite athleticism one would like in a tight end upgrade. Plus, the Vikings are still fairly receiver-needy, so the pick went to Isabella.

Round 4, Pick 120: TE Dawson Knox, Ole Miss

Passed On: DT Daylon Mack

This is the first mock draft where I have let either Daylon Mack or Khalen Saunders slip by. The reason why I chose a tight end in round four this go-around is twofold. For one, failing to get a strong pass catching tight end was the biggest failure of Mock Draft 1.0. Secondly, Knox is a potential steal as a fourth-round pick. He is a dangerous weapon with a great combination of size, speed and athleticism. His numbers do not stack up thanks to the glut of receivers Ole Miss boasted, but he is a real receiving threat who should be able to slot in and make plays day early on. 

Round 6, Pick 190: DL Byron Cowart, Maryland

Passed On: iOL Nick Linder, LB Joe Giles-Harris

A former number one recruit, Cowart is a whole bunch of talent locked inside an NFL body. The trick will be finding a way to unlock it in a meaningful way. Perhaps Cowart was out of position the majority of his college career; he is built like a pass rushing three-technique, but has primarily played, and under-performed, as an edge rusher. At almost 300 pounds and with average quickness, Cowart’s best shot at finding the field at the next level will be on the interior. His play has been inconsistent, but many of his physical traits, plus his high standing out of high school, makes him an intriguing project in the late rounds.

Round 6, Pick 209: WR Terry Godwin, Georgia

If there is one thing the Vikings love in receivers, it is tight route running. Godwin possesses that in spades. He is certainly undersized with a skinny frame from top to bottom. However, he makes up for it with quickness and aggressiveness. He is not afraid to play physically, which gives him early value as a special teamer. As far as his future as a receiver, he has potential to get early reps out of the slot.

Round 7, Pick 247: RB Karan Higdon, Michigan

With the Vikings likely losing Latavius Murray, their backfield battle is going to be wide open. Dalvin Cook is locked in, but outside of that, questions abound. Higdon is built like a prototypical scat back, but runs hard and aggressively with good vision. He accounted for over 1,200 yards last year at Michigan, almost all in the run game, so his role as a pass catcher is based more in optimism than game film. While not the shiftiest back, Higdon can make guys miss with strong cuts and breakaway speed. With his productive potential, Higdon becomes the third undersized skill player for the Vikings in this mock. 

Round 7, Pick 250: OL Mitch Hyatt, Clemson

To be honest, Hyatt in the seventh round seems a little late. He seems more like a fifth or sixth round guy to me. That said, Hyatt is a four-year starter with a lot of polish as a blocker. He is probably too small to play tackle, but there is enough athleticism and power there to see him as a future starter in a zone offense. His experience and consistency should be enough to land him on a roster somewhere out of the gate, and with the Vikings, he could add depth on the interior, where they have had loads of injury issues the last few years.

Overview

Two Vikings mock drafts without a single defensive back selected? Seems an unlikely outcome, given their track record. But the free agent market is looking good for defensive backs, so we are counting on the Vikings filling any necessary gaps there, while also retaining most of the depth they already have.

As for these results, this mock clearly stressed offense more than defense. In the first mock, we went offense for four of the eight picks. This go-around, it was six of eight. Now, the choice to only take one lineman early will likely concern some, but Bradbury is a near lock to start day one, while White and Isabella also both figure to make significant differences right away. Plus, the offensive line market is fairly strong, so it is a safe guess the Vikings will have two line spots upgraded filled by the time camp rolls around. 

The biggest failure this time was defensive line. The draft is loaded with line talent up top, but the herd thinned quite a bit as the draft wore on. And with other needs and better players available, defensive tackle got the shaft this time around. 

 

–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.

 Follow @fpc_vikings and Follow @fpc_nfl

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Terrible and unrealistic post. No way Devin White and/or Jonah Williams are available at 18. Mark my words now, but you’re absolutely off-base. Best-Case scenario is Jonah falling to us but 0 chance D-white makes it to 18 (especially considering his combine results). Devin Bush (MI) is our most likely candidate if you’ve paid attention at all to the draft process.

    Appreciate the write-up but absolute amateur work on your research of potential draft candidates with literally zero quantitative input. Literally, anyone, can write qualitative nonsense so please, prove it to me! The SKOL fans deserve better.

    • You’re right. I’m completely tuned out of the draft process and have made no effort or research into my posts. If you read the very first paragraph, you would see that I used a mock draft simulator that compiles big boards and uses team needs algorithms to simulate EVERY SINGLE PICK of the draft. I am not just saying “Vikings get Devin White.” He was available in the mock drafts I performed on many occasions. I also never once said the Vikings would get Jonah Williams, I literally said the exact opposite. Do I think the Vikings get either? I would lean no. But to just insult me or my research like you did is out of line, quite frankly.

  2. Funny thing is that two of your most recent posts are about both Jonah Williams and Devin Bush as SKOL prospects……Get your story straight bud! Absolute trash reporting!

  3. Sad attempt at a legitimate article, you clearly have no idea what you’re doing. Are you even a vikings fan? Do you know what our team weaknesses are? Would love to hear back after you google “Minnesota Vikings”

  4. Personally I’m on a totally different page. If nick Easton is coming back that could work out well on the o line. He’s versatile and can pay center and both guard positions. Which allows elflien to play either also. Aa far as 1st round i like cody Ford if he drops to us. Also andre dillard or bradbury in 1st. Bradbury can also play center or guard which gives a ton of versatility in the 3 interior positions. We have 2 young tackles who should improve hopefully. I’m fine losing sendejo with the injuries and i felt Anthony harris showed some promise at his position. We would end up with good youth at the o line to grow together. After that if paris campbell is around in the 2nd round absolutely grab him for sure. And since barr is back i say cb help later in the draft and i know lil jordan humphrey didn’t do great at the combine but i watched him play at Texas and he’s going to drop to 6th round or so and i say grab him. Obviously this is a beast case scenario to me in my opinion but i think it would be my draft.

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