The 2019 NFL Draft is finally here. For the Minnesota Vikings, it will be their best, and likely, last chance to make significant upgrades to their roster to put themselves in position to make their run at Super Bowl XLIV.
With offensive line being the most significant weakness on the roster, Vikings fans fully expect this unit to be addressed. The futures of general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer will likely be tied to the success of fixing this unit.
With the team unable to make many moves in free agency, this draft will be critical to adding reinforcements at other positions that can be key to accomplishing their objective of being the NFC representative in the Super Bowl.
The FPC Vikings staff writers debated each selection for this final Vikings mock draft. Each picked a candidate before debating and coming to a consensus for each selection.
Fellow Vikings fans, we present to you our final 2019 Vikings mock draft:
Round 1, Pick #18: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
Writer – Selections: Sam Smith – OT Jonah Williams, Clayton Brooks – Dillard, Madison Parkhill – Dillard
Sam: Dillard has the upside of a franchise left tackle. It really was that simple. While his run blocking is raw, thanks to his Air Raid college scheme, his pass blocking is tops in this class, which should elevate Kirk Cousins’ protection time right away. Bottom line, Dillard is a scheme fit at a position of need.
Clayton: This debate was pretty short. Either player would be a great addition to the Vikings offensive line. Ultimately, I felt it was more likely that Dillard would be available than Williams. In addition to his top-ranked pass blocking, his athleticism and mobility on the perimiter are a great fit at left tackle for what Minnesota is trying to do.
Madison: Andre Dillard projects as a good pass blocker, earning one of the highest pass-blocking grades by PFF. In the run game, his athleticism makes him a good fit for the Vikings new Kubiak-inspired scheme. He will likely start at left tackle, bumping Reilly Reiff inside to left guard.
Round 2, Pick #50: G Chris Linstrom, Boston College
Passed On: WR Deebo Samuel, DT Jerry Tillery
Sam: Picking up Josh Kline limited the Vikings’ need to grab two starters in the draft, but I believe it would be smart to do it anyway. Lindstrom is the full package, a guy who transcends scheme with his elite combination of power and athleticism. He should start day one, especially if the Vikings move on from Reiff.
Clayton: Of the three candidates, Linstrom is the most likely to be around at this draft slot. He would provide the team with a second quality starter and further depth. His addition solidifies the interior, possibly enough to now make it a strength.
Madison: Chris Lindstrom will be the new starter at right guard. While he isn’t an elite athlete, Lindstrom is strong and fundamentally sound. He may struggle against interior rushers with elite quickness, but he should be a quality starter for years.
Round 3, Pick #81: EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
Passed On: C Eric McCoy, TE Dawson Knox
Sam: Talent-wise, this was not a tough decision. Polite spent much of the season as one of the top edge prospects in the draft, after all. However, there are significant questions about him showing up out of shape to workouts, tanking interviews and generally plummeting his draft stock to the point it seemed intentional. However, in round three, his is a talent that was too great to ignore, and if anyone knows how to maintain culture, it is Mike Zimmer.
Clayton: With offensive line addressed with the first two picks, this pick would be a logical move. There’s no such thing as having too many pass rushers, and Polite is one of the more talented ones in this class. He will have to overcome questions about his work ethic, but if he does, he could become a vital part of a deep rotation of pass rushers.
Madison: In the third round, we selected Jachai Polite. At the start of the draft process, Polite was discussed as a first-round pick. A bad combine performance and some character concerns have since dropped his stock. However, Polite remains one of the better pass rushers in this class. While he is likely never going to be an elite run defender, he could offer value in 2019 as a situational pass rusher that could allow Everson Griffen to kick inside on third downs.
Round 4, Pick #120: TE Josh Oliver, San Jose State
Passed On: DT Daylon Mack, CB Tim Harris
Sam: We passed on Dawson Knox in round three, so finding a pass catching tight end here was a bit more urgent. He is raw as a route runner and will probably be a non-factor as a run blocker, but Oliver brings good athleticism to the position and is one of the best ball trackers at his position in this class. He will be a project, but could still be a factor in the pass game as a rookie.
Clayton: With Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan to be free agents after 2019, this is an area of concern. Oliver is raw, but the potential is there. His ball skills and speed could earn him some snaps early as a rookie in 2-TE packages to create favorable mismatches.
Madison: In rounds four through seven, we focused on adding depth at some key positions. In round four, we selected Josh Oliver. Oliver offers the Vikings value as a pass catcher at tight end. Given Kyle Rudolph is near the end of his career, a future potential pairing of David Morgan and Oliver would be decent and would allow the Vikings to save some money at the tight end position.
Round 6, Pick #190: C Lamont Galliard, Georgia
Passed On: RB Ryquell Armstead, Foster Moreau
Sam: Best player available for my money. True, we went offensive line twice already, but the Vikings are not exactly flushed with line depth, and Gaillard is the quintessential nasty interior force. He does not have great physical traits, but his tenacity and intelligence should take him places.
Clayton: Though no longer a need at this point, there’s no harm in adding further depth to this group. Galliard’s aggressive play would be a welcome addition to a group that has long been the weak link of the team.
Madison: In the sixth round, Lamont Gaillard offers the Vikings some further interior offensive line depth. He is undersized and isn’t an elite athlete, but he plays aggressively and has experience setting protections for the offense.
Round 6, Pick #209: RB Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska
Passed On: WR Jalen Hurd, LB Kendall Sheffield
Sam: Impactful running backs can and should get drafted between rounds four and six, so it was a target of mine here in the later rounds. Ozigbo can be a change of pace from Dalvin Cook. I would not expect him to take on a bulk of carries, but his big frame and downhill running could be useful in an abbreviated version of the role Latavius Murray held the last couple of years.
Clayton: Though the running back room is a little crowded, this group could use a bigger back. Ozigbo would fit the bill here. He could see some time in short yardage situations but his blocking will need to improve if he expects to get more snaps beyond that.
Madison: At running back, Devine Ozigbo best profiles as a backup in the NFL. However, he is an explosive athlete and could be a good fit for the outside zone scheme the Vikings will run in 2019.
Round 7, Pick #247: CB Derrick Baity, Kentucky
Passed On: LB Terrill Hanks, RB Myles Gaskin
Sam: Minnesota never forgoes defensive backs in the draft. While we chose not to go after one early on, it is still a safe bet that the secondary will add a purple jersey on draft weekend. Baity fits in with the Vikings big secondary as a tall corner with average-at-best speed.
Clayton: Baity has the kind of measurables that Zimmer loves at the cornerback position. However, with five quality corners already on the roster, he’ll have to prove himself on special teams if he wants to make the active roster.
Madison: In the seventh round, we selected Derrick Baity at cornerback. He’s not a good athlete, but at 6’2” he has the size to match up with some of the bigger receivers in the NFL.
Round 7, Pick #250: LB Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
Passed On: CB Saivion Smith, LB Gerri Green
Sam: Tranquill and Terrill Hanks have been late round linebacker targets of mine for the Vikings. They are both versatile players who can move all over the field, but Tranquill brings a bit more athleticism and special teams value.
Clayton: Taking a linebacker here would not be a surprise. Tranquill could provide some value in addition to depth to this group as they have Kentrell Brothers in a contract year for the upcoming season. He could be candidate to replace Brothers moving forward.
Madison: Tranquill has consistently been one of my favorite picks in the later rounds. He has neither elite athleticism nor size but is fundamentally sound in both the run and pass game. With experience as a special teamer in college, I think Tranquill could be a valuable end-of-the-roster guy