The Super Bowl has come and gone, and the Seahawks’ final offensive play call has been dissected roughly a billion times. It seems the handful of media members that haven’t opined on that play call were preoccupied with churning out their mock drafts for April’s NFL draft.
Yes, that’s right. It’s early February. The scouting combine hasn’t happened yet. Free agency is more than a month away. And the draft itself is 84 days and about seven hours from now (I know this because ESPN has a countdown on their website). But mock draft season is already underway.
So why fight it? Let’s hop aboard this steaming locomotive of premature pre-draft hype and take a look at who six notable NFL draft analysts feel the Vikings will select 84 days and about seven hours from now, never mind that these 1.0 post-Super-Bowl mock drafts can bear little resemblance to how the first round actually plays out (and sometimes comically so).
According to all but one of these draftniks, once the Vikings get through the combine, free agency and all the pre-draft visits, they will determine that they need another wide receiver for second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. I can’t fault the draftniks for those projections. Greg Jennings is heading into the tail end of a productive career, Cordarrelle Patterson regressed and was benched in 2014 and Charles Johnson, despite clicking with Bridgewater, is still an unknown quantity. So wide receiver is one of the team’s biggest needs this offseason.
Anyway, without further ado, here is how those six analysts are mocking the Vikings in Round One:
Todd McShay, ESPN: Devante Parker, WR, Louisville. “The Vikings need help on the offensive line, but Parker would make a lot of sense here,” McShay wrote. “They need to surround second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater with more weapons, and Parker was Bridgewater’s top target at Louisville. Parker would become Minnesota’s tallest receiver at 6-foot-2 1/2, and he displays very good body control and competitiveness when the ball is in the air to go along with his size.”
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports: Parker. “So far the Cordarrelle Patterson experiment in Minnesota has been a disappointment,” Brugler wrote. “And while the Vikings shouldn’t (and won’t) give up on him just yet, there is still a need for a potential No. 1 receiver for Bridgewater. And Parker, Bridgewater’s former teammate at Louisville), fills that need.”
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. “Many fans expect Amari Cooper to be a top-five draft pick this year, and he may be, but his value and fit in terms of team needs place him closer to the No. 10-12 range,” he wrote. “The Minnesota Vikings would love to pair Cooper with his high school quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to form a truly explosive duo in the passing game.”
Eric Galko, Sporting News: La’el Collins, OT, LSU. “La’el Collins had his share of struggles against speed rushers at the Senior Bowl, but that doesn’t completely diminish his value as a tackle prospect,” Galko wrote. “Collins will enter the league as one of the best run blocking offensive tackles, and he’s just good enough laterally to hold his own at left or right tackle to aid in Teddy Bridgewater’s development.”
Pat Kirwan, CBS Sports: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: “I think there will be strong consideration for a corner in this spot but White is a big, aggressive receiver that will help Teddy Bridgewater,” Kirwan wrote.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation: Parker. “This pick is just too perfect and easy to make,” Kadar wrote. “Combining Parker with his college quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the type of thing people write books about. Parker would be Minnesota’s No. 1 wide receiver of the future and would also let the Vikings figure out what to do with Cordarrelle Patterson and not worry if his struggles persist.”