TVG’s First Vikings Mock Draft

Three weeks from today, we’ll know how Slick Rick decided to handle the first round of the NFL draft. Until then, we must content ourselves with mere conjecture. TVG has thus decided to join the fun by offering a three-round Vikings mock draft.

We relied on PFF‘s really neat mock draft simulator for this exercise. Full disclosure: we abandoned the first mock we did. At 13, the Chargers selected Trey Lance; it just didn’t seem realistic at all. The Chargers have as much chance of using their first-round pick on a QB as Zim does of convincing the fan base that drafting another first-round corner is a good idea. Perhaps I was being petty, but I decided to give PFF‘s system a mulligan and go for another round of mock draft madness. Here is what happened:

Round 1: Rashawn Slater, LG

I, like the rest of Vikings fans, would be thrilled with a high-end offensive line prospect in the opening round.

When pick #14 arrived, I had some intriguing options. Everything I’ve read suggests Kwity Paye has the capacity to be an impact defensive end, and I’ve already acknowledged my pro-Christian Darrisaw bias. I also had the option of trading down, but I’ll admit that my option was less than inspiring. Philadelphia (who have made a habit of signing our old players) was the lone team offering a trade. The issue? Their next pick came in the second round. I wasn’t willing to completely trade out of the first round with so many quality players on the board.

Alas, I decided to take the obvious choice: the tremendous offensive lineman who miraculously fell all the way to #14. My Vikings mock draft thus began on a really positive note. The Draft Network is high on Slater: “Slater’s ceiling is likely lowest on the edge and the further into the heart of the line he transitions, the higher his potential is to become a perennial Pro Bowl player and potential All-Pro candidate in my eyes. Slater has tremendous cutoff abilities and clean, patient footwork working space and the necessary functional strength to hold his own on the interior. The position flexibility he offers ensures he can be a part of any NFL offensive line’s combination of best five players to start up front from Day 1.”

Slater is my day-1 LG for the Vikings. PFF gave me an A for my selection; I’ll take it.

Round 2: Joseph Ossai, DE

My original desire was to acquire a Round 2 pick by trading back in Round 1. That possibility didn’t materialize, so I needed to get creative, especially since there are so many great options in the second round.

I was actively looking for a trade partner (two to tango, as they say) and I finally found one in the Denver Broncos at #40. To acquire that valuable pick, I traded pick #78 and #119. It’s a decent amount, but I’m content with the move if it means I get an impact edge rusher. The 6’3, 245 Ossai certainly offers that potential.

To be sure, there were other intriguing players available to me. Jabril Cox is a really great LB, and the temptation was there to snag Alim McNeill or Liam Eichenberg. Nevertheless, I opted for the athletic Ossai. TDN offers their praise: “Ossai is an explosive mover and contains lots of enthusiasm throughout multiple parts of his game. A motor that stays flaming hot, he’s able to positively impact plays even if they’re not intended in his direction. As a natural playmaker, he has a knack for being a turnover creator that can get the offense the ball back at crucial moments in games.”

PFF was less enthused about this move, giving me a B- for the trade itself and a C+ for my selection. Undeterred, I continued to press on with my Vikings three-round mock draft.

Round 3: Brady Christensen, OT

I had to wait a while for my next pick; it can be painful seeing so many quality players go to other teams between pick #40 and pick #90. Nevertheless, I’m happy with how things turned out.

Admittedly, this one is influenced by The Draft Team‘s recent article about the BYU offensive tackle. When I read that Christenson — who is 6’6, 300 pounds — ran a 4.89 and benched 30 reps, I became very interested. Apparently, there are concerns about the quality of the competition he faced at BYU; I can’t offer a firm rebuttal to this criticism. The only thing I’ll say is that the Jets (look, I know it’s the Jets, but still) will be taking Zach Wilson at #2 because of his athletic abilities. I’m no NFL GM, and nor was I meant to be, but surely a super-athletic OT is worth the risk in Round 3. Take a look at the video below and tell me that it doesn’t look like plays Minnesota loves to run:

In any case, Christensen was my pick, and PFF believes that it was a reasonable enough choice. I got a B+ for that one. He is unlikely to be a day-1 starter, but he has the capacity to contribute if/when there is an injury. Eventually, Christensen could develop into a strong option.

Takeaways From TVG’s Vikings Mock Draft

Well, the lines got better. I know GMs like to give us that shenanigans that they pick the BPA. Frankly, there’s no way that’s true. GMs force picks all the time. If there was any pick that I forced, it’s likely Ossai in Round 2. Just as Zim believes a team can never have too many corners, I believe a team can never have too many athletic edge rushers. Oh, what a problem to have!

Slater, in all likelihood, is the only starter in this group, and that’s OK. With Slater at LG, the Vikings have four of their five starting offensive linemen in place. Christensen will be quality depth. Ossai will get the chance to showcase his pass rushing skills on third downs as Andre Patterson works his magic.

PFF gave me a B+ for the overall draft. If Slater ends up being the solution at LG, B+ will be a modest evaluation.