Perfect Picks: Minnesota Vikings
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight five players that could help each team. This will include a ‘flex’ pick where we give you two ways a potential pick could go depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper. Next up, the Minnesota Vikings.
With ten picks in the draft the Vikings have plenty of ammunition to move around. With a high-priced QB it is important for the team to make the most of rookie contracts and build around Kirk Cousins. Let’s take a look at how GM Rick Spielman may try to assemble another contender for the 2020 season.
Round 1 - Pick 25 - Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
The Vikings find themselves in a tricky spot at 24. There is a good slew of talent in the middle of round 1 but at the positions they wish to address they may be struggling. They certainly need secondary help but the top three could be gone. The offensive tackles look set to be off the board early and Grant Delpit and Xavier McKinney had been drafted in this mock.
If the Vikings do sit tight, they may have to look elsewhere for a top tier talent. Danielle Hunter has been a wrecking ball at defensive end but imagine him paired with the likes of Ross Blacklock. The TCU defensive tackle is quick off the snap and a fantastic run defender. He would be an excellent addition after the release of Linval Joseph.
Flex Pick - Pick 25 - Trade Up
Speaking of releases, the recent departure of Xavier Rhodes means that cornerback becomes top priority for the Vikes. In this scenario Jeff Okudah, CJ Henderson and Kristian Fulton had all come off the board. For me, drafting a corner outside of those three in the first would be considered a reach. Therefore with my flex pick I suggest something a bit different.
With the release of the compensatory picks earlier in the week, the Vikings ended with a haul of 10 in total. They certainly become prime candidates to start climbing up the draft board. After Florida’s CJ Henderson recorded a 4.39 in the 40 yard dash he appears to be a lock to go in the middle of day 1. Could the Vikes package something together and land him as their heir to Rhodes?
Round 2 - Pick 58 - Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Should the Vikings fail on landing a top prospect at the cornerback position then they will be looking to dig in to the second tier on day 2. A good option could be Ohio State stalwart Damon Arnette. At 6’0 and 195lbs, he fits the prototype of an outside corner in the NFL.
With the Buckeyes possessing so much secondary talent Arnette has almost become the forgotten man. The ‘steady eddy’ of the group actually blossomed in 2019. With Jeffrey Okudah on the opposite side it tended to be Arnette who was the target of opposition QBs. For the most part he held his own. Despite being 23, Arnette seems to have found his best production and should fit straight into an NFL scheme.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 219 - JaMycal Hasty, RB, Baylor
It seems unlikely that the Vikings would keep all of their 10 picks. If they do then they could spend one at running back. They invested a third round pick in Alexander Mattison last year but he and Cook are both physical backs. Cook’s injury history is a concern and freeing him up in terms of snap count is something the Vikings should do going forward.
JaMycal Hasty was part of the Baylor offense that led them to the Big 12 Championship Game. He shared the rushing load with John Lovett and took on the scat back role. With his receiving ability he was only second to Denzel Mims in yards from scrimmage. Although Hasty is unlikely to become a workhorse back, his shiftiness and elusiveness make him a nice compliment in this run heavy offense.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 249 - John Hightower, WR, Boise State
At times in the 2019 season the relationship between wide receiver Stefon Diggs and QB Kirk Cousins appeared strained. Despite rumours that Diggs may seek to move away from Minnesota it now seems unlikely. He is one half of arguably the best duo in the NFL at receiver, pairing up with Adam Thielen. That shouldn’t stop the Vikings targeting further weapons in a loaded receiver class.
Boise State’s John Hightower not only offers a legitimate deep threat but also special teams value. Having led the Broncos in receptions last year, he was key to allowing impressive freshman QB Hank Bachmeier thrive as Boise went 12-2 on the year. Hightower’s lean 6’1 frame may need bulking up in order to compete in the physical NFL, but he is a useful piece who has value at this point in the draft.
Draft in full
25. Ross Blacklock (DT)
58. Damon Arnette (CB)
89. Ben Bartch (OL)
105. Quartney Davis (WR)
132. Jordan Fuller (S)
205. Michael Divinity Jr (Edge)
219. JaMycal Hasty (RB)
239. Keith Ismael (C)
249. John Hightower (WR)
253. Chris Orr (LB)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com