Finally, draft day (now weekend) is upon us. The speculation all comes to an end at New York City’s Radio Music Hall.
As a Minnesota Viking fan, I was tired of reading all these mock drafts with players I didn’t want to see. To be fair, these mock drafts were probably produced from writers with much more knowledge than myself. Either way, I decided to make a mock draft coming from the heart of an average Viking fan. I based my picks off of team needs and personal interest.
Round 1, pick 8: Johnny Manziel, QB
As a kid growing up in Wisconsin, I have taken a storm of hate for being that kid who rooted for the Vikings. With that said, I got to watch a fair share of Brett Favre. He didn’t just win games, his heroics gave people something to talk about until the Pack stepped back on the field.
That’s what the Vikings need. A quarterback to finally make Minnesota a threat through the air. Johnny Manziel brings it every game in exciting fashion. I don’t know about other Viking fans, but I’m sick of the low-risk, manage-the-game type quarterbacks. I want Rick Spielman to roll the dice and he has made it clear that he isn’t afraid to do so.
You also have to remember people, the Minnesota Vikings is still a business. One that Forbes.com ranked 21 in value among all NFL franchises. According to Sam Kahn Jr. of ESPN, during Manziel’s historic freshman year, Texas A&M raised $740 million in donations, $300 million more than any previous year. Minnesota would sure like to get a piece of that pie after they struggled mightily to get their $1 billion stadium passed.
With all this said, Manziel may not make it to to the eighth selection. In that case, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles will do.
Round 2, pick 8: Chris Borland, ILB
This one’s tricky, I would love to see either Chris Borland or Shayne Skov in purple and gold. I put Borland here because his stock is boiling hot. Borland is a tackling machine, which is exactly what Minnesota needs. According to Pro Football Focus’s tackling efficiency rating, last year, Erin Henderson was the 14th best tackler while Chad Greenway was the 11th worst. Henderson is now out after his second DUI arrest which now creates a major void to fill. The Vikings could sure use Borland’s help, if he can remain healthy.
Round 3, pick 8: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB
Minnesota’s pass defense ranked 30th in the league according to footballoutsiders.com. This isn’t a ranking you want when you’re in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and Jay Cutler. Xavier Rhodes was brought in last year to help but he won’t be enough.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste is perfect for Minnesota. I wouldn’t mind if the Vikes took him in the second round. He’s the biggest cornerback in the draft (6’3” 218 lb.) with a vertical over 40 inches. Jean-Baptiste could challenge receivers like Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall. Jean-Baptiste fits the perfect mold as the NFL transitions to taller cornerbacks.
Like Manziel, Jean-Baptiste will likely be selected before this pick.
Round 3, pick 32: Tre Mason/Kadeem Carey/ De’Anthony Thomas, RB
So Minnesota gets this pick from Seattle as a part of the whole Percy Harvin trade. So why not use this pick up an offensive threat. Toby Gerhart is off to Jacksonville so there will be a spot to fill at the running back position.
Tre Mason and Ka’Deem Carey are both no BS-type running backs. They’re very similar to Gerhart in that they put their teams on their backs in college. They both are North-South runners that crave contact. This style seemed to work for Gerhart whenever he gave Peterson a breather. Either of the two backing up Peterson would work for me.
Minnesota could also go another route and take De’Anthony Thomas. The former Duck can certainly fly (pun intended). Thomas teamed up with Manziel would make for an exciting combo. I saw Thomas first-hand at the 2012 Rose Bowl and I’ll tell you, the speed is real. He busted off a 91-yard run faster faster than you can say De’Anthony Thomas.
Round 4,Pick 8: Shayne Skov, ILB
Spielman drafted two linebackers last year, why not do it again? Minnesota run defence was fairly average last year, giving up 110 rushing yards a game. The NFC North isn’t all about about airing-it-out. Eddie Lacy and Matt Forte are both Pro-Bowlers, and when Reggie Bush is healthy, look out. Bush ruined Minnesota’s opening game last season dashing all over the field for 191 total yards and a touchdown.
Skov is full of energy. He’ll bring the pain then let you know about it. I’d like to see him along with Chad Greenway going nuts after a big stop. This pick is a bit of reach since Skov has been less-than-impressive during his workouts. Skov also was jailed in 2012 for DUI. What would Spielman’s look like if he gave up on Erin Henderson just to pick up another linebacker with a similar arrest history. Since 2000, Minnesota has led the league in arrests (40). Skov might be an easy pass for Spielman and his staff.
Round 5, pick 8: Russell Bodine, OG
I’m not gonna act like I know everything about offensive guards but I do know the Vikings need one. If Johnny Manziel is drafted by Minnesota they’ll need to figure out a way to protect him. Also, whenever Adrian Peterson goes down I begin to shiver with cold sweats. Russell Bodine seems to have the best value with this pick so I say draft him.
Round 6, pick 8: Ryan Carrethers, DL
In case you live under a rock, Jared Allen ditched Minnesota for Chicago. Kevin Williams is also gone so Minnesota will have to figure out how to revamp their d-line. Minnesota took care of re-signing Everson Griffen and will still have Brian Robison. The Vikings will need someone to help Sharrif Floyd anchor the middle and stop the run. That’s why I like big Ryan Carrethers here; and because I miss the “Williams Wall”.
Round 7 pick 8: Michael Campanaro, WR
If I were Rick Spielman here I’d draft another lineman. You can never have too many of them. But that’s just no fun. Minnesota needs a offense that can keep up with the rest of the NFC North. We don’t know exactly who will be under center for Minnesota, but it would be safe to presume that he will be bad. The Vikings don’t need another speed threat at the position, they need someone who make a quarterback’s life easier. That’s why I have Campanaro. He’s tough, a decent route runner, and most importantly, sure handed.