In no particular order, I’m going to take a dive into 10 possible options the Vikings could be looking at when round 1 rolls around in April. As we know the Vikings were able to finagle another 1st rounder from the Diggs trade, and in a draft chalk full of talent at two large needs in wide receiver and cornerback, they couldn’t of picked a better year.
Behold 10 players that the Minnesota Vikings will have their eyes on come round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Lets be honest, chances are out of these 10 guys, ONE of them will be a Viking next year ….. right?
1. Kristian Fulton CB, LSU
Trust me, this won’t be the only cornerback on this list. Fulton was one of the best in the nation the past few years at LSU. He just looks the part out there, very fluid and physical enough to be a true number 1 corner in the NFL. With the current depth chart of the Vikings, Fulton would have the opportunity to not only play as a rookie, but start. Imagine getting a guy with this much talent in the hands of Mike Zimmer. Could be a match made in heaven.
2. Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia
Lets be honest, this is best case scenario for the Vikings. While I don’t completely rule him out at being on the board at #22, many things would have to happen for there to be a chance. That said, if he WAS there I don’t think the Vikings wait more than 3 seconds before getting that card up to the podium. Thomas would be a day 1 starter, and most likely an anchor of this offensive line for the next decade. Adding him into the mix with O’Neill and Bradbury would give the Vikings offensive line a much needed look.
3. Justin Jefferson WR, LSU
Justin Jefferson is one of the more sexy receivers in this draft class. The 6’1, 202 lb receiver racked up 165 receptions and 24 touchdowns over the past two years at LSU. He could step in day 1 and settle in as the Vikings number 2 receiver, and would become Kirk Cousins best friend on the field. Jefferson can lineup inside/outside, where ever he lines up one thing is clear, he makes plays. Also, spoiler alert, Jefferson MAY have ended up being a Viking in our latest Vikigns 7 round mock draft.
4. Austin Jackson OT, USC
When it comes to offensive tackles in this years class Austin Jackson is the shiny toy that all the GMs are going to want. He offers the most upside and is the most athletic which is extremly coveted these days when it comes to NFL offensive tackles. Yes, he is still rough around the edges when it comes to technique but long-term he offers the most potential to be a star. He is a guy that could come off much earlier than anyone expects, but if he is there at 22 or 25, I could definetly see the Vikings being VERY interested.
5. Jaylon Johnson CB, Utah
What people love about Johnson is his size and ability to get physical with opposing receivers. Plays the run well, and can hold his own as far as tracking down the ball. He has been a name that has gotten hot lately, and could find himself sneak into round 1. Depending on how fast some of these other corners start coming off the board, the Vikings might be forced to take Johnson earlier than they might like. I wouldn’t consider this pick as ‘settling’ just more taking on a player that might need a little more ironing out when it comes to his technique.
6. Josh Jones OT, Houston
Josh Jones’ name has cooled down as of late. This guy is all over the map when it comes to projections. He has been seen going as early as the early teens, all the way to the middle of round 2. Like Johnson above, Jones selection will depend heavy on how fast the other bigmen start coming off the board. Don’t get me wrong, Jones is the real deal and if selected by the Vikings, he would push day 1 to take over that starting tackle position. He will be a very solid tackle in the NFL for years to come.
7. Jeff Gladney CB, TCU
Jeff Gladney in my mind is one of the safest picks when it comes to cornerbacks. He has been a starter since his freshman year and has plenty of experiecnce to step in and be a contributor as a rookie. Has good instincts and takes chances, and has the speed and phyicallity to get defensive coordinators excited. I honestly think this guy is VERY high on the Vikings wishlist come draft day. Also, check out our latest Vikings 7 round mock draft, you’ll see how much I think he’ll be a Viking.
8. Yetur Gross-Matos Edge, Penn St.
With Danielle Hutner and Odenigbo set to be the Vikings week 1 starting defensive ends, I wouldn’t really say defensive end is a HUGE need. A need? Yes. But not huge. But, when it comes to talent being available when it shouldn’t be, rules are instantly tossed out the window when it comes to the NFL Draft. Gross-Matos is a speedy pass rusher that shows impressive moves at getting to the quarterback. I think he falls into the boom or bust category, while he has a ways to go before being a finished product, he offers the ceiling teams love. Would help offset some of the pass rush the Vikings will lose with Griffen not returning.
9. A.J. Epenesa DE, Iowa
If you were to ask me 2 months ago, I would have thought you were nuts to think that Epenesa has a chance to fall to the Vikings. But …. things change. While I still feel it would be a suprise if he was on the board, I don’t think it’s as far fetched as it once was. The thing with the Iowa defensive end is that he really isn’t ELITE at anything, he won’t knock your socks off. But he IS a beast. This guys is a monster that does everything very, very well. He is the type of guy that might not get you 10+ sacks a year, but he will disrupt the hell out of every game making big plays. You see comparrisons to Cameron Jordan, and I couldn’t agree more. A powerful defensive end that does all the little things right and makes a huge impact.
10. Tee Higgins WR, Clemson
At 6’4, 200 lbs Higgins is a master and going up and snatching the ball away from defenders. He has big play ability and has been a mismatch for opposing defenders during his college career. That said, he will have to work on his route running and technique for that to translate to the NFL, but the framework is there. Having a homerun hitter like him opposite Adam Thielen could be a nightmare for opposing teams. I do think it will take a year or 2 before Higgins really starts becoming the player teams hope, but the wait would be worth it.