MINNESOTA VIKINGS NFL DRAFT PLAN OF ATTACK
CB, S, WR, OT, G DT, DE, QB
FREE AGENT ACQUISITIONS
DT Michael Pierce, WR Tajae Sharpe, DE Anthony Zettel, LB DeMarquis Gates, LB Eric Wilson (transition tag), S Anthony Harris (franchised), RB Ameer Abdullah, QB Sean Mannion, K Dan Bailey, FB C.J. Ham, P Britton Colquitt, OT Rashod Hill
FREE AGENT LOSSES
CB Trae Waynes, CB Mackensie Alexander, WR Stefon Diggs (trade), DT Linval Joseph, DE Everson Griffen, LB Kentrell Brothers, WR Laquon Treadwell, G Josh Kline, DE Stephen Weatherly, S Jayron Kearse, S Andrew Sendejo
ROUND 1 TARGETS
S Xavier McKinney, CB Kristian Fulton, CB Jeff Gladney, CB A.J. Terrell, CB Jaylon Johnson, S Grant Delpit, S Antoine Winfield Jr., WR Denzel Mims, WR Justin Jefferson, WR Brandon Aiyuk, OT Austin Jackson, OT Josh Jones, DE A.J. Epenesa, DE Yetur Gross-Matos, DT Ross Blacklock, QB Jordan Love
ROUND 2 TARGETS
WR Jalen Reagor, WR K.J. Hamler, WR Michael Pittman Jr., WR Tee Higgins, WR Laviska Shenault Jr., DT Neville Gallimore, DT Justin Madibuike, DT Marlon Davidson, S Ashytn Davis, S Jeremy Chinn, CB Noah Igbinoghene, CB Trevon Diggs, CB Damon Arnette, DT Raekwon Davis, G Lloyd Cushenberry III, OT Isaiah Wilson, OT Ezra Cleveland, OT Lucas Niang, QB Jacob Eason, QB Jalen Hurts, DE Julian Okwara
ROUND 3 TARGETS
WR K.J. Hill, WR Van Jefferson, WR Collin Johnson, WR Chase Claypool, WR Bryan Edwards, CB Amik Robertson, CB Cameron Dantzler, CB Troy Pride Jr., CB Bryce Hall, CB Michael Ojemudia, DT Leki Fotu, DT Jordan Elliott, DT Davon Hamilton, DE Darrell Taylor, S Kyle Dugger, S Terrell Burgess, S K’Von Wallace, OT Ben Bartch, OT Prince Tega-Wanogho, G Solomon Kindley, G Robert Hunt, G Tyler Biadasz
FULL VIKINGS PLAN OF ATTACK
The Minnesota Vikings hold two first-round picks after trading Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills. With the first choice, they could definitely look to replenish the talent in their corps of cornerbacks. The Vikings lost both Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. They also cut Xavier Rhodes, which was well deserved, but failed to bring in a single free agent. They are either going to do that after the Draft or use the Draft to fill the depth chart and go with a very young group in 2020. They’d love to see C.J. Henderson fall to them at pick 22, but that seems like a pipe dream at this point. The best they can hope for is that LSU’s Kristian Fulton is available. He’s got the size and length that Mike Zimmer loves in his cornerbacks. His stats in college aren’t eye-popping, but that has a lot to do with teams being unwilling to throw the football his way. He excels in press-man coverage and the sky is the limit for him if Mike Zimmer were to become his coach. He would most likely be a day one starter for the Vikings.
With pick 25, the Vikings could choose to get a wide receiver to help replace the loss of Stefon Diggs. Luckily for the Vikings, this year’s Draft is loaded with pass catchers and the talent on the board at pick 25 could be much better than in normal years. A few names the Purple could consider would be Justin Jefferson, Denzel Mims, and Brandon Aiyuk. Two of those guys are especially moistening. Justin Jefferson had ungodly numbers a season ago, catching nearly 20 touchdown passes from Joe Burrow. He’s a monster out of the slot and having him there in 2020 with Thielen and Sharpe on the outside would be very solid.
Denzel Mims is also very enticing. Not only did he say he’s been a lifelong Vikings fan, but he’s got a crazy combination of size and speed. It’s exciting to close your eyes and envision Kirk Cousins toss 40-yard bombs to him. With this being a deep receiving class the Vikings could opt to hold off. If they go that route, they could take an offensive tackle like Austin Jackson, a safety like Antoine Winfield Jr., or a pass rusher like A.J. Epenesa. The Vikings could also trade back and get even more picks to fill their various holes.
If the Vikings get a cornerback and a wide receiver in round 1, they could get a safety in the second. They only have Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith at safety right now. While that is possibly the best duo in the NFL, there is ZERO depth behind them. Harris is no lock to stay beyond 2020, and Harrison Smith is getting to the end of his career, so the Vikings should look for a young player who can be a starter down the road. A great option who could be on the board would be California’s Ashtyn Davis. Davis is a former walk-on, who plays like he’s trying to earn the job every week. He is a high energy, aggressive, playmaker who isn’t afraid to come up and lay a hit, or drop into coverage and make a game-changing play on a ball. He could be worked in slowly as a rookie and then replace Harris in year two.
The Vikings could also choose to beef up their offensive line in the second round. Riley Reiff isn’t getting any younger and his play has started to decline. The Vikings could look for his heir here and go with Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland. Cleveland isn’t a powerhouse type of blocker, but he’s extremely athletic and moves well. He could learn from Reiff for a year before sliding over and taking his spot.
One other position the Vikings could address in Round 2 is defensive tackle. Mike Zimmer’s defensive is predicated on pressure up front, and the team currently lacks a guy who can create that interior pass rush on a consistent basis. Raekwon Davis, Justin Madubuike, and Marlon Davidson are all names for Vikings fans to keep an eye on.
In round 3, the Vikings could double up on a couple of positions they already addressed. They have two picks to use here, after being rewarded a compensatory selection for the loss of Sheldon Richardson last year. They could take another wide receiver. They need size in their receiving corps and a couple of big targets who could be on the board in Round 3 are Collin Johnson from Texas and Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool. The Vikings could also grab another cornerback, and roll with big Cameron Dantzler or small but tenacious Amik Robertson.
The Vikings could look for a pass rusher in the third round. They are set at the top of their depth chart with Danielle Hunter and the emerging Ifedadi Odenigbo but lack depth. One interesting prospect is Darrell Taylor from Tennessee. He is about the same build as Danielle Hunter and while he’s raw, he does possess a plethora of positive pass-rushing traits.
The Vikings need a guard after shockingly releasing Josh Kline. They could find his replacement in round 3 with Solomon Kindley, Tyler Biadasz, or Robert Hunt. If they haven’t drafted an offensive tackle by the third round, then they could look at St. John’s Ben Bartch. Bartch played just down the road from the Vikings at St. John’s and they are surely familiar with him. He’s got good size, plays mean, and even though he’s from a small school, he held his own at the Senior Bowl. He could be in the mix to replace Riley Reiff down the road or be the Vikings right tackle if they move O’Neil over to the left side after Reiff is gone.
One last position the Vikings could draft at any point this year is quarterback. They did resign Kirk Cousins for three more years but have Sean Mannion as the backup. He isn’t the future and the team could decide to grab a young signal-caller they could develop. One player they have shown interest in and could be an option in Round 3 is Georgia’s Jake Fromm. Fromm won’t wow anyone with his physical tools, but is a smart player who rarely forces the ball into bad spots. He could be a nice backup option to Cousins and learn from him before he’s ready to take over.
Round 1: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Round 1: WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
Round 2: S Ashtyn Davis, California
Round 3: OT Ben Bartch, St. John’s
Round 3: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia