5 NFL Draft prospects Vikings fans should watch

If the Vikings can't get Trevor Lawrence, who else is in the draft?
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Jalen Waddle

At 1-5, the Minnesota Vikings are unlikely to turn around their 2020 season. While the disappointment of falling out of contention is fierce, it can also be replaced with the excitement of a potential top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.

Most of the talk so far has revolved around the quarterback position as next year's crop should be deep. Although Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance will make Viking fans salivate, there is a chance Rick Spielman goes in a different direction with Kirk Cousins signed through 2022.

With college football showcasing its first full slate of games this weekend, we'll take a look at some of the non-quarterback prospects Vikings fans should have their eye on.

Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith

Alabama dominated the 2020 draft class as Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy were the first two receivers selected. Losing two first-round picks didn't leave the cupboard dry in Tuscaloosa, however, as Waddle and Smith are both projected to go early in next year's draft.

Waddle, who despite suffering a season-ending ankle injury on Saturday is still considered a first-round talent, according to NFL.com, is a prospect the Vikings have already had their eyes on and for good reason. Whereas Ruggs was the fastest receiver in last year's draft, there's a chance that Waddle might be even faster and even dominates as a route runner and excels in contested catches.

"Waddle plays the game in one mode and that’s full throttle," The Draft Network's Jordan Reid said in his scouting report. [He] debunks the 0-60 saying. Instead, he starts out in 60 mph and can continue to floor the gas pedal and increase speeds at any moment."

Smith also has plenty of game-breaking ability as well. The Alabama senior could have been a first-round pick if he came out in this year's draft but has started strong with 483 yards and four touchdowns heading into Saturday's games.

With Adam Thielen on the wrong side of 30, the Vikings will need another receiver even with the emergence of Justin Jefferson. With other receivers such as Rashod Bateman, J'Marr Chase, and Rondale Moore, it's possible the Vikings could add another receiver early in a loaded class.

Wyatt Davis

While adding a wide receiver would be the flashy pick, many Vikings fans would rather see the Vikings invest in the guard position. Fortunately, Davis would fit the bill as someone that can play guard at a high level.

Davis is a wrecking ball along the offensive line and could instantly make the Vikings better in the trenches. With power and agility to spare, Davis could fit in Gary Kubiak's scheme or someone else's if the Vikings have a new coaching staff in 2021. 

"This dude is a destroyer of worlds," TDN's Kyle Crabbs said in his scouting report. "Physically imposing blocker who thrives in both short spaces and in space — he's an absolute bully up front and physically asserts himself against [3-tech], [1-tech] and [linebackers] alike."

At 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, Davis could also handle Kenny Clark, Akiem Hicks, and the other maulers in the NFC North. The offensive line has been neglected for too long and Davis could be the piece the Vikings need to solve their decade worth of issues.

Patrick Surtain

If we're wondering what Mike Zimmer would do if given a top-10 pick, the favorite would be drafting another corner. With Mike Hughes unable to stay healthy and Holton Hill underperforming, the Vikings are left with Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler.

Since Gladney profiles as a slot corner, the Vikings could use another guy on the outside, which makes room for Surtain.

Surtain wouldn't be a popular pick among Vikings fans, but he'd be an upgrade for a secondary that needs it. Long, rangy, and fast, Surtain has the qualities that Zimmer looks for in a corner and with some added technique, he could become a shutdown corner.

"There's a lot to love about Surtain's game," NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah said back in July. "The three things that stand out to me are his size, instincts and ball skills. That's a great foundation to start with when you're trying to build an upper-echelon NFL cornerback."

Zack Wilson

OK, I lied. We are going to talk about a quarterback because have you seen Cousins play this year? The Vikings could go after one of the top three quarterback prospects, but they could also wait and keep their eyes on the BYU signal-caller.

Wilson has risen up draft boards thanks to a big arm and an ability to extend plays. While he hasn't played against elite competition in 2020, Wilson has completed nearly 80 percent of his passes this season and is threatening to rise up the boards like Joe Burrow did last season.

“I think Zach is every bit as good as either [Lawrence or Fields[ if I’m being completely honest," SB Nation's Cam Mellor said. "I have no issue saying Zach’s the third-best quarterback and sitting in like the early teens for a draft pick in the first round this year.”

In true Spielman fashion, Wilson could be a target in a trade down to dive into a deep draft class. With holes across the roster, adding Wilson along with a guard, three-tech, defensive end, cornerback and safety may be a path to a quick rebuild.

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