What some of the top mock drafters are predicting for the Vikings

It's all about wide receivers, offensive tackles and cornerbacks.
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Rick Spielman

Twenty-four hours after the Odell Beckham Jr. rumors steamrolled the vacant sports streets in Minnesota, all attention has shifted back to the NFL Draft, which starts one week from today. 

With two picks – Nos. 22 and 25 – the Vikings have a ton of options in the April 23 first round, and the experts continue to link Mike Zimmer and company to a few of positions of need in mock drafts, namely offensive line, cornerback and wide receivers. 

On the wide receivers, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. says this year's draft class is historically deep. 

“In terms of depth, it’s probably the best wide-receiver class ever. I’m going almost 40 deep with receivers who have a chance to play in this league. I have 33 receivers with grades inside the first four rounds," Kiper said, via Peter King's Football Morning in America column. 

King will release his only mock draft on Monday. 

With the 22nd pick, the mock draft experts pick... 

Peter Schrager, NFL.com - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

"Trade Stefon Diggs and end up with Jefferson with one of the four picks acquired? Not bad if it works out this way for Minnesota. Jefferson put up eye-popping numbers last season at LSU, but there were skeptics on his speed heading into the combine. He then ripped off a 4.43 40-yard dash, dazzled in interviews and showed why he's the fourth-best wideout -- at least -- in this draft."

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN - Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

"As I mentioned in my Mock Draft 3.0, the Vikings don't have much at receiver beyond Adam Thielen. In a deep receiver class, they have to take one here or at No. 25. And in this scenario, I'm giving them one of the best playmakers in the class in Aiyuk, who averaged 18.3 yards per catch (and 31.8 yards per kickoff return) last season. Aiyuk is a great athlete who plays bigger than his 6-foot frame. He has an 81-inch wingspan, which is only an inch behind Calvin Johnson's."

Dane Brugler, The Athletic - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

"With the first-rounder they received from Buffalo in the Stefon Diggs trade, the Vikings might turn around and add his replacement at receiver. No player has helped himself more since the end of the season than Mims, who several teams grade as a top-25-caliber prospect in this draft."

Jenny Vrentas, Sports Illustrated - Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

"A run on corners in our mock. After losing Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander, their top three corners, the Vikings have to address this position in the draft. Gladney is a bit undersized but is a versatile player who can be used both outside and in the slot."

Toddy McShay, ESPN - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

With the 25th pick, the mock draft experts pick... 

Peter Schrager, NFL.com: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

"I haven't seen Cleveland mocked to go in the first round anywhere else yet, but the 6-6 tower had an outstanding combine, and I've heard he's been great in the virtual interviews throughout this process. There's legitimate top-20 talk around his name now, but I think 25 to the Vikings seems to be a good fit."

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN - Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

"Again, Johnson doesn't have a first-round grade on my board, but with length and athleticism he fits the profile of what Mike Zimmer likes in his defensive backs. Johnson is a bit of a wild card because he played the 2019 season with a torn labrum and had surgery in February, which means not every team will have a full picture on his rehab. He'd be a good fit in Minnesota, which lost Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander from last year's team."

Dane Brugler, The Athletic - Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

The Vikings drafted one of this year's top risers with their initial first-rounder and they take another riser here. Cleveland played the entire 2019 season with a turf toe issue and still produced quality tape. That, combined with his testing and football character, and he has a great shot of landing in Round 1.

Jenny Vrentas, Sports Illustrated - Austin Jackson, OT, USC

"I thought about going receiver here, since after the Stefon Diggs trade, the Vikings are threadbare at the position behind Adam Thielen. But, their recent history with first-round receivers has been regrettable (see: Laquon Treadwell, Cordarrelle Patterson), and since this is a deep class, they could address that position in a later round. Another pressing need is the sagging offensive line."

Toddy McShay, ESPN - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Vikings have 12 draft picks

Round 1 (No. 22) from Buffalo

Round 1 (No. 25)

Round 2 (No. 58)

Round 3 (No. 89)

Round 3 (No. 105) compensatory

Round 4 (No. 132)

Round 5 (No. 155) from Buffalo

Round 6 (No. 201) from Buffalo

Round 6 (No. 205)

Round 7 (No. 219)

Round 7 (No. 249) compensatory

Round 7 (No. 253) compensatory

General Manager Rick Spielman typically gets aggressive, moving up for players he likes or moving down to stockpile more picks. With a dozen selections in his holster this year, he'll have as much firepower as anyone to wheel and deal for players he likes. 

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