With the NFL Draft upon us this week, the final mock drafts are taking place.
Although the offensive line is the biggest area concern for the Vikings, some outlets aren't convinced Minnesota will take an offensive lineman with its first pick in the draft.
Here's what the experts are saying the Vikings will do when they go on-the-clock with the 18th overall selection.
Three of the four draft insiders at NFL.com have the Vikings taking a lineman, but Charles Davis has the purple taking a tight end.
- Chad Reuter pick: Chris Lindstrom, guard, Boston College
- Daniel Jeremiah's pick: Garrett Bradbury, center, North Carolina State
- Charley Casserly: Jonah Williams, guard/tackle, Alabama
- Charles Davis: T.J. Hockenson, tight end, Iowa
For the sake of taking Hockenson, Davis claims he's the best blocking tight end in the draft, so it would open up the running game that head coach Mike Zimmer wants. He can catch the ball, too.
Lindstrom, Bradbury or Williams would all be welcomed editions to the offensive line.
R.J. White of CBS Sports did a big board for the Vikings and the first five players on the list are all linemen.
- Jawaan Taylor, Florida
- Jonah Williams, Alabama
- Andre Dillard, Washington State
- Cody Ford, Oklahoma
- Garrett Bradbury, NC State
If the Vikings wanted Taylor, they might need to move up in the draft to grab him, according to White.
However, if they stay at 18, White has Dillard going to the Vikings, which would allow Minnesota to move Riley Reiff from left tackle to guard because Dillard excels in pass protection, possibly capable of playing tackle at the NFL level.
Everyone's favorite draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN "thought long and hard" about the Vikings pick and has them taking Rashan Gary, a defensive end out of Michigan.
He believes Gary's value is too much to pass up. Especially if Jonah Williams is already off the board – and Kiper doesn't think Dillard fits what the team wants to do.
Local media picks
Kiper isn't alone in thinking Gary would fit well with the Vikings. Matthew Coller of SKOR North believes Gary is also a great fit.
Gary accumulated just 13 sacks in his three seasons at Michigan, but Coller reminds fans that freak of nature Danielle Hunter was in a similar boat when he was coming out of LSU before the Vikings got him in the third round.
"In the past, Vikings GM Rick Spielman has talked about trying to find “clones” of successful NFL players. If that’s the case, Gary should be getting a good amount of consideration at TCO Performance Center. Like superstar edge rusher Danielle Hunter, Gary did not have the most impressive sack numbers but pressured the QB often and stuffed the run."
The Star Tribune's Andrew Krammer recently touched on the Vikings' need for a tight end in the draft, especially because assistant head coach/offensive advisor Gary Kubiak loves to use multiple tight ends in play action. Also, both Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan are in the final year of their contracts.
ESPN's Coutney Cronin wrote a piece about the Vikings' cornerback depth playing a factor in their draft plans.
Despite the group looking good on paper, Rhodes missed time with injuries and played poorly in 2018. Last year's pick Mike Hughes is coming off an ACL tear, Holton Hill is suspended the first four games because of PEDs and Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes are in the final year of their contracts.
So, yes, there is validity for the team addressing that position.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press points out that the Vikings have a solid history of landing successful offensive linemen in the first round.
"In their previous 58 drafts, Minnesota has taken an offensive linemen eight times in the first round. Six went on to make at least one Pro Bowl, including two — tackle Ron Yary and guard Randall McDaniel — ending up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Finally, as we pointed out in February, it's not a sure thing the Vikings will draft a lineman with their top pick. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me to see Spielman take two linemen in the first three rounds, but there are also other positions that need to be addressed.
What we do know is the Vikings will have plenty of options to choose from when the draft kicks off this Thursday.