Best. Athlete. Available.
Those three words will be used repeatedly by Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman when describing who the team will select in next week's NFL Draft. Spielman huddles with the media in a week just prior to the three-day draft for more disclosure about what his plans on for the 23rd overall pick.
Away from Vikings headquarters, football watchers offer plenty of speculation after a solid free-agent signing period by the Vikings. One of the dean's of draft speculation is Mel Kiper Jr – and the ESPN analyst is convinced that the Vikings will tab Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller at 23. Kiper writes:
"The "clear need at wide receiver" situation isn't a bad one at this spot on the board....in this instance, the Vikings get arguably the best deep threat in the draft, a dangerous player who takes pressure off Stefon Diggs in the passing game. He needs to be more consistent catching the ball, but it's about concentration, not a lack of ability."
Other draft insiders predict the same scenario. It is apparent Minnesota's need is catching passes, so at 23, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports ,Dan Kadar of SB Nation and Sports Illustrated's Don Banks see Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell headed to Minnesota.
Three out of four NFL.com experts also see the Vikings grabbing a wide receiver.
The Vikings own eight picks and will begin selecting players in the first round with the 23rd selection.