The widely anticipated NFL Draft will begin in a few hours.
Here's how it will start: Commissioner Roger Goodell will put the Houston Texans on the clock at 7 p.m.. The Texans will have 10 minutes to make their pick, and the same rules will apply for the Rams, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders, Falcons and Buccaneers with picks 2-7.
Then Goodell will put the Vikings, who hold the rights to the No. 8 pick, on the clock. What happens after that could get wild.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has made first-round trades in each of the last two drafts, and earlier this week he said he's not against being active again. In fact, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks says the Vikings "clearly are trying to deal downward." Banks believes the Dolphins, Giants, Bills, Cowboys and Bears are possible trade partners.
If the Vikings are able to deal down, maybe their intended target will be Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles in a lower slot, but new offensive coordinator Norv Turner is also known to think highly of Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Minnesota's second-round pick is No. 40, and that may be just beyond the range of where Garoppolo will be available.
But if the Vikings hold onto their pick, here's what the experts around the country are projecting Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer to do.
Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports predicts the Vikings will make a trade with the Cowboys and move back to No. 16 while acquiring more picks. At 16, Kirwan has Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley going to Minnesota.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King has the Vikings taking Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald. King writes that Donald isn't exactly former Viking Hall of Famer John Randle, "but the man is quick and can get to the passer."
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio has the Vikings taking the next Warren Sapp, or so he says. Sapp is a Hall of Famer, but will Aaron Donald end up in Canton, too?
Mike Mayock has the Vikings taking his top cornerback Justin Gilbert. He calls the Oklahoma State star a player that can step in and provide an immediate upgrade to a defense that finished last in points allowed last season.
Do you see what's happening? Almost every expert or analyst out there has stopped putting a quarterback in the Vikings' hands at No. 8. Is it a giant smokescreen elaborately created by Spielman, or are the Vikings going to stick with defense?
Even longtime ESPN NFL reporter John Clayton says it's unlikely the Vikings will take Central Florida QB Blake Bortles at eight. He does, however, point out the possibility of Minnesota trading back into the first round to get a guy like Bortles or Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater.
Check back later today as we continue to fill you in on the late-arriving mock drafts.