Dan Wiederer began covering the Vikings in 2011, enthusiastically delivering insight on the team across the Star Tribune's print and digital products. Prior to joining the Access Vikings team, he spent seven seasons covering ACC basketball at The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. He also covered the Chicago Bears in 2003 and 2004. Follow him on Twitter @StribDW.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
Understand this much: The Access Vikings team never put a whole lot of stock in mock drafts. Especially mock drafts that are formed and updated before free agency begins. As we all know, when the free agent market opens next week, the needs of many teams will change as they add new pieces and reconfigure their depth charts.
But we at Access Vikings also understand the incredible popularity of mock drafts. So we see it as our obligation to share with you the latest projections of ESPN's Todd McShay.
McShay has updated his 2013 mock draft for a third time. And this time he has the Vikings scooping up North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams with the 23rd overall pick in the first round.
Defensive tackle isn't a top need, and the Vikings have bigger needs at wide receiver, outside linebacker and offensive tackle. But Williams is a good fit in defensive coordinator Alan Williams' Tampa 2 defense. Williams is quick and active and has very good football character, too.
McShay's previous mock, posted last month, had the Vikings selecting Connecticut cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson at No. 23. In that version of the draft, McShay pegged St. Louis to select Williams one pick earlier. Which left the Vikings to add firepower to their secondary with Wreh-Wilson.
Said McShay then:
Minnesota has options here, and a big receiver like California's Keenan Allen might make sense. However, Wreh-Wilson is a value pick at a key position and the Vikings need another talented young corner to go with Chris Cook and Josh Robinson. Wreh-Wilson is one of the most underrated prospects in the class. He plays under control, has good speed and excellent balance, and also supports the run well.
Back in December, before the draft order was set and before either the NFL or college seasons were complete, McShay also projected a Williams-Vikings union. So, hey, it's at least something to keep an eye on. But just to be clear, mock drafts are mostly designed for blogs like these to help you kill of a little free time during your work day boredom spells. So don't go rushing to order your purple Sylvester Williams jersey just yet.
Although it is worth mentioning that McShay's colleague Mel Kiper also currently has the Vikings selecting Williams at No. 23 in his most recent mock draft.
Before that, Kiper projected Baylor receiver Terrance Williams to come off the board when the Vikings go on the clock for the first time.
And if you need more of a mock frenzy, here are a handful of other projections for who the Vikings could scoop up in Round 1:
Yep, mock drafts are everywhere. And while they mean so very little, at least you can daydream about any of those seven aforementioned players for a while. Until a newer mock is posted. With some newer projections and new names to think about.
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