Running back? If Adrian Peterson doesn’t return, that a hole. Wide receiver? The stalled development of Cordarrelle Patterson and the desire to get Teddy Bridgewater more playmakers makes that a candidate. Offensive line? No doubt. Defensive line? Brian Robison will be 32 before the start of next year, and the interior line can always use more help. Linebacker? Anthony Barr is the real deal, but other spots are up for grabs. Secondary? Even with improvement last season, the Vikings could upgrade at corner and safety.
As such, mock drafts are pretty much impossible right now. And they will continue to be impossible for the Vikings right up until the time the draft actually starts and we see who is available at No. 11.
Mel Kiper Jr. acknowledges this much in his first 2015 mock draft for ESPN, which just came out Thursday. But he has to make predictions anyway, and the one he came up with for the Vikings is intriguing even if it means nothing right now.
Kiper has Minnesota taking Louisville WR Devante Parker at that first-round slot. Parker played all four years in college and is, of course, a former teammate of Bridgewater’s with the Cardinals.
In many ways, he seems to be the receiving equivalent of Teddy: above-average in almost every area, though not exceptional — a well-rounded, high-character player.
Writes Kiper: Teddy Bridgewater showed he can be the long-term answer at quarterback if his development continues, and while there are also questions along the offensive line, Parker is a tantalizing talent at this point, as I think some teams will have him graded as the best receiver in this draft class once they’ve wrapped up evaluations. This is A.J. Green lite, and he’s not that lite. Parker doesn’t just have the leaping ability and length to go up and get it and beat even longer defensive backs at the catch point, he can create space with his short-area explosiveness underneath. Teddy needs another weapon. Here he is.
To be honest, we’d much rather see the Vikings spend the pick on an offensive lineman. But if drafting Louisville players becomes GM Rick Spielman’s new fascination — as opposed to just Notre Dame players — the track record so far is pretty good.