As Thursday's opening round of the NFL Draft approaches, here's a look around the universe at which players are being touted as future Vikings with the 30th pick.
The CBSsports.com mock draft by R.J. White features a name you're likely to hear often: Will Hernandez of Texas-El Paso. White writes that Hernandez "might be a best-case scenario for the Vikings, as they land a value at No. 30 while bringing in a guy to address their offensive line issues who can start from Day 1."
Jason Owens of Yahoo Sports also has the Vikings taking Hernandez, whose UTEP team was winless last season, because he's " strong lineman who excels in run and pass protection, Hernandez projects as a Day 1 starter to protect Kirk Cousins and create holes for Dalvin Cook."
The Bleacher Report mock draft by Matt Miller has pretty much the same rationale for Hernandez: "Why not take the big, mean, nasty, throwback offensive guard to open up rushing lanes for Dalvin Cook and keep quarterback Kirk Cousins' jersey clean?"
At this point, it's probably a good idea to point out that Star Tribune NFL writer Mark Craig isn't on the Hernandez bandwagon. As much as the Vikings need offensive line help, he says the pick will be safety Ronnie Harrison of Alabama and that it "sets up the likelihood that the Vikings open the season with four first-rounders under 30 starting in the secondary."
Craig doesn't have Hernandez going in the first round, by the way.
Ben Goessling, the Star Tribune's Vikings writer, also goes elsewhere with the pick. He thinks the Vikings will take defensive tackle Maurice Hurst of Michigan, making the argument that free-agent Sheldon Richardson only agreed to a one-year contract with Minnesota. Goessling's full seven-round Vikings mock draft is here.
Barry Wilner of the Associated Press thinks the Vikings will take an offensive lineman, but thinks it will be guard Isaiah Wynn of Georgia -- and that he won't be the only offensive lineman taken by the team in the draft.
Mike Clay of ESPN also has the Vikings taking Wynn.
Former Star Tribune football writer Don Banks, who now writes for Patriots, com, has the Vikings taking cornerback Jaire Alexander of Louisville. "After all, Terence Newman can’t play until he’s 53," he wrote.
Dan Kadar of SB Nation has Hernandez going to Jacksonville one pick before the Vikings, and has Minnesota taking Connor Williams, an offensive tackle from Texas. "Williams was one of Minnesota’s pre-draft visits and would give the Vikings a player who can start his career at guard and eventually move outside to tackle."
Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times has the Vikings turning to the Big Ten for an offensive lineman, guard and center James Daniels of Iowa.
Sideline reporter and Good Morning Football cohost Peter Schrager of NFL.com has the Vikings taking a linebacker, another position where there doesn't appear to be an immediate need. His choice is Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch. "The Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Year dominated his conference, and in the nationally televised Las Vegas Bowl, he recorded 12 tackles, including 3 for a loss (one sack) and a forced fumble."
And finally, if you want to see a data base that will make your eyes bleed, here's the mock draft database from SB Nation, which includes of a consensus from the dozens of drafts listed. And with that 30th pick, the Vikings choose...