Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Who's being linked to the Vikings in last-minute mock drafts?

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: May 7, 2014 - 9:01 AM

Just like you, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman can’t resist checking out the mock drafts.

“Everybody reads the mocks because we're tired of yelling at each other,” he said yesterday.

And if that’s the case, Spielman surely knows the expectation, at least from the media, is that he will select a quarterback with the eighth overall pick tomorrow night. A month ago, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was projected to wear purple. Last week it was UCF’s Blake Bortles.

Spielman said the Vikings aren’t afraid to take a first-round quarterback, even though the last one they took didn’t pan out. But he also said there are QBs he likes in pretty much every round, so he is prepared to be patient in the search for a passer and take the best player on the board at No. 8.

“You guys are missing some names on our spot at 8, I can tell you that,” Spielman said.

So a day out from the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, which names are being linked to the Vikings in mock drafts? Well, there’s still a lot of Bortles. A couple of defenders popped up, too.

Todd McShay, ESPN: Bortles. “The Vikings need a long-term answer at quarterback, but the presence of Matt Cassel (who did not play terribly last season) would allow for Bortles to sit for at least part of his rookie season, which is an ideal situation for him,” McShay wrote. “He has prototypical size and good mobility, and I think that issues with his mechanics are fixable. I also wouldn't be surprised if GM Rick Spielman trades again. He made a shrewd deal in 2012 to move down and add picks while still getting Matt Kalil and then traded back into the first round to get Harrison Smith. He was active again in last year's first round.”

Charley Casserly, NFL Network: Bortles. “Bortles needs a year to develop, and with Matt Cassel on the roster, the Vikings don’t have to play him in Year 1,” Casserly wrote.

Greg Bedard, Sports Illustrated: Bortles. “Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder are not the long-term answers at quarterback, but their presence allows Bortles to be developed slowly, as he needs to be,” Bedard wrote. “It’s the perfect situation for him, and for the Vikings.”

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. “Best player on the board or quarterback? The Vikings desperately need an identity at quarterback, something Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater could bring to Minnesota,” Brugler wrote. “But more of a ‘sure thing’ might be the direction here and Aaron Donald would be Mike Zimmer's new Geno Atkins.”

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: C.J. Mosley, MLB, Alabama. “Bridgewater is a legitimate option here, but Mosley is one of the cleaner prospects in the draft and will have an immediate impact,” he wrote.

Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation: Bortles (after trading down). “There would be nothing wrong with taking Bortles in the eighth spot,” he wrote. “But if a team were to come calling, trading down is almost too good of an option to reject. We threw in the trade back up to make this mock draft more confusing than the rest. They can sit Bortles for a year, unless Matt Cassel starts to play like himself, thanks to a relatively inexpensive fifth-year option in Bortles' rookie deal.”

Ourlads.com: Mosley. “CJ Mosley was the Butkus Award winner as the top linebacker in the country. Has good timing as an ‘A’ gap blitzer,” they wrote. “Disruptive and explosive. Instinctive with good lateral agility. A sideline to sideline productive player. Led the Tide with 108 tackles, including 9 tackles for loss. A four down linebacker -- plays run, covers the pass, and plays special teams. The only stickey wicket is an injury history that may knock Mosley out of the 1st round.”

Pat Kirwan, CBS Sports: Bortles (after trading down). “The Vikings move down, grab extra picks and still get the big athletic QB Norv Turner likes to coach,” Kirwan wrote. “The Vikings will pick up a corner and a safety in the next round.”

Charles Davis, NFL Network: Bortles. “Mosley is one of the top 10 players in the draft,” Davis wrote. “Vikes pass on QB (Teddy Bridgewater?) here to build defense.”

Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Donald. “Not buying the Blake Bortles buzz here, as much sense as it makes,” King wrote. “The Vikings just have too many quarterbacks rated too closely, and they know they can get one with the 40th pick. Donald has some freakish athletic traits. Not quite John Randle, but the man is quick and can get to the passer.”

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Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 83 4th Qtr 2:23
Toronto 99
Memphis 71 3rd Qtr 0:59
San Antonio 65
Milwaukee 12 1st Qtr 5:11
Portland 9
Houston 9:30 PM
Denver
Indiana 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 2 3rd Prd 8:21
Minnesota 2
Dallas 0 1st Prd 14:05
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 1st OT 2:30
Houston 45
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 40 2nd Half 17:48
Auburn 42
New Mexico St 33 2nd Half 14:44
Baylor 43
San Diego St 32 2nd Half 16:01
Cincinnati 29
Eastern Mich 27 2nd Half 15:32
Michigan State 39
Loyola Marymount 42 2nd Half 11:05
Stanford 44
Incarnate Word 51 2nd Half 14:39
Grand Canyon 57
Northeastern 14 1st Half 11:07
Cal Poly 6
Central Arkansas 11 1st Half 14:37
New Mexico 5
Howard 5 1st Half 15:39
Pepperdine 3
Portland 9:30 PM
UNLV
CS-Northridge 10:00 PM
Oregon
Grambling St 10:00 PM
Washington
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 48 2nd Half 8:44
Eastern Washington 53
North Texas 0 1st Half 13:08
San Francisco 6
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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