The Vikings draft:
Projections vs. reality
By Ben Goessling • Star Tribune
The Vikings finished last season one game away from the Super Bowl. Adding Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson in free agency was one big step toward their ultimate goal. Their next step was filling other needs through the draft. Here's a look at our ultimate Vikings Mock Draft vs. the picks they made in the actual 2018 NFL Draft.
After signing veterans Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson to address two of their biggest immediate needs, the Vikings focused their draft on players who might make more of an impact down the road. Here is a look at how they spent their eight picks in the draft compared with the picks we thought they could make. Even though the names are different, the Vikings built in most of the areas we expected in our mock draft.
|Mike Hughes||Round 1, Pick 30||Central Florida||CB|
|Brian O'Neill||Round 2, Pick 62||Pittsburgh||OT|
|Jalyn Holmes||Round 4, Pick 102||Ohio State||DE|
|Tyler Conklin||Round 5, Pick 157||Central Michigan||TE|
|Daniel Carlson||Round 5, Pick 167||Auburn||K|
|Colby Gossett||Round 6, Pick 213||Appalachian State||G|
|Ade Aruna||Round 6, Pick 218||Tulane||DE|
|Devante Downs||Round 7, Pick 225||California||LB|
A LOOK BACK
Here's how we sized up the Vikings' needs heading into the draft.
OG Offensive Guard
With Joe Berger retiring and Jeremiah Sirles heading to Carolina, the Vikings need both a starter at right guard and some depth in the middle of their line to go with free-agent pickup Tom Compton.
TE Tight End
Kyle Rudolph is back, but the Vikings’ pursuit of Jared Cook in free agency a year ago and their interest in Trey Burton this year shows they’re looking for another player who can work as a receiving threat over the middle of the field.
OT Offensive Tackle
Riley Reiff’s impressive first season in Minnesota helped solve the Vikings’ left tackle problem, but they could still use another young player to develop at the spot.
WR Wide receiver
Of their top three receivers, only Adam Thielen is signed beyond this year. The Vikings could look to add another receiver with size, especially with Laquon Treadwell still struggling.
DT Defensive tackle
Signing Sheldon Richardson gave the Vikings their new starter at three-technique, but they need more depth, especially with Shamar Stephen gone.
It’s never a bad idea to invest here, especially when the Vikings could benefit from using a high pick on a corner who could play in the nickel.
With Anthony Barr hitting free agency hitting free agency after the season, the Vikings could certainly look for another starter here.
SS Strong Safety
With Andrew Sendejo turning 31 in September, the Vikings could look for another option alongside Harrison Smith – and a player who can add some versatility to their sub packages.
Round 1 Pick 30
Maurice Hurst Michigan · Defensive Tackle
Sheldon Richardson is only signed for a year, the Vikings need more standout players in the middle of their line and Hurst, if he’s still on the board, could make an immediate impact as a pass rusher.
Frank Ragnow Arkansas, C
The Chanhassen native might be gone by the time the Vikings pick, but if he’s there, he’s polished enough to step in and start at center or guard.
Jaire Alexander Louisville, CB
A cornerback who can play the nickel spot would be a sound investment, with 39-year-old Terence Newman still debating his future and the jury still out on Mackensie Alexander.
Round 2 Pick 62
Billy Price Ohio State · Center
Pat Elflein’s former college teammate could fall because of the pectoral injury he suffered at the NFL combine. If the Vikings get him here, he can line up at guard next to his friend.
Mike Gesicki Penn State, TE
He’d give the Vikings the athletic tight end they seem to be seeking to pair with Kyle Rudolph.
Lorenzo Carter Georgia, LB
Vikings brought Carter to town on a visit before the draft; he stands 6-foot-6, weighs 250 pounds and runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash.
Round 3 Pick 94
Dante Pettis Washington · Wide Receiver
The Vikings had him in on a top-30 visit; he’d give them an athletic young slot receiver who also posted impressive numbers as a punt returner in college.
Kemoko Turay Rutgers, LB
Another player the Vikings brought in on a visit, Turay is an athletic edge rusher in the mold of Anthony Barr.
Nyheim Hines North Carolina State, RB
Hines is an explosive back, though he's only 5-foot-8 and would need some work as a receiver. Still, his speed (a 4.38 40) and ability as a return man could be intriguing.
Round 5 Pick 167
Tony Brown Alabama · Cornerback
He’s a physical corner who’d help in run support from the nickel position immediately, while contributing on special teams.
Jack Cichy Wisconsin, LB
The Badgers linebacker, who visited the Vikings before the draft, is coming off an ACL tear, but could be worth the gamble.
Tre Flowers Oklahoma State, S
The 6-foot-3 safety could be worth a look, especially if the Vikings believe he can improve as a tackler.
Round 6 Pick 204
Alex Cappa Humboldt State · Tackle
The 6-foot-6 tackle from the Division III school has good footwork and could eventually be a versatile backup who can play several spots.
Nick DeLuca North Dakota State, LB
He came back from a shoulder injury to post 6 ½ sacks and 10 ½ tackles for loss as a senior.
Greg Gilmore Louisiana State, DT
The Vikings have enjoyed good luck with LSU defensive line prospects (Danielle Hunter and Tashawn Bower) in recent years; Gilmore could play either tackle spot.
Round 6 Pick 213
Troy Fumagalli Wisconsin · Tight End
He could be the Vikings’ answer to what John DeFilippo had in Trey Burton in Philadelphia: an athletic tight end who runs good routes and has solid hands.
Riley Ferguson Memphis, QB
This might not be a bad spot for a developmental QB, and Ferguson could have potential if he refines his mechanics.
Justin Jackson Northwestern, RB
Vikings might need another running back after losing Jerick McKinnon, and Jackson could be a fit on third downs.
Round 6 Pick 218
John Franklin-Myers Stephen F. Austin · Defensive End
The Vikings typically add an athletic specimen of a pass rusher late in the draft; Franklin-Myers might be on the larger side for their defensive ends, but he’s a powerful man who could also move inside.
Tray Matthews Auburn, S
He had some strong moments during the week of practices at the Senior Bowl, and could step in on special teams for now.
Jeff Badet Oklahoma, WR
The Vikings had him in town for their top-30 event earlier this month; his immediate impact would likely be as a returner.
Round 7 Pick 225
Michael Joseph Dubuque · Cornerback
Can he jump from Division III to the NFL? If he can, Joseph has the size and speed to be a late-round gem.
Quentin Poling Ohio, LB
The Vikings met with him before the draft, and could target him as an undrafted free agent if he isn’t drafted.
Matt Gono Wesley, G
He’s another player the Vikings met with before the draft, and this might not be a bad spot for another lineman who could develop.