The Vikings brain trust will spend the coming weeks and months considering their options before making several major decisions.
Adrian Peterson’s future in Minnesota and improving the offensive line are at the top of the list.
The 2017 NFL draft will help address some areas of concern and the picture of who the Vikings could be targeting is becoming clearer with the college football and NFL regular season complete.
The uncertainty surrounding the Vikings’ offseason moves is evident in the latest mock drafts. Predictions of the team’s first pick in the second round range from a defensive tackle, offensive guard, running back and offensive tackle.
One mock draft even predicts the Vikings will trade into the first round to select Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
Mock draft roundup:
Fox Sports predicts the Vikings will use the 46th overall pick to select Indiana offensive lineman Dan Feeney. The 6-4, 310-pound guard earned first team All-America honors from several publications and was a first team All-Big Ten honoree, last season. Feeney did not allow a sack in 475 called pass attempts in 2015 and had only allowed one sack in three seasons before his senior year. He has been praised for succeeding with his simple approach combined with his strength and toughness.
The Vikings third round picks will be Alabama safety Eddie Jackson and Virginia Tech wide receiver Isaiah Ford, according to Fox Sports.
Draftsite.com expects the Vikings to dip into the strong running backs class with its second-round pick and select D’Onta Foreman out of Texas. The 6-1, 249-pound back is known for his proportional build and the ability to barrel into a tackler. He is patient with good vision and has the ability to make last-second cuts and accelerate to top speed quickly, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote.
The Vikings’ third round picks, according to Draftsite, will be Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins and Notre Dame defensive tackle Jarron Jones.
Draftwire has the Vikings picking Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in the second round. Nelson is a thick and powerful offensive lineman with the ability to move defenders off the line of scrimmage, Jon Dove of Fansided wrote. Nelson is a “perfect fit” for a team looking to feature a power running game, Dove added.
In the third round, Draftwire has the Vikings picking offensive tackle Taylor Moton out of Western Michigan, new Gophers coach P.J. Fleck’s former program. Eight picks later, the Vikings will select Tulane defensive lineman Tanzel Smart.
Fansided expects the Vikings to trade into the first round to help patch the offensive line with Ramczyk. Paul Bellesen wrote “the Vikings make a bold move to jump up and grab college football’s best tackle this year.
Ramczyk is a former NCAA Division III transfer that quickly proved he has a future in the NFL. The former UW-Stevens Point standout has used his athleticism to outperform many other highly touted offensive tackles in the Big Ten and around the country.
Fansided’s third-round predictions are Pitt offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty and Utah defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei. They also predict the Vikings to pick Michigan offensive guard Mason Cole in the fourth round.
Many early mock drafts, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports, limit their predictions to first round selections. The Vikings traded their 2017 first-round pick to Philadelphia for quarterback Sam Bradford. Some draft analysts expect the Eagles to use that pick to selection Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis, another former Fleck product.
Expect these predictions to change over the next three-plus months as teams sort through their rosters and needs before the April 27-29 draft. This list could look completely when spring rolls around.