While the most certain result of Thursday's NFL Draft is that the Jacksonville Jaguars will select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall, another consensus is being built in mock drafts around the country — the Vikings are going to draft an offensive lineman at No. 14 overall.
There's no doubt that offensive line is a glaring hole for the Vikings, who they will select from a deep offensive line group varies from mock draft to mock draft. Here's a roundup:
ESPN: Todd McShay and Mel Kiper's mock draft have the Vikings selecting Alijah Vera-Tucker, the offensive lineman out of USC. They even include the odds Vera-Tucker will be available at this spot: 87.4%.
Yahoo: Peter King writes that Vera-Tucker would make the most sense if the Vikings keep the pick, but he doubts that will happen: "I believe I lead the Vikings' chunk of my mock annually with this sentence:GM Rick Spielman really wants to trade down.Nothing new this year." Our Mark Craig wrote in his profile of Spielman before the draft that the Vikings genera manager is definitely keeping his trade options open.
Pro Football Focus: PFF has the L.A. Chargers selecting Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech at No. 13, which leaves the Vikings taking Rashawn Slater of Northwestern with the No. 14 pick. While PFF notes that Slater is the consensus best tackle in the draft, they view Darrisaw as the No. 1 tackle prospect.
Walter Football: Another site looking at Slater as the likely pick for the Vikings with Vera-Tucker as a likely backup pick if Slater is not available. Walter Football, like the Star Tribune's offensive line position preview, points to Slater's excellent work against Ohio State defensive end Chase Young as a reason why his draft stock is so high.
Sports Illustrated: While SI follows the likely path and has the Vikings selecting Vera-Tucker, they also point to University of Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips as a sleeper pick that could be enticing for co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson and Mike Zimmer. Phillips also spent two seasons at UCLA, like Vikings linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.
CBS Sports: One of the more diverse selection of mock draft picks for the Vikings comes from CBS which has four different expert selections. Ryan Wilson has them taking Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye; Chris Trapasso likes University of Miami edge rusher Jaelan Phillips; Josh Edwards has them taking Vera-Tucker; and, in the most exciting prospect, Pete Prisco has them drafting Trey Lance, the Marshall native and North Dakota State star quarterback.
NFL.com: Similar pattern here as Vera-Tucker is the pick, with Bucky Brooks writing that the Vikings could shore up a lot of interior line problems but could also move Vera-Tucker to tackle.
SB Nation: Another offensive line pick, but something a little different from the SB Nation writers with Christian Darrisaw being the pick out of Virginia Tech. Still Christopher Gates of the Daily Norseman writes that his bet is the Viking trade the pick back to add a second round selection after losing it in 2020.
Athlon Sports: The main reason that they have the Vikings drafting Vera-Tucker, as do so many other mock drafts? "That offensive line situation is as concerning as any, especially given how much more effective Kirk Cousins is in a clean pocket. Vera-Tucker can man one of the tackle spots while providing plenty of versatility up front too."
USA Today: The first mock draft to put a firm selection away from the offensive line has the Vikings selecting Paye, the Michigan defensive end. They call him simply the best player available and someone who could help immediately. "With Danielle Hunter presumably returning, Minnesota's pass rush should improve. However, it's not a given that Hunter will produce on the level he did in 2018 and 2019, especially if there is not a good edge rusher playing opposite him. Paye could be that edge rusher."