7-Round Minnesota Vikings Mock Draft 1.0-3.0

[Editor’s Note: To see Luke’s latest version, click here]

It’s draft season. Everyone and their mother has a mock draft out now and so do we, BUT the difference here at Cold Omaha is that we have Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) on staff. Luke’s seen many of these prospects in the flesh at the Senior Bowl, done his due diligence grinding tape and has keen insight on how the draft prospects line up with what Rick Spielman and the Vikings may do at the end of April.

Luke will be updating his mock throughout the process, so bookmark this page (or the vanity link and let your thoughts be heard in the comment section as we roll along towards the Draft. (Editor’s Note: Updated on March 8th)

Catch Luke’s Prospect a Day series on YouTube.

1st Round (23rd Overall) Andrew Billings, DT Baylor

On a sad day with a heavy heart I’m here to give you all the unfortunate news that my one true love of the 2016 draft class, Joshua Dean Doctson (good chance thats not his real middle name) will likely be gone by the time the Vikings are on the clock at pick 23. It’s my humble opinion that after a highly impressive combine, the secret is out on my pop jiffy sweetheart, and teams like the Lions, Falcons, and Bills will all be tempted to pull the trigger on the jump ball guru. Fear not however, as “The General” is committed to his disciplined ways and will have it no other way than to take the best available player. While you may shrug and fuss about a player at a position that is far from a priority rest assured there is plenty to justify in the best pure nose tackle in the draft. Billings is a mammoth of a man that plugs holes for days, and while he hasn’t honed his pass rushing skills yet he is already at a pro-bowl caliber level against the run. In a game that is built in the trenches adding another big bodied interior lineman that can chew up blockers is more valuable than anyone you could add behind him. Mike Zimmer’s heavy defensive line rotation doesn’t skip a beat with Billings offering Linval Joseph breathers. And in obvious heavy run sets and goal line formations teaming Billings up next to Joseph is down right unfair giving Zimmer a big badder version of the “Williams Wall”. (Previous pick: Josh Doctson, WR TCU)


2nd Round (54th Overall) Karl Joseph, S West Virginia

If you only watched Joseph’s highlight tape you would think he was a one dimensional, bone crushing, in-the-box safety. However, nothing could be further from the truth. While its true Joseph has no regard for his own body and safety while hitting his opponents with intentions to kill, he also carries with him an outstanding range in coverage. Before his season-ending ACL tear (which weirdly enough came from a non-contact practice) Joseph started the ’15 season with four interceptions through the first five games. You likely haven’t heard his name much yet because of teams doing their due diligence on his medical reports, but Joseph is a splashy play-making safety that would help finally compliment Harrison Smith feeding of each others versatility. (Previous pick: 1.0 & 2.0 Darian Thompson, S Boise State)


3rd Round (86th Overall) Rashad Higgins, WR Colorado State

Simply put, Higgins is the most prolific and productive receiver in the class that isn’t being talked about. Playing at Colorado State Higgins gets overshadowed by bigger school prospects (which I understand). However, while his numbers and production are mind boggling alone, flip on the tape and there is so much more to love about this small school beauty. Higgins doesn’t own the big boy size or blazing straight speed teams drool over (although he’s not small at 6’1″ 196), but is as smooth as they come as a route runner in and out of his breaks. A natural strider with quick feet and outstanding body control Higgins is one of (if not the) most complete pass catchers in the entire draft. He uses all these qualities to get open consistency and give his QB a juicy throwing window both short, intermediate, and over the middle of the field. Plus as the primary receiver in college, Higgins ran a variety of routes with ease that will smooth his transition into the NFL. Giving Bridgewater a receiver that can give him a consistent open target allowing him to use his quick decision making and intermediate accuracy will push the offense and his progression another step forward. While hes not a deep threat, jump ball guru like Doctson, I promise you getting a polished receiver like Higgins two rounds later is a giant blessing in disguise. (Previous pick: 1.0 Nick Martin, C/OG Notre Dame; 2.0 Rashad Higgins)


4th Round (121st Overall) Deion Jones, OLB LSU

Another athletic specimen who was vastly underutilized at LSU. Jones didn’t see the field until his senior season but was clearly one of the fastest on the field as he popped off the tape. Jones saw time all over the field even including CORNERBACK as a fluid athlete that flies to the ball. Zimmer loves molding his athletic front-seven players and with an ever aging Chad Greenway and hobbled Audie Cole Jones will have a chance to compete for playing time early on as he learns the nuances of the NFL game. (Previous pick: 1.0 & 2.0 Deion Jones, OLB LSU)


5th Round (160th Overall) Kenyan Drake, RB Alabama

While Norv Turner wants Matt Asiata back its clear the change of pace tailback is content with sniffing out the free agency field. Don’t be surprised if Asiata is one of the few team free agents that doesn’t return leaving a vacant hole to fill in regards to valuable depth. Drake surprised me with his smooth glides for his big frame down at the Senior Bowl. While he may not be the short down bruiser right out the gate like his predecessor was Drake will fill out his 6’0″ frame and become a set of fresh legs to work into the rotation. (Previous pick: 1.0 & 2.0 Jonathan Williams, RB Arkansas)



6th Round (180th Overall from SF) Joe Haeg, OT NDSU

As a former walk on Haeg wasn’t expected to win a starting left tackle job, but he did. He also wasn’t expected to win three national championships and become one of the best FCS tackles in the country, but he did. Haeg wont be expected to be a consistent contributor in the NFL but, with the help and guidance from Tony Sparano maybe he will as the Vikings set up Plans B, C, and D in case Phil Loadholt doesn’t pan out from injury. (Previous pick: 1.0 & 2.0 Joel Haeg, OT NDSU)


7th Round (240th Overall from BUF) Glenn Gronkowski, FB/TE Kansas State

It makes me sick to my stomach to fill in another tight end here because it means the injury to Rhett Elison’s knee may be too much to overcome. Ellison was the glue between the cracks in one of the best running games in the NFL as a brusing blocker in power run formations. Beilive it or not losing Ellison will be a huge blow to the way Norv Turner runs his offense. However, brining in baby Gronk is the next best thing in hopes of managing the damage. I got a first hand look at Gronkowski down at the Senior Bowl and he showed off the great gene pool with his blocking skills. However, to make things really worth the while for Rick, Glenn showed off outstanding natural receiving ability when coaches plugged him in as a pass catching TE. A value late pick here that is an insurance policy for an injured veteran that gives way to great versatility. (Previous pick: 1.0 Paul McRoberts, WR SE Missouri St; 2.0 Glenn Gronkowski)


7th Round (244th Overall) Jaylon Smith, LB Notre Dame

I’m hearing serious rumors that due to his horrific knee injury Smith is completely off at least two-thirds of teams’ draft boards. While Spielman and his training staff, like Eric Sugarman, do more than their due diligence with prospects and their medical history, at a certain point you just have to think about the reward outweighing the risk. The sheer possibility of teaming Smith, who was considered a lock to be a top-10 pick just months ago, with Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks could only be put as video game-esque. Redshirting Smith would be a must for the 2016 season, but with his return the following season, Zimmer’s 4-3 base defense would have to be considered the most young, athletic, and talented group in the entire league… Yeah I said it. (Previous pick: 1.0 DJ Reader, NT/DT Clemson; 2.0 Jaylon Smith)

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