Vikings

5 Bowl-Bound Players on Minnesota's Wish List

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee (USA TODAY Sports)

As we reach the end of 2020, it’s time to start curating some sort of ‘Wish List’ for the Minnesota Vikings offseason. The clock has essentially run out on the Vikings’ playoff hopes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy some football.

Personally, I’m thankful for the fact that I’ll be able to watch Christmas football in peace. It’s been a rough year for Minnesota sports, and beating a team named the Saints on Christmas will be no easy task. In a weird way I’m looking at Friday’s matchup as a win-win; either the Vikings kick the New Orleans Saints’ ass or improve their draft position.

Right now, the Vikings are likely to draft somewhere from No. 11 to 16. Armed with that knowledge, I’ve gone ahead and created a list of players to watch out for during this college football bowl season who the Vikings could be interested in looking at come April.

1.     Daviyon Nixon (DL) – Iowa

Getting Michael Pierce back next season will be huge in solidifying what has been a less than stellar defensive line, but they’ll still need someone to play next to him in the trenches. Enter Nixon, who at 6’3″, 305 lbs. already has an NFL ready body. In eight games, he’s racked up 5.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss and is a finalist for the Outland Trophy which is given to the countries best interior lineman.

Not to mention, he can do things like this.

Iowa has a very good track record of producing NFL talent, so adding a Hawkeye to the roster is always a plus. Not to mention he’s putting up these numbers in a conference that produces a lot of offensive line prowess. Putting Nixon on a defensive line with Pierce and Daniel Hunter would bring back the pressure that Mike Zimmer’s defense needs if it wants to be successful next season.

2.     Kyle Trask (QB) – Florida

I was torn whether I should put Trask or Mac Jones on this list but looking at Trask’s numbers this year says it all. He’s thrown for over 4,100 yards and has a TD to INT ratio of 43:5 in the vaunted SEC.

The top four quarterbacks will likely be off the board when the Vikings pick rolls around, but I actually think Trask provides a great fit in Minnesota. He’d have some time to develop under Cousins, and he’s also a pocket passer like Cousins so the transition would be smooth.

Looking at his tape, I have no clue why he’s not talked about more.

He strikes me as one of those guys that, despite putting up crazy numbers, is overlooked purely because of his team’s record. It’s not his fault that Florida has an inept defense, which is why they lost a 52-46 SEC Championship game to No. 1 Alabama.

Trask can ball, flat out, and could be a fantastic find for Rick Spielman come April.

3.     Trevon Moehrig (S) – TCU

With Anthony Harris’ uncertain future in Minnesota, and Harrison Smith aging it would make sense for Mike Zimmer to go get a safety to sure up the future of that unit. Moehrig, who is a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award, provides a great plug-and-play option.

He’s been great playing that centerfield role for the Horned Frogs, and his quickness gives him the ability to make some great plays on the ball.

The big con for Moehrig is how he holds up in man coverage, but if we’ve learned anything this season it’s that Zimmer can teach his guys those skills on the fly. Plus, if you pair him with a veteran like Smith that could also help with his development.

I can hear the groans already if the Vikings drafted another first-round defensive back instead of addressing other needs *cough cough offensive line*, but Moehrig could complete a young secondary core that would compete for years to come.

4.     Alex Leatherwood (OT) – Alabama

Speaking of the offensive line, the next two guys to watch would both help fill gaps on that horrendous Vikings o-line. Leatherwood is a 6’6″, 310 lbs. lineman who is responsible for protecting the blindside of Mac Jones.

He’s an interesting case, though, as he was someone who very well could have been a first-round pick a year ago, but he decided to come back for his senior year. Doing so has hurt his draft stock, as some of his technique has been exposed this season.

His tendency to be over aggressive and get beat by swim moves has been exposed by elite edge rushers this year, but if the Vikings can fix that they could have a cornerstone offensive tackle.

This is especially important when both of the Vikings current tackles, Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill, don’t seem like long-term options. I like all of the guys I’ve listed thus far, but if Kirk Cousins is really your guy, you have to design your team for him. For the Vikings, that means going out and fixing the offensive line, which Leatherwood would go a long way in doing.

5.     Wyatt Davis (IOL) – Ohio State

The second offensive line option comes in the form of a three-year starter at Ohio State, and a very good one at that. He’s great in both run blocking and pass protection, and the Vikings are desperate for any sort of talent on that line. Our Sam Ekstrom went in depth on how poor the offensive line has been, and it would be fantastic to see Davis step into Dakota Dozier’s spot.

That play alone gets me excited because it’s something Vikings fans haven’t seen. If we’re being honest, the only pancake Dozier is familiar with is the fluffy, syrup soaked one you eat for breakfast.

While Davis has proven himself in pass protection, his best scheme fit according to TheDraftNetwork.com is in an inside zone heavy rush attack. Interesting considering the Vikings have arguably the best running back in the league.

Needless to say, the Vikings will have options come April, many of whom I didn’t mention due to opt outs. But now is a better time than ever to kick back, grab a notebook, and scout the hell out of all the talented prospects that will be taking the field over the next couple weeks.

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