When the Minnesota Vikings entered Day 2 of the NFL Draft, there was a strong feeling they would be trading up into the second round. With four selections in the third round and three selections in the fourth, the Vikings had plenty of ammunition to make a move. But the second round concluded without them making a pick.
In his post-Day 2 press conference, Rick Spielman said the Vikings had considered making a move into the second round, but the price was too high. As it turned out, Minnesota got what they needed by letting the draft board come to them.
The Vikings had quarterback Kellen Mond high on their board. Seeking a developmental player to learn behind Kirk Cousins, Minnesota waited while no quarterback came off the board until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Kyle Trask with the 64th-overall pick.
Two picks later, they selected Mond. The Texas A&M QB is not a surefire prospect by any means, but he’s the first developmental signal-caller they have taken since Tavaris Jackson in 2006.
The Vikings also wanted to improve their offensive line. They took a big first step in that direction by selecting Christian Darrisaw, a pure left tackle. With Brian O’Neill on the board, there wasn’t a need for the Vikings to take an offensive tackle.
While the Vikings were waiting for a guard, several other offensive tackles came off the board. The Chicago Bears traded up to take Teven Jenkins at pick No. 37. Miami took Liam Eichenberg at pick No. 42. Walker Little and Sam Cosmi also came off the board before the second round came to a close.
The other linemen that came off the board didn’t fit the Vikings’ needs. Alabama’s Landon Dickerson and Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey were spoken for, but the Vikings are set at center with Garrett Bradbury. Notre Dame’s Aaron Banks was the only true guard that came off the board in the second round, ensuring the Vikings would have guard options available to them if they chose to wait.
Their patience paid off, and they were able to land Wyatt Davis with pick No. 86. The Ohio State product was considered a first-round prospect at the beginning of last season, but his play tailed off last year, although part of that was due to a knee injury. As a 315-lb. mauler, he fits Mike Zimmer’s directive to get bigger along the offensive line.
And the Vikings gave up no extra compensation to get him.
Their final objective was to add an edge rusher. Given that it was one of the draft’s weakest positions, it would have been understandable if the Vikings decided to move up to take Azeez Ojulari at the 50th-overall pick or Doug Basham with the 61st-overall pick. But those were the only two edge rushers to go off the board.
Instead, the Vikings opted to wait until their final selection of the third round. By adding Patrick Jones II, they got a player who had 17.5 sacks in college and can improve a defense whose sack leader played in just six games. There wasn’t much of a drop-off from Jones and the players taken ahead of him.
Even the selection of Chazz Surratt made sense for the Vikings. It would have made sense to add Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as he slid down the board depth behind Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. But he played a “slinebacker” role that the Vikings had tried with Jayron Kearse but didn’t pan out.
Outside of JOK, Pete Werner and Nick Bolton were the only linebackers who came off the board before the Vikings took Surratt with the 78th-overall pick. Once again, the Vikings accomplished another goal without having to give up extra compensation.
The overall decision to hold was surprising, considering that Spielman likes to use his third rounders to move up.
It’s not a given that the players they selected will become important pieces of the roster, but the Vikings did what they needed to do without sacrificing any future assets.