It’s almost here. The most anticipated day of the year for grown up kids. On Christmas Eve we had visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads and these days it’s a draft card with the commissioner at the podium. So without further delay here is the “All Vikings — 2012 Mock Draft” on what the Vikings will do. And for the sake of sanity, we avoided trades.
Round 1, Pick 3: Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC
General Manager Rick Spielman has tons of smoke blowing in the air about the Vikings considering one of Kalil, Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne. After about 8 minutes though of being officially “on the clock” the Vikings will not find a trade partner and take the USC tackle. It’ll be interesting to see how fans react otherwise if Kalil is not the pick, especially at the Metrodome who is hosting the draft party. According to every poll, Kalil is the guy the majority of Vikings fans want. If you want to debate Claiborne or Blackmon, there are other message boards for that galore.
Round 2, Pick 35: Josh Robinson, Cornerback, Central Florida
The popular pick here in mock drafts is Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, however with Alabama’s Mark Barron supposedly shooting up draft boards (take from that as you may) it’s unlikely Smith will be available at this point. Dan already hit the nail on the head on Robinson in an earlier post, no need to repeat.
Round 3, Pick 66: Mohammed Sanu, Wide Receiver, Rutgers
About two months ago Sanu was considered a late first round pick. But a slow 40-time for his combine showing and reports coming out that he will be strictly a possession receiver in the NFL, his draft stock has taken a bit of a hit. That doesn’t change the fact though that he caught 115 balls last year at Rutgers, has sure hands and is considered a good teammate. The Vikings need football players. Sanu is one. And the Vikings stop the slide in round 3.
Round 4, Pick 98: Markelle Martin, Safety, Oklahoma St
The Vikings seriously can’t go into next season with Eric Frampton, Jamarca ‘Mon’ Sanford and Mistral Raymond as their safeties. Martin gives the Vikings a rangy free safety that is a decent open field tackler that played against solid competition last year in the Big 12.
Round 4, Pick 128: Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, Defensive Tackle, Baylor
While Letroy Guion and Fred Evans are expected to compete for the starting defensive tackle spot opposite Kevin Williams, Jean-Baptiste would provide depth and may have a shot at earning a starting job. Still defensive tackles that are 6’1” and 330 pounds are a rare commodity and Jean-Baptiste could give the Vikings that big presence they’ve missed inside since Pat Williams left the team. The knock on Jean-Baptiste is that he isn’t a great pass rusher and doesn’t have a tremendous amount of natural ability, but he’s a try hard guy who walked on to Baylor to be a run stuffer and could immediately be a fan favorite.
Round 4, Pick 134: Audie Cole, Linebacker, NC State
The Vikings need to provide competition at the middle linebacker position for Jasper Brinkley. Cole was a very productive middle linebacker at NC State who has a good work ethic and solid football instincts. He’s also an asset on passing downs, which is not exactly one of Brinkley’s strengths. At the very least this pick would provide Brinkley was some motivation as a training camp battle for a starting job. At the very best we’ve found ourselves a starter to compliment Erin Henderson and Chad Greenway.
Round 5, Pick 138: DeQuan Menzie, Cornerback, Alabama
The Vikings need to at least draft one cornerback, if not two. Menzie played in the shadow of potential first round pick Dre Kirkpatrick at Alabama. He has ideal size for the position and played a lot of zone coverage at Alabama, which is enticing for any Tampa 2 team. Menzie also could project as a safety at the next level. For a 5th round pick that started for the latest national championship team out of the SEC at a premium position, we’ll take it.
Round 6, Pick 175: Dale Moss, Wide Receiver, South Dakota St
When you start getting into the 6th round the time has come to take a pot shot or two hoping to get lucky. The Vikings had a bit of luck grabbing freak athlete Joe Webb out of UAB in the 6th round of 2010, so why not try to grab another freak athlete in Dale Moss who (like Webb) wasn’t invited to the combine? At Moss’s pro day he measured 6-3 and 213 pounds, was clocked around a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 41.5-inch vertical. The problem is he only played one year of football after excelling on the basketball team. But a Moss on the Vikings? Pull your 84 jerseys out.
Round 7, Pick 210: Jeremy Lane, Cornerback, Kansas State
Another pick, another cornerback. Sorry if this is getting redundant, but that’s the one position you just can’t quite have enough of. Lane is a prospect that will get drafted and make an NFL team as a 5th corner. He has nice size at 5’11” and 175 pounds that excels in press coverage, which the Vikings frequently employ. He’s also an asset in run support and scouts sure noticed his performance versus LSU where he grabbed an interception.
Round 7, Pick 210: Daryl Richardson, Running Back, Abilene Christian University
Adrian Peterson is a candidate to begin the year on the PUP and beyond Toby Gerhart the Vikings don’t have another running back that is worth their salt. Jordan Todman… Caleb King… C’mon. Richardson is the brother of Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott. He is a stellar athlete at 5’10-1/2” and192 pounds. He’s also been timed in the 40 at under 4.4, broad jumped 11’3”, is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands and is willing to contribute on special teams.
That’s it for tonight. We’ll be around all weekend providing draft updates. The drama officially begins in less than 24 hours.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig