Mel Kiper may not be the coolest name in the mock drafting world – that distinction belongs to Sean Zobel – but he is still a plugged-in guy with tons of credibility. When Kiper mocks, people listen. For the Kiper skeptics, consider this little fact: shortly before last year’s draft Kiper predicted the Vikings’ top three picks would be Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson. Did he nail it much?
Now of course that was a prediction shortly before the draft. Right now we are a ways away from being there. Mocking this far out is a different matter. It’s pretty much a shot-in-the-dark exercise unless you’re talking about Andrew Luck to the Colts, a pick the dumbest person on earth could’ve made. So take this however you want it. It’s Mel Kiper yes, but it’s still January. We’ve got the Senior Bowl and the combine and all that crap still to come. Things are going to change.
But for right now, this is how Mel Kiper sees things playing out for the Vikings in the first round. He has them going wide receiver. That’s not exactly a revelation. The name he’s putting out there is a little different though. It’s not Keenan Allen and it’s not Robert Woods. Kiper’s pick for the Vikings is Baylor WR Terrance Williams. Kiper says:
Last year, we saw both Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright taken out of Baylor, and Williams has the skill set to join them as a player drafted with the potential to make an early impact. Williams is first a player who can use his size and speed to stretch the field and take the top off a defense, but he also can make big plays on the sidelines, where he’ll tiptoe and make the catches as well as any pass-catching target in the draft. Williams also will beat you with the ball in his hands as a nifty runner with good size. Minnesota needs a dependable pass-catcher next to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph.
“Size and speed.” Those are the key words. Whatever receiver the Vikes take – and you know they will take a receiver, if not in the first round then certainly the second or third – will possess those two attributes. They’ve got plenty of smaller shiftier guys. Williams seems to fit the bill. So does Keenan Allen. So does Justin Hunter of Tennessee though he’s more of a project. Robert Woods is polished but he has injury issues. Cordarrelle Patterson is another guy to watch.
Bottom line: if the Vikes want to take an outside receiver in the first round, they will have plenty of options. Even if a couple of those guys come off the board before 23, there will be some guys to choose from. It’s a decent year to be drafting a receiver in the second half of the first round.