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Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11) during the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2013 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. UCLA defeated Virginia Tech 42-12. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Vikings 4 Round Mock

 

What follows is a four round mock draft put together based on the best information I have been able to glean as to the Vikings’ positional priorities and in some cases actual player targeting.

We are of course keeping in mind that the player targeting thing can sometimes be a little misleading as teams deliberately create false impressions in this regard.

I proceed recognizing the peril inherent in taking reports of player visits etc., at face value.

So here we go. A best guess four round Vikings mock.

Round 1: Anthony Barr, Edge player, UCLA

You know who the Vikings really want to draft? Khalil Mack. Everyone wants to draft Khalil Mack because he will likely be a terror in the NFL as an edge player.

But without a trade up, the Vikings aren’t getting Khalil Mack.

The trade down possibility is on the table but, here’s the thing: the Vikings really really need a pass rusher. They really really need to upgrade the talent at outside linebacker. They really really need someone like Anthony Barr.

I know Anthony Barr is not everyone’s cup of tea right now, but the talent suggests he could be a big time player. Let Mike Zimmer coach this kid up.

Round 2: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

All indications are that the Vikings like Mettenberger a whole lot. These indications could be false. For the purposes of this mock, I am operating on the assumption that they are true.

Mettenberger looks the part of a Troy Aikman/Philip Rivers type QB, aka a Norv Turner QB. He’s big and he stands tall in the pocket and he delivers the ball downfield with accuracy. He seems to have the physical and mental tools necessary to be a good player.

One year with Matt Cassel as starter and then hand it over to Mettenberger? I can roll.

Round 3: Terrance West, RB, Towson

Let’s just go ahead and assume that the Vikings will take a running back in at least the third round. They’re not going into the season with Matt Asiata as the #2 back. West has the look of a potential weapon, both as a runner and a receiver.

He could represent a replacement for Adrian Peterson down the road.

Round 3: Billy Turner, OG, North Dakota State

The Vikings normally don’t like taking interior offensive linemen this high. Look at their recent draft history with guards and centers and you see a lot of later round picks like John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco and Jeff Baca.

But I’ve got them breaking this tendency a little bit and taking Billy Turner with their second pick in the third. The left guard spot is still an issue with journeyman Charlie Johnson and reclamation project Vlad Ducasse on the roster. I could see them taking Turner and letting him platoon with Johnson or Ducasse for a year while he learns the guard position.

Round 4: Jordan Zumwalt, MLB, UCLA

The old Rick Spielman double dip leads to a second UCLA linebacker coming to the Vikings. Zumwalt is another guy like Anthony Barr who needs coaching up, but Mike Zimmer of course does not shy away from such projects. In fact he embraces them.

Mike Zimmer and the Vikings are in the perfect spot to draft defensive players with upside who might be a little raw at first. The D is a work in progress, everyone knows it.

With the defensive line in place, now the Vikings need to find linebacker and secondary talent to make Zimmer’s hybrid defense work. Linebacker is where the Vikings are most lacking in personnel, so it’s natural to assume they will heavily target that area in the draft.

Two linebackers in the first five picks is not out of the question. In fact I think it’s almost mandatory.

If you’re worried about the cornerback depth, don’t be. The Vikings still have cap space and can sit and wait for some veterans to be cut during camp. Mike Zimmer has also done a good job reclaiming cast-off defensive backs.

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