Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal linebacker Trent Murphy (93) celebrates the touchdown against Michigan State Spartans during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Time to spin out another quick and dirty four round mock draft. Just a little snapshot of where my thinking is at this precise moment in time.
Round 1 (pick 8)
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
In my first four round mock I gave the Vikings Anthony Barr, but I now think that was sort of dumb. The Vikings will want a slam dunk day-one starter with their first pick, not someone they have to develop. Donald is drawing comparisons to everyone from Geno Atkins to John Randle, which should be enough to generate excitement. Donald’s arrival downgrades Sharrif Floyd to rotational player status, which is sort of tough to justify a year after you took him in the first round, but Rick Spielman can always say he had three first rounders last year and hitting on two of three isn’t bad.
Round 2 (pick 40)
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Vikings are still a player or two short of having what you would classify as adequate personnel in the secondary. They shored up safety a little bit by adding Kurt Coleman, who can rotate with Jamarca Sanford. Cornerback is still a problem even after the signing of Captain Munnerlyn, who figures to be lined up against the slot the majority of the time. Kyle Fuller is a guy with nice size, speed and man cover skills who could step in and provide a good outside corner opposite Xavier Rhodes. It might be a stretch to have him sliding into the early second, especially now that Bradley Roby has probably red flagged his way right out of the discussion.
Round 3 (pick 72)
Trent Murphy, LB/DE, Stanford
The Vikings need a tall strong-side linebacker who can stand up on the line of scrimmage when Mike Zimmer goes to the under front. Murphy has the hybrid skills necessary to fill this role. I think Michael Mauti/Jasper Brinkley can hold down the middle and Chad Greenway can slide over to the Will and be okay. Have a feeling it will be Mauti-Greenway in the nickel. Not a great linebacker corps by any means, but if you become dominating enough up front, you can sneak by with it.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Here’s your Spielman double-dip, two Virginia Tech guys. Thomas hasn’t gotten the buzz that Tom Savage has received but I personally don’t see anything that separates them. Have a feeling the Savage “buzz” is as much a media thing as a real scouting thing. I could see a lot of scouts liking Thomas as much as Savage if not more. Greg Cosell’s recent endorsement doesn’t hurt. It will tick off fans if Spielman doesn’t go QB earlier than the third but them’s the breaks. I just don’t think Spielman wants to take another chance at QB, after getting burned so badly by the Christian Ponder mess. He wants either a sure thing or a project he can groom behind Matt Cassel. There are no sure things in this draft so it’s the project.
Round 4 (pick 104)
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
There’s a group of about three or four decent mid-round running backs who are constantly being connected to the Vikings, and Freeman looks like the most promising among them as a receiving back. Will he be Darren Sproles? Probably not. But it’s important to build up some running back talent, because Adrian Peterson, I don’t need to tell you, is not getting any younger. And Matt Asiata does nothing for me.