May 9, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer addresses the media at Winter Park Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Four picks in, four picks to go.
The Minnesota Vikings have already added four new players to their roster in the first two days in the draft, and coming into the final day they still have four selections to add more talent.
After adding pass rushing linebacker Anthony Barr and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in round one, the Vikings selected rotational defensive end Scott Crichton and potential scat back Jerrick McKinnonl in the third round of the draft.
After trading up to get Bridgewater, the Vikings won’t be picking for a while on day three as they lack a fourth round pick, but they will come back with the 145th and 148th overall picks in the 5th round. The Vikings will also pick 184th overall in the sixth round and 223rd in the seventh barring any trades.
So who might the team be targeting on day three?
Day Three is DB Day for Zimmer
Well, if you follow Mike Zimmer’s track record in the draft, it’s a safe bet the Vikings will wind up with a defensive back today.
It may be hard to understand while the Vikings would ignore secondary players early in the draft when they finished as the 31st ranked pass defense last season, but Zimmer has always built his defenses around the front seven, not secondary.
While defensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals, Zimmer was a part of five drafts with the team, and actually had some input since the team has a relatively small scouting staff. In those drafts, Zimmer and the Bengals selected a total of nine defensive backs, but six of them were selected in the draft’s first three rounds.
In contrast, Zimmer and the Benglas picked six defensive lineman in the draft’s first three rounds, and three in the later rounds, the inverse of his record in the secondary.
It’s clear that either Zimmer places a higher priority on obtaining multiple valuable lineman to rotate, or he trusts his ability to coach up less talented defensive back prospects. Zimmer did win a Super Bowl as a secondary coach after all.
So instead of it being odd that the Vikings haven’t selected a defensive back yet, it actually kind of comes as expected. The decision could also be considered a lucky one for Vikings fans too, as second and third round secondary players have almost all been busts in Spielman’s tenure with the team (Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Asher Allen, Marcus McCauley).
Only time will tell whether the decision to wait on DBs will pay off however. Zimmer’s defensive track record speaks for itself, but the receiving talent in the NFC North is a whole different ballgame.
Late Round Lineman
Just like Mike Zimmer likes to draft defensive backs late, Rick Spielman has a habit of picking up offensive lineman late in the draft.
John Sullivan and Brandon Fusco are both current starters on the Vikings offensive line selected in the draft’s sixth round. The team selected two interior lineman just last year late in the draft, in Jeff Baca and Travis Bond (who was cut by the team and is now with the Panthers).
While the Vikings seem to have their starting five figured out and added some interior depth in free agency, the team is still thin on tackle depth and could use a swing man. Taking that guy in the sixth or seventh round would be a total Rick Spielman move.
Prospects Still Available
Even after the drat’s first two days, there’s still some prospects out there the Vikings showed interest in.
The team met with Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith at the Senior Bowl, though with Crichton already being added to the Vikings defensive line rotation Smith may no longer will a major need.
The team also met with Minnesota defensive back Brock Vereen, who had a great showing in Indianapolis at the Scouting Combine. The Vikings have chose two “workout warriors” already in this draft in Barr and McKinnon, who tested off the charts athletically, and if Vereen slips to them they could make it a third. Wouldn’t exactly be a bad story to have a Golden Gopher staying in Minnesota.
Enjoy the last day of the draft Vikings fans! As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/concerns/thoughts to me on Twitter @Goatman102!