5 options for the Vikings in first round of the draft - Post Bulletin

5 options for the Vikings in first round of the draft – Post Bulletin

The Minnesota Vikings currently hold the No. 12 pick in the first round of the NFL draft and they should have a lot of options and opportunities of what to do with the pick.

As it stands, the Vikings currently have eight picks in the seven-round draft. They traded away their pick in the fourth round and have three picks in the sixth round.

The Vikings have a new general manager in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach in Kevin O’Connell. The team has needs on both sides of the ball and it is uncertain what path the new management team will take. But here are five moves with predictions and scenarios that could play out in the first round (Thursday, 7 p.m., ABC, NFL Network, ESPN).

An elite cornerback appears to be the Vikings’ No. 1 need. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. are two corners who should be able to start right away. But both players are trending as top-10 picks and are very likely to be gone by the time the Vikings pick.

Safety Kyle Hamilton could be one of the best players in the draft and he could be on the board at No. 12. Two other cornerbacks worth a look if the Vikings stay at No. 12 are short-armed Trent McDuffie and Andrew Booth Jr.

Bold move: The Vikings identify Gardner or Stingley as a must-have player and trade up to get their man.

Most likely: The Vikings don’t have the draft capital or the desire to move up to pick a cornerback. There is no trade up for a defensive back.

The Vikings have used a first- or second-round draft pick just once in the past 15 years to select a defensive lineman. They have, however, been fortunate to hit on a few stellar picks in the middle rounds in that span (namely Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffin).

The team is switching to a 3-4 defense and that could change some draft thinking. Edge rushers Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux should be long gone by the time the Vikings pick, as should massive defensive tackle Travon Walker.

The Vikings may have concerns over Hunter’s health or contract demands, or just might want another pass-rushing option if an elite player is available. Minnesota native Jermaine Johnson II or George Karlaftis could be options and both should be available.

Bold move: The Vikings feel that pressing the quarterback is the best option and they select Johnson II.

Most likely: None of the premium edge rushers the Vikings like are still on the board and they pass on a defensive lineman.

There are three very good offensive tackles who could be off the board by the time the Vikings pick. The Vikings should hope that all three are selected, that means other players at positions of greater need will be available. The Vikings need help at center and guard and should select a player at that spot at some point in the draft, but not with the No. 12 pick.

Bold move: Even though it’s not a position of need, a top offensive tackle falls to the Vikings and they take the best player available.

Most likely: The Vikings wait to address the position of center and/or guard later in the draft.

The Vikings are in a nice position in the draft at No. 12. They are high enough to trade up a few positions without having to pay too hefty of a price. And they are also in a slot where other teams may wish to trade up to grab a player.

The prospect of trading up seems most unlikely. The Vikings have a number of needs and since they are missing a fourth-round pick, they don’t have any spare draft capital this year to move up.

Trading down is a very strong possibility, however. The Vikings might not like the players available to them at No. 12. They could find a willing trade partner and gain some premium extra picks in the process. A trade back would be very luring if the Vikings can still stay in the first round this year and pick up a No. 1 choice in 2023 in the deal.

Bold move: The Vikings make a big splash, trade up and grab the player they covet.

Most likely: The Vikings trade down, still stay in the first round, and add extra draft picks.

The quarterback situation

This isn’t supposed to be a great draft class for quarterbacks, but this position could have a huge impact on the Vikings.

There are always teams desperate for a QB who will either draft one too high or pay too much to move up and select “their guy.”

If two quarterbacks are selected before the Vikings pick, that’s good news. That means other strong players have dropped and the Vikings could get a player they highly value. Or if a QB that someone else covets is still on the board, they could trade back. The Steelers, who have picked No. 20, need a QB and could be willing to trade up.

Bold move: This could be the boldest of moves, a QB like Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett is on the board at pick 12. And the Vikings swing for the fence and take their QB of the future.

More likely: If either Willis or Pickett is still available, the Vikings trade back for extra picks.

A wild card not mentioned yet? There are a lot of high-end wide receivers in the draft. It’s not a position of desperate need, but the Vikings might have a chance at a big-time receiver at No. 12. A player such as Jameson Williams, Drake London or Garrett Wilson might be very tempting.

There is depth at wide receiver in this draft, so if the Vikings select one, it will be after the first round.

Final decision: Cornerbacks Gardner and Stingley Jr. are off the board at No. 12. A quarterback-needy team behind the Vikings — either the Saints with picks No. 16 and 19 or the Steelers with pick No. 20 — offers a deal. The Vikings trade back for the second straight year, add an extra pick or two, and land CB Trent McDuffie.

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