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30 Final Projections for Vikings at Pick No. 30

Posted Apr 26, 2018


EAGAN, Minn. — We are just hours away from the 2018 NFL Draft. 

The annual offseason marquee event will be held today through Saturday at AT&T Stadium. It will be the first draft to occur in Texas and the first to be hosted by an NFL Stadium.

We have done seven installments of Mock Madness, looking at who experts’ forecast the Vikings to take with their first-round pick in 2018.

We will conclude the pre-draft process with a culmination of 30 recent predictions, most of which project the Vikings to beef up their offensive line. Of the 30 first-round projections, 22 have Minnesota taking an offensive lineman in the first round.

UTEP guard Will Hernandez (seven times) and Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn (five times) were the two players most linked to the Vikings, while Arkansas center Frank Ragnow was listed three times.

Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Iowa center James Daniels and Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams were each listed twice.

There were seven linemen in all projected to land with Minnesota, while two cornerbacks, two defensive linemen, a tight end and a safety were also predicted to be taken by the Vikings.

After reaching the NFC Championship, Minnesota has the 30th overall pick. The Vikings didn’t have a first-round pick in 2017, but still found exceptional talent with their first two picks (running back Dalvin Cook in the second round and center Pat Elflein in the third round).

Here are the previous seven editions of Mock Madness:

Our first Mock Madness can be found here.

Our second Mock Madness can be found here.

Our third Mock Madness can be found here.

Our fourth Mock Madness can be found here.

Our fifth Mock Madness can be found here.

Our sixth Mock Madness can be found here.

Our seventh Mock Madness can be found here.

Here’s a look at our seventh Mock Madness of 2018:

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock

April 25, 2018

The predicted pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: You want to talk about a road grader with an edge? He doesn't like people, and he finishes. His feet are better than people think.

Click here for Mayock’s full mock draft.

ESPN’s Todd McShay

April 26, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Frank Ragnow, C/G, Arkansas

The take: My second-ranked center, Ragnow has been a fast riser the past couple of weeks. A three-year starter at Arkansas, he has versatility and the toughness to start right away. The Vikings could plug him in at center or guard and check off one of their needs.

Click here for the McShay’s mock draft.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr.

April 26, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: James Daniels, C/G, Iowa

The take: I thought about cornerback for Minnesota's already-loaded defense, but Daniels fits a need as a plug-and-play guard.

Click here for Kiper’s full mock draft.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah

April 26, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

The take: The Vikings upgrade the interior of their OL to protect Kirk Cousins.

Click here for Jeremiah’s full mock draft.

NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks

April 26, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

The take: The Vikings shore up the biggest weakness on their roster by adding a versatile lineman with a polished game.

Click here for Brooks’ full mock draft.

NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein

April 26, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: This isn't a sexy pick, but with Dalvin Cook coming back from injury, Hernandez is the type of blocker they need for the running game.

Click here for Zierlein’s full mock draft.

The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Peter King

April 23, 2018

The predicted pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: The Vikings can plug holes here rather than seek the best available player, regardless of position. The guard group for Minnesota is its biggest weakness (possible starters: Nick Easton, Tom Compton), and Hernandez, many scouts think, is a plug-and-play day one starter with the kind of mean streak in the running game that will make him an immediate favorite of the pugnacious Mike Zimmer. I love this pick for them.

Click here for King’s full mock draft.

1500ESPN.com’s Matthew Coller (Note: Coller did an extended mock draft. His first three Vikings picks are listed here).

April 18, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

The take: Goedert is an outstanding receiving tight end who was compared by NFL.com to Zach Ertz. He is a vertical threat with great hands, size and athleticism. Goedert also has the potential to become a solid blocker. Adding him to the mix with [Kyle] Rudolph can give Kirk Cousins a similar look to Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed in D.C. or Trey Burton/Ertz in Philly.


The predicted second-round pick: Brian O’Neill, T, Pittsburgh

The take: O’Neill still needs some work with technique and did not have a great Senior Bowl, so there are some concerns, but he could begin his career at guard if he isn’t ready to play tackle and fit right into the Vikings’ zone blocking scheme.

The predicted third-round pick: B.J. Hill, DT, North Carolina State

The take: If Jaleel Johnson is going to serve as depth behind Sheldon Richardson, Hill would slide in as a backup (or rotational) nose tackle. The Vikings lost Shamar Stephen in the offseason to the Seahawks, opening up a spot for a run stuffer. Hill ranked in the top 20 in the class per PFF in Run Stop Percentage. He did not produce much as a pass rusher, but had an excellent Senior Bowl week.

Click here for Coller’s full mock draft.

The Star Tribune’s Mark Craig

April 23, 2018

The predicted pick: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

The take: Sets up the likelihood that the Vikings open the season with four first-rounders under 30 starting in the secondary.

Click here for Craig’s full mock draft.

The Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling (Note: Goessling did an extended mock draft. His first three Vikings picks are listed here).

April 24, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

The take: Sheldon Richardson is only signed for a year, the Vikings need more standout players in the middle of their line and Hurst, if he’s still on the board, could make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. 

The predicted second-round pick: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State

The take: Pat Elflein’s former college teammate could fall because of the pectoral injury he suffered at the NFL combine. If the Vikings get him here, he can line up at guard next to his friend.

The predicted third-round pick: Dante Pettis, WR, Washington

The take: He’d give them an athletic young slot receiver who also posted impressive numbers as a punt returner in college.

Click here for Goessling’s full mock draft.

The Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson

April 23, 2018

The predicted pick: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

The take: Hurst was diagnosed with a heart issue that sidelined him for the combine before he was cleared to participate in Michigan’s pro day. Prior to his diagnosis, Hurst was a possible top-15 pick, but now he could fall to the Vikings, who need depth at 3-technique.

Click here for Tomasson’s full mock draft.

NFL.com’s Charles Davis

April 24, 2018

The predicted pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: The Vikings' OL lost some depth in the off-season, and could use a fresh starter at guard. Few prospects had a better postseason, from the Reese's Senior Bowl through the combine, than Hernandez.

Click here for Davis’ full mock draft.

NFL.com’s Chad Reuter (Note: Reuter did an extended mock draft and his first three Vikings picks are listed here).

April 20, 2018 

The predicted first-round pick: Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame

The take: Bringing in competition at both offensive tackle spots would be a good thing for a team that needs to protect its new quarterback, Kirk Cousins.

The predicted second-round pick: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State

The predicted third-round pick: Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Central Florida

Click here for Reuter’s full mock draft.

NFL.com’s Curtis Conway

April 23, 2018

The predicted pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

The take: The Vikings don't have a glaring need heading into the draft, but you can never go wrong adding more protection for your new franchise quarterback.

Click here for Conway’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso

April 23, 2018

The predicted pick: Kolton Miller, T, UCLA

The take: Miller has a game reminiscent of Nate Solder and can be a high-end pass-protector once he adds some strength. This is a shrewd pick after the big signing of Kirk Cousins this offseason.

Click here for Trapasso’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ R.J. White

April 18, 2018

The predicted pick: Frank Ragnow, C/G, Arkansas

The take: The Vikings make bolstering the offensive line the key focus of this draft, starting with Ragnow. He should start immediately at center or guard, and while this pick could be perceived as a bit of a reach, he could quickly emerge as a leader on the offensive line.

Click here for White’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco

April 19, 2018

The predicted pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

The take: They could move Mike Remmers back to right tackle if they were to take Wynn, who is coming off a shoulder injury.

Click here for Prisco’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson 

April 18, 2018

The predicted pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

The take: The Vikings need help at tackle but Wynn is too good to pass up here, and he'll bolster the interior line of a unit that was replacement-level in the running game last season.

Click here for Wilson’s full mock draft.

NFLDraftScout.com’s Dane Brugler

April 26, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: The Vikings would like to address the trenches with this pick, either on the offensive or defensive line. Hernandez is a mauler in the run game, and it won't take him long to push for a starting role at guard.

Click here for Brugler’s full mock draft.

NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang

April 26, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: The retirement of longtime starting right guard Joe Berger further muddies the offensive line charged with protecting splashy free agent signee Kirk Cousins. Hernandez plays with the physicality and dependability that head coach Mike Zimmer looks for in his players.

Click here for Rang’s full mock draft.

SB Nation’s Dan Kadar

April 26, 2018

The predicted pick: Connor Williams, T, Texas

The take: Williams was one of Minnesota’s pre-draft visits and would give the Vikings a player who can start his career at guard and eventually move outside to tackle.

Click here for Kadar’s full mock draft.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller 

April 26, 2018

The predicted pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: Why not take the big, mean, nasty, throwback offensive guard to open up rushing lanes for Dalvin Cook and keep quarterback Kirk Cousins' jersey clean?

That's the thought process behind this pick. The Vikings paid record-setting money to Cousins and should protect that investment. In a short amount of time last year, Cook showed he can be a game-changing running back. Adding Hernandez only makes this offense better.

The Vikings could go a number of ways, including an offensive tackle or a defensive back, but continuing to build the offense is the smartest way to attack this offseason.

Click here for Miller’s full mock draft.

Bleacher Report’s Dour Farrar

April 23, 2018

The predicted pick: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

The take: Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is in an enviable position — when you look at his team from position to position, it's tough to find a glaring weakness. And with the addition of quarterback Kirk Cousins — assuming Cousins can be lifted in performance by new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo — the Vikings have the look of a Super Bowl contender. As such, Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer can hang back and take the best player on their board with very little worry about specific need.

The transition between slot cornerback Terence Newman, who will turn 40 in September, and Mackensie Alexander, who has come on well in performance but it still putting it all together, should make for interesting discussion in the Vikings' draft room. If they stay at this pick instead of trading down, it would be fascinating to see what Donte Jackson would look like in a defense that is already stacked from front to back.

The 5'10", 178-pounder, who ran a hand-timed 4.28 and official 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine, plays that fast on the field and has excelled at outside cornerback, slot defender and free safety. Some may think it's a luxury pick, but when you've built your team as well as the Vikings, luxury picks can turn into indispensable players pretty quickly.

Click here for Farrar’s full mock draft.

The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk

April 24, 2018

The predicted pick: Connor Williams, T, Texas

The take: The Vikings don’t have many pressing needs, but upgrading at guard and getting depth at cornerback are two possibilities. A trade-down is possible here as there are many quality targets at those two spots, but I’ll say they grab Williams, who can start his career at guard with the ability to move to tackle later on, or in case of injury to Riley Reiff or Mike Remmers.

Click here for The Big Lead’s full mock draft.

NFL.com’s Peter Schrager (Note: Schrager did an extended mock draft and his first three Vikings picks are listed here).

April 25, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

The take: The Vikings add another piece to a defense that ranked No. 1 in the league last season. Vander Esch doesn't have a ton of tape beyond this past season, but it was an awfully impressive season in 2017. The Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Year dominated his conference, and in the nationally televised Las Vegas Bowl, he recorded 12 tackles, including 3 for a loss (one sack) and a forced fumble.

The predicted second-round pick: Braden Smith, G, Auburn

The predicted third-round pick: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State 

Click here for Scharger’s full mock draft.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin

April 24, 2018

The predicted pick: Frank Ragnow, C/G, Arkansas

The take: It's possible the Vikings end up trading down with a quarterback-needy team eyeing their selection at 30. If they stay put, the 30th overall pick is essentially a second-round pick by virtue. Guard is the most pressing need for Minnesota entering the draft. While the Vikings certainly can fill that void when they pick in the second round given the strength of this year's class, a player such as Ragnow will be "so far gone" at that point, as one league source put it. Injuries have been a problem on the interior between Nick Easton and Pat Elflein, so going after a player with a similar build and potential durability issues is likely something the Vikings want to avoid. The elite offensive lines that run similar blocking schemes feature players that look like Lane Johnson. That's what Minnesota wants. Ragnow's 6-foot-5 frame and tremendous length is a huge sell for the Vikings as they look for Joe Berger's replacement at right guard. Ragnow was ranked one of the top centers in the draft but has the ability to swing over to guard and fill in as a Day 1 starter.

Click here for ESPN’s full mock draft.

The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer

April 25, 2018

The predicted pick: Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame

The take: The Vikings have had some major Fighting Irish hits in recent years with Kyle Rudolph and Harrison Smith. McGlinchey has a varied value in the first round depending on whom you ask, but Minnesota is not as set on the offensive line as much as you think. McGlinchey could start right away at right tackle and allow the team to put Mike Remmers in a more comfortable position at guard.

Click here for Iyer’s full mock draft.

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly

April 25, 2018

The predicted pick: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The take: Bryan didn’t have the production you’d hope for in a first-round pick (just 5.5 sacks in three seasons), but he does have something every defensive line coach covets: elite first-step explosiveness. With Sheldon Richardson on a one-year deal, the Vikings need to invest in the future at the interior defensive line; Bryan’s a bit of a bull in a china shop as a pass rusher, but he’s got the athletic ability to develop into a productive player.

Click here for Kelly’s full mock draft.

Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms

April 25, 2018

The predicted pick: James Daniels, C/G, Iowa

The take: The Minnesota Vikings are another team without many glaring needs. The biggest thing they should address is the interior offensive line. The Vikings aren't especially weak there, but Joe Berger's retirement does create a hole.

This is why it makes sense to add Iowa's James Daniels. While Daniels primarily played center in college, he did play some guard and appears willing to play the position in the NFL.

Daniels is a phenomenal player. He has an explosive first step and great hand usage, and he's a force at the point of attack. He is easily one of the top interior linemen in the draft, and he got a lot of useful experience playing in Iowa's pro-style offense.

I'd rather move Daniels to guard, then add another remaining guard or experiment with moving a guy like Isaiah Wynn from tackle to guard. Adding him would plug one of the few holes Minnesota has.

Click here for Simms’ full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Will Brinson

April 24, 2018

The predicted pick: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

The take: The Vikings like to draft cornerbacks early and then bring them along in Mike Zimmer's program slowly, letting them develop at the right time.

Click here for Brinson’s full mock draft.