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Mock Madness 1.0

Posted Mar 10, 2011

The blitz of conference tournament and NCAA tournament games in March has allowed college basketball to cement the term “March Madness” into the collective minds of sports fans across America.

So for the 4th consecutive year, vikings.com will piggyback off that and run another “Mock Madness” series in the weeks leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft.

Though the draft is still several weeks away, now is the time to speculate about which teams will take which players. Will the Panthers take a QB with the 1st overall pick? Or will new head coach Ron Rivera pick a defensive player? Which highly-regarded players will slide and who will be the surprise early selection? Most importantly, who will the Vikings take with pick #12?

While no one can provide a concrete answer to those questions just yet, plenty of NFL followers will certainly take a guess. And instead of spending an endless amount of time searching the internet for ideas on what will be available when the Vikings are on the clock, you can check vikings.com every Thursday to get an update on what everyone is projecting.

Without further ado, here is Mock Madness 1.0!

NFL.com – Pat Kirwan
Many expect the Vikings to select a QB at some point in this year’s draft, but Kirwan projects the Vikings will address a position that protects the QB with their 1st-round pick. Kirwan tabs OT Nate Solder as the Vikings pick, citing a need to eventually replace Bryant McKinnie.

NFL.com – Charles Davis
Davis and Kirwan couldn’t even agree on who would be the #1 pick (Kirwan says Da’Quan Bowers, Davis says Cam Newton), so it’s no surprise they don’t have the same projection for the Vikings at #12. Davis goes on the defensive side for the Vikings, projecting DE Adrian Clayborn as the team’s pick.

ESPN.com – Mel Kiper, Jr., Todd McShay
ESPN’s pair of draftniks don’t often agree on much, but they do agree (for now) on whom the Vikings will select at #12. In their most recent mock drafts, both project DE Robert Quinn as the selection. Kiper, Jr. says McShay is “literally a guy who some might consider a potential No. 1 overall pick” and is “too much to pass up at this position in the draft.”

SI.com – Don Banks
Sports Illustrated’s
Don Banks isn’t messing around with defensive players or offensive linemen who might not start as rookies. He goes straight to the position most Vikings fans want their team to address with pick #12 – QB. Banks predicts Jake Locker will be the Vikings selection, saying the “The Vikings seem intrigued with the ex-Washington star and with only Joe Webb on their QB depth chart, they're definitely motivated to snatch up the draft's third-rated passer.”

CBSsports.com – Rob Rang, Chad Reuter
We’ll follow a pair of writers from this outlet during draft season. Rang sides with SI.com’s Don Banks in saying the Vikings will take a QB with pick #12, but he thinks it’ll be someone not named Locker. Instead, Rang forecasts Ryan Mallett as the pick. Rang says of the pick: “They've shown a willingness to gamble on character concerns before, have strong leaders in the locker room and have the talent at the skill positions and along the offensive line to protect a young quarterback.” Reuter, on the other hand, thinks the Vikings will take a QB protector with pick #12. Tyron Smith is his projection, saying something very similar to what NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan said about taking Solder.

NationalFootballPost.com – Wes Bunting
If Bunting’s projection becomes reality on draft day, I can’t wait to see the reaction of Vikings fans. There are mixed feelings from observers on whether Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton will be the first QB off the board, but there isn’t much doubt anywhere that both of them will be gone in the top 10. Bunting apparently doubts it, though, because his projection for the Vikings 1st-round pick is Gabbert. “The Vikings have a gaping hole at the QB position,” Bunting says, “and with a signal caller like Gabbert still on the board, he might be too good to pass up.”

Check back next week for more Mock Madness!