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Mock Madness 4.0: Expert Draft Predictions Range from O-Line to Corner

Posted Mar 20, 2018

EAGAN, Minn. — Forget March Madness, we’re all about Mock Madness.

The frenzy created by the opening days of free agency has passed. There still will be signings across the league, but teams also have their attention on the 2018 NFL Draft, which is 37 days away.

This is our fourth installment of Mock Madness, a look at who an array of experts forecast the Vikings to take with their first-round pick in 2018.

It is a culmination of a dozen recent predictions, but not necessarily the same ones. More than half of the experts went with an offensive linemen, but one-third of them projected a defensive player to Minnesota.

We’re leading this Mock Madness off with some fireworks, as one expert predicted Minnesota to trade up into the top 20 with the Seahawks.

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).

We’ll roll out this piece in another two weeks, and will then take a weekly look as the draft draws closer.

Our first Mock Madness can be found here.

Our second Mock Madness can be found here.

Our third Mock Madness can be found here.

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

CBS Sports’ R.J. White

March 20, 2018

TRADE ALERT: White has the Vikings trading up with Seattle to get the No. 18 overall pick.

The predicted pick at No. 18: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: The Seahawks have some rebuilding to do, but they have zero picks on Day 2. The Vikings don't have many needs, but one glaring one is guard. They can certainly sacrifice their second-rounder to move up and get one of the top-tier guards behind [Quenton] Nelson, and Hernandez and Isaiah Wynn are unlikely to make it to No. 30 with guard-needy teams like the Cowboys, Lions, Panthers and the Seahawks themselves ahead of Minnesota.

Click here for White’s full mock draft.

ESPN’s Todd McShay

March 7, 2018

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

The take: With [a starting QB] in place, there aren't a lot of holes on this roster. Minnesota had great success with 2017 third-round pick Pat Elflein, so they go back to the Buckeyes well here. Price tore his pec at the combine and underwent surgery, but he should be fine for training camp. He's an experienced starter with great character, and could be an immediate upgrade.

Click here for McShay’s full mock draft.

SB Nation’s Dan Kadar

March 19, 2018

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

The take: The main goals of the Vikings this offseason, according to general manager Rick Spielman, were to add an offensive coordinator (John DeFilippo), quarterback (Kirk Cousins), and under tackle (Sheldon Richardson). In the draft Minnesota can now turn to the offensive line, the team’s biggest glaring weakness.

Click here for Kadar’s full mock draft.

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks

March 20, 2018

The predicted pick: Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia

The take: The Vikings' brass could target Carter as an insurance policy against a potential Anthony Barr departure in free agency following the 2018 season.

Click here for Brooks’ full mock draft.

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

March 20, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

The take: New quarterback Kirk Cousins loves throwing to tight ends. Pairing Gesicki with Kyle Rudolph at TE should work well.

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

The predicted third-round pick: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State

Click here for Reuter’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Will Brinson

March 15, 2018

The predicted pick: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

The take: Corner isn't a need for the Vikings, but it takes time to learn Mike Zimmer's scheme for these defensive backs so they need to prep years in advance for an opening. Nice value here.

Click here for Brinson’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco

March 14, 2018

The predicted pick: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

The take: In a division with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford, you can never have enough corners. Plus, Terence Newman is coming to the end.

Click here for Prisco’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson

March 7, 2018

The predicted pick: Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma

The take: Brown definitely hurt his stock with his poor combine, but his game film remains impressive. The Vikings need help at tackle and Brown fits the bill, upgrading a unit that was replacement level in the running game last season.

Click here for Wilson’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin

March 16, 2018

The predicted pick: Kolton Miller, T, UCLA

The take: The Vikes just gave Kirk Cousins a boatload of money. The next step for them is ensuring he stays healthy and well-protected so that he can have as much success as possible. Miller dominated athletic testing at the combine and played really well at UCLA, and could be a great find for Minnesota up front.

Click here for Dubin’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso

March 20, 2018

The predicted pick: Kolton Miller, T, UCLA

Click here for Trapasso’s full mock draft.

Bleacher Report’s Paul Kasabian

March 18, 2018

The predicted pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

Click here for Kasabian’s full mock draft.

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly

March 20, 2018

The predicted pick: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The take: The Vikings already signed Sheldon Richardson to a one-year deal in free agency, but as we saw last year with the Eagles, there’s no such thing as having too many pass rushers. Bryan’s raw, but he’s an explosive athlete who could be special as a slicing interior penetrator.

Click here for Kelly’s full mock draft.