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Mock Madness 7.0: A Final Look at Vikings 1st-Round Projections

Posted Apr 24, 2018

EAGAN, Minn. — The wait is almost over, as the 2018 NFL Draft is just about here.

The annual offseason marquee event will be held from Thursday 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.

This is our seventh and final 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 20 recent predictions, most of which project the Vikings to beef up their offensive line. Of the 20 first-round projections, 13 have Minnesota taking an offensive lineman in the first round.

UTEP guard Will Hernandez (four times) and Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn (four times) were the two players most linked to the Vikings, while Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams were each listed twice.

There were seven linemen in all projected to land with Minnesota, while three cornerbacks, 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 six 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.

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

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr., and Todd McShay (Note: Kiper and McShay did an extended mock draft by alternating picks. Their first three Vikings picks are listed here).

April 20, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

The take: Jackson is a ball hawk (led nation with eight INTs) and would give Minnesota insurance if it doesn't want to give Trae Waynes big money or Mackensie Alexander doesn't develop.

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

The take: There are few holes on this roster, but guard (or right tackle if Mike Remmers moves inside) is one of them.

The predicted third-round pick: Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama

The take: With Jerick McKinnon gone and Dalvin Cook coming back, this would be a nice complement to a loaded offense.

Click here for the full mock draft by Kiper and McShay.

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 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 three-technique.

Click here for Tomasson’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: The 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.

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.

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.

SB Nation’s Dan Kadar 

April 23, 2018

The predicted pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

The take: If Wynn slips, the Vikings shouldn’t hesitate to pick him up at No. 30. Wynn can help protect the investment in Kirk Cousins and could play guard or tackle in the NFL.

Click here for Kadar’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.

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.

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.

Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Owens

April 18, 2018 

The predicted pick: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The take: The Vikings don’t have a lot of needs, but the retirement of Joe Berger has left a hole in the offensive line. A strong lineman who excels in run and pass protection, Hernandez projects as a Day 1 starter to protect Kirk Cousins and create holes for Dalvin Cook.

Click here for Owens’ 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.

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.

NFLDraftScout.com’s Dane Brugler

April 19, 2018

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

The take: If Hernandez is still available at this point in the draft, it would be a good mix of both answering a need and drafting the best player available for the Vikings.

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

The predicted third-round pick: Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State

Click here for Brugler’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.

NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang

April 19, 2018

The predicted first-round pick: Connor Williams, T, Texas

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. Williams has the frame and physical playing style to handle any of the four exterior positions, offering the team a lot of flexibility.

Click here for Rang’s full mock draft.

Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling

April 21, 2018

The predicted pick: Isaiah Oliver, CB, LSU

Click here for Roling’s full mock draft.