News | Minnesota Vikings – vikings.com

Experts Make Their Picks on What Vikings Will Do at No. 22 & 25

The Minnesota Vikings are set to pick twice in the first round when the 2020 NFL Draft kicks off with personnel departments, coaching staffs and prospects participating from thousands of remote locations on April 23.

The franchise has not made multiple picks in a first round since 2014, when the Vikings selected linebacker Anthony Barr and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Head Coach Mike Zimmer's first draft picks with Minnesota.

While the Vikings brass attack this year's unique draft environment, they will certainly have a lot weighing on their minds from a football standpoint.

Does General Manager Rick Spielman look to fill the void at wide receiver after trading Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills earlier this offseason for a haul that included the aforementioned 22nd overall pick in return?

Or will Minnesota look to add to the offensive line to protect newly extended quarterback Kirk Cousins after he was sacked 28 times last season.

These are just a few of the areas the organization will look to improve on throughout the three days with 12 total draft picks.

The Vikings also received a choice in the fifth round and sixth round, as well as a fourth-round pick in 2021 in the trade for Diggs.

Minnesota was awarded a third-round pick (the 105th overall selection), plus a pair of seventh-round selections (picks No. 249 and 253), as compensatory selections on March 10 based on free agents who left in the previous year.

Keep in mind Spielman is well-known for moving up and down the draft board through trades.

A record 40 draft-day trades happened across the league's draft last year, and Spielman played his part, negotiating six deals over two days. He has averaged four trades per draft since becoming GM in 2012 (32 total).

Looking at the previous four drafts with a first round pick, the team selected cornerback Trae Waynes in 2015, receiver Laquon Treadwell in 2016, cornerback Mike Hughes in 2018 and center Garrett Bradbury in 2019. Departures at corner and receiver this offseason have prompted experts to identify those positions as needs in the 2020 draft.

In anticipation of the NFL Draft, Vikings Entertainment Network has tracked down football minds locally and nationally asking them one question. What would you do with two first round picks if you were Rick Spielman?

Let's take a look at where the experts see the Vikings going with their pair of first round picks:

Vikings Radio Network's Ben Leber

Pick No. 22: Offensive Lineman

Tristan Wirfs, University of Iowa or Austin Jackson, USC

"Even though Wirfs blew up the combine and became this huge star because of showing off his athleticism, I think now that everyone is going to have the time to go back and look at the tape they will realize how good some of these other offensive tackles are. I don't think he is going to be taken as high as maybe they were thinking a week or two after the combine.

Pick No. 25: Cornerback

Jeff Gladney, TCU

"If I were to look at one particular player, I love Gladney," Leber said. "I think he gives you everything you would want as a fanbase, he's scrappy, he plays with an edge, he has lined up against the number one wide receiver week-in and week-out for TCU. He is going to be a true shutdown corner."

Vikings Radio Network's Pete Bercich

Pick No. 22: Offensive Line

"With four picks in the top 100, you have a real opportunity to add some serious firepower to this Vikings offense and defense," Bercich said. "In my opinion, the offensive line needs to be addressed. In this league the inside pass rushers have become so vital that a guard has become more and more important."

Pick No. 25: Cornerback

"If you look at Mike Zimmer's tenure here and the way guys have been able to develop," Bercich said. "Xavier Rhodes was a good corner here, and then Zimmer got here and he became a great one. I think with the other picks they have to find a way to get a guy like Antoine Winfield, Jr., on your squad. I love this kid. I coached when his dad played. He would be probably one of the best nickel defenders you are going to find."

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

Pick No. 22: Tackle

Andrew Thomas, University of Georgia

"It is hard to image anything more important than [tackle]," Rapoport said. "Andrew Thomas out of Georgia would be my selection. He is the only tackle that warrants a selection [in this range] just because of the run of tackles early. He may not be the most athletic guy in the world, but he's big and physical and can run block like crazy – something so important in Minnesota."

Pick No. 25: Defensive End

K'Lavon Chiaisson, LSU

"We know they have had a little bit of success with LSU pass rushers," Rapoport said. "I would say Danielle Hunter worked out just fine. How about K'Lavon Chiaisson? He is athletic, he's as fast as anything and if he is still there at 25, that is who I can see coming around the corner for the Vikings."

NFL Network's Steve Wyche

Pick No. 22: Defensive End

A.J. Epenesa, University of Iowa

"They have a lot of needs they have to address, and wide receiver looks the most glaring with the trade of Stefon Diggs," Wyche said. "I have them taking Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa. He's really good against the run, blue collar guy, hard worker but also very productive and tenacious."

Pick No. 25: Cornerback

Jaylon Johnson, Utah

"I think this is where they go corner," Wyche said. "If Utah's Jaylon Johnson is there, he is a perfect fit for Mike Zimmer's team, so I think they go defense with their first two picks."

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio

Picks No. 22 and No. 25: Offensive Line

"With two first round picks I'd say draft two offensive linemen and take the shot at finding at least one and maybe, if everything goes well, then two guys who can help keep Kirk Cousins upright long enough to find somebody wide open," Florio said. "When somebody is wide open or even kind of open, he will get the ball there. The problem is if he runs out of time, the ball is not going anywhere and Kirk Cousins is going down."

"Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen

Pick No. 22: Cornerback

"There is a myriad of options," Allen said. "Obviously, you can package a couple and go either way. If you identify a player in the teens, you can maneuver around there to get one individual player. Personally speaking, I am a fan of keeping both of those picks. How great would it be as a fan to have two draft picks in the first round?"

Pick No. 25: Offensive Lineman

"I feel that you can find a defensive lineman or a wide receiver somewhere in rounds 2, 3, 4 or whatever," Allen said.

Sirius XM's NFL Insider Adam Caplan

Pick No. 22: Wide Receiver

Jalen Reagor, TCU

"We have to know where exactly he's going to go, and he is going to go somewhere in the 20s and, at the latest, pick 31 to San Francisco," Caplan said. "Denzel Mims out of Baylor in the second round for the Vikings. I love this kid because he's got size. I also want a defensive end. That position is going to be tricky because it may not be there. The bottom line is the Vikings need a playmaking wide receiver who can run."

Pick No. 25: Cornerback

C.J. Henderson, University of Florida

"I know Vikings fans are going to say, 'What about offensive line?" Caplan said. "That's second or third round; it doesn't have to be what you are thinking."

The Athletic's Chad Graff

Pick No. 22: Defensive Tackle

Javon Kinlaw, University of South Carolina

"Kinlaw is a really good defensive tackle and perhaps the best interior defensive lineman coming out," Graff said. "We saw how good this defense could be when they had Sheldon Richardson rushing the passer."

Pick No. 25: Trade Back for Picks

"What I think the Vikings should do in this draft is use one of those picks to get a defensive player and then trade down after that and try to get as many picks in the top 100 as you can," Graff said. "There are some years where you have one glaring weakness. I think the Vikings have four positions that they should really try to address in this year's draft."

Zone Coverage's Sam Ekstrom

Pick No. 22: Cornerback

C.J. Henderson, University of Florida

"You've got multiple holes to fill at that position," Ekstrom said. "I like C.J. Henderson, the big corner out of Florida. He could be sort of the power forward that you had with Xavier Rhodes. He is 6-foot-one, 200 pounds, runs a 4.39 40. I like his physicality."

Pick No. 25: Defensive End

A.J. Epenesa, University of Iowa

"A lot of fans want the Vikings to go wide receiver, but I think you can get great value at wide receiver in the second , third and fourth round like former Gopher Tyler Johnson or Laviska Shenault (Colorado)," Ekstrom said. "I think you build up in the trenches with your second first round pick. You can go with maybe an A.J. Epenesa out of Iowa who plays of the edge."

The Vikings complete list of picks in the 2020 NFL Draft is below:

Round 1 (No. 22) from Buffalo

Round 1 (No. 25)

Round 2 (No. 58)

Round 3 (No. 89)

Round 3 (No. 105) compensatory

Round 4 (No. 132)

Round 5 (No. 155) from Buffalo

Round 6 (No. 201) from Buffalo

Round 6 (No. 205)

Round 7 (No. 219)

Round 7 (No. 249) compensatory

Round 7 (No. 253) compensatory

Mock Drafts

You can also view the many editions of the Vikings 2020 Mock Draft Trackers accumulated by Vikings.com's Eric Smith here.

Vikings Position Recaps

Vikings writers Craig Peters, Lindsey Young and Smith have also asked experts to give their opinions on position groups here.

Advertising