There is a long way to go until the 2015 NFL Draft gets here. Pro days, free agency, heck even the Combine hasn't happened yet. All of those occasions influence what NFL teams will do in the draft. It may seem like a fruitless exercise to speculate on which players will go to which teams, but sometimes the first guess is the best guess.
With the Combine literally hours away from starting, here's a look five college prospects who may fit well with the Vikings at No. 11 in this year's draft.
1. WR DeVante Parker (Louisville)Want to surround Teddy Bridgewater with another playmaker? This year's draft class has some options, particularly at WR. The consensus is that Alabama's Amari Cooper is the cream of the crop and will not be on the board when the Vikings select in the first round. But the next man up may actually be a better fit. DeVante Parker would quickly feel at home in Minnesota because he'd be catching passes from his former college quarterback. Bridgewater and Parker teamed up for 28 touchdowns over three seasons at Louisville. The a 6-3, 208-pound Parker added six more scores as a senior and would likely welcome another opportunity to suit up with Bridgewater. Other possibilities at WR at No. 11 for the Vikings could include Missouri's Dorial Green-Beckham, Michigan's Devin Funchess and Ohio State's Devin Smith.
2. OT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)The need to protect Bridgewater along with a litany of injuries to the position in 2014 has led many to believe that offensive line is what the Vikings will address with this year's first-round pick. NFL.com's Charles Davis falls in line with that thinking, pegging Iowa OT Brandon Scherff as the Vikings choice at No. 11. The 6-5, 320-pound lineman was the Outland Trophy winner last year and scouts say he could play guard or tackle at the next level. A quick scan at other mock drafts across the internet will show other OTs as future Vikings – Pittsburgh's TJ Clemmings, LSU's La'el Collins, Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi and Stanford's Andrus Peat. Generally, the thinking here is not to replace either LT Matt Kalil or RT Phil Loadholt, but to use the rookie inside at OG for the time being or perhaps slide Loadholt inside and play the rookie at RT.
3. CB Trae Waynes (Michigan State)In today's pass-happy NFL, you can never have too many good CBs. And that is especially the case in the NFC North, where the Vikings will be contending with Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and all of those talented WR corps in 2015. The good news is most draft prognosticators have this year's top CB still available for the Vikings at No. 11. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has Michigan State's Trae Wayneslisted as his top CB and as the 12th-rated player overall in the class. Waynes is listed at 6-1, 182 pounds, giving him plus-size for his position, and the following sentence is the first in the summary section of his NFL.com profile page: "He's a bump-and-run cornerback with the length, deep speed and confidence to handle himself down the field against speed."
4. LB Benardrick McKinney (Mississippi State)Might the Vikings add another elite prospect at the LB position in 2015? They did it last year with Anthony Barr, and some are suggesting they do it again with Mississippi State's Benardrick McKinney. He would likely play middle LB in the Vikings defense and his addition has the potential to give the Vikings two elite players at the position for many years to come.
5. Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin)The Vikings haven't had to worry about drafting a RB since 2007 when they selected Adrian Peterson at No. 7 overall and he proceeded to rewrite the Vikings and NFL record books. The team is hopeful Peterson will man the backfield once again in 2015, but taking a playmaker such as Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon at No. 11 would provide the club with Peterson insurance while also giving Bridgewater another dynamic weapon to utilize in Norv Turner's offense. Gordon is the No. 10-rated prospect on Jeremiah's board and he had an astonishing 29 rushing touchdowns this past season while also averaging 7.5 yards per carry.