The Vikings aren't slated to have a first-round pick in this year's draft, but there's plenty of speculation over who they will select when their No. 48 slot rolls around in Round 2.
NFL Media analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah on their "Move the Sticks" podcast went through all 32 teams and opined a "perfect pair" – the ideal top two picks – for each program.
Brooks and Jeremiah said a dynamic duo for Minnesota would be Florida safety Marcus Maye at No. 48 followed by Pittsburgh guard Dorian Johnson at No. 79. They wrote:
Maye is a physical tone-setter in the secondary.... The Vikings still need a guard to shore up their offensive line. Johnson is a mauler who does a great job of moving people off the ball.
The analysts also selected defensive backs for the Bears and Packers first picks off the board, with safety Jamal Adams (third overall) and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (36th) going to Chicago, and cornerback Kevin King (29th) and running back D'Onta Foreman (61st) headed to Green Bay. For the Lions, Brooks and Jeremiah said linebacker Jarrad Davis.
Coller on odds of impact player to Minnesota at No. 48
Just because the Vikings don't have a first-round pick in this year's draft, it doesn't mean that they won't be bringing in an impact player with their first selection.
Since Rick Spielman was named Vikings General Manager in 2012, Minnesota has drafted in the second round only twice: linebacker Eric Kendricks (2015), who immediately stepped in to play a significant role on the Vikings defense, and cornerback Mackensie Alexander last year.
Matthew Coller of ESPN 1500 used a chart from Arrowhead Pride that studied results from the past 10 drafts and broke down the chances that a team will land a starter in every round. Coller wrote:
Out of 314 second-round picks from 2005-2014, 60 made the Pro Bowl at least once, 29 made multiple Pro Bowls and 15 were first-team All-Pro. Into percentages, 19.1 [percent] of second-round picks made at least one Pro Bowl, 9.2 [percent] made multiple Pro Bowls and 4.7 [percent] became All-Pros.
Coller then delved specifically into five positions that he called "favorites" for the Vikings to target with their second-round pick: offensive line, tight end, wide receiver, defensive line and running back.
According to the chart breakdown, 70 percent of offensive linemen taken in the second round have been consistent starters for their teams.
In this year's draft, the consensus among draft "experts" is that offensive line is the weakest of all the positions, so that might give you pause when considering the 70% success rate. You figure that some years are higher, some are lower depending on strength at the position. Still, there are a handful of solid O-line prospects with second-round grades and several others like Alabama's Cam Robinson that have first-round grades but enough question marks to make a slide into the second round possible. So by the numbers and need, lineman is probably the best pick at 48.
The starting percentages – in the second round – for the other four positions Coller looked at were as follows: tight end, 50 percent; wide receiver, 49 percent; defensive line, 26 percent; running back, 25 percent.
Rudolph: 'I think our schedule lays out favorably'
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, entering his seventh season in Purple, recently engaged in a Q&A session with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand. Rudolph discussed his draft experience, whether or not he'll watch the draft this weekend, and reflecting on the 2016 season.
Rand also asked Rudolph to weigh in on the Vikings 2017 schedule, which was released on April 20.
"I look at the schedule and a number of things stick out personally: When is the bye week? When do we have a Thursday night game? Do we have any crazy potential weather games? Things like that," Rudolph told Rand. "As you go through our schedule, it starts out with more home games than away games, which will be good. That will give us the opportunity to get off to a great start and have a solid record going into the bye, which is exactly halfway into the year. I think our schedule lays out very favorably. It's cool to get to play on Thanksgiving, and I'm looking forward to that. Opening the season on Monday night at home is cool, too."