The Vikings are currently slated to make their first draft pick of 2017 tonight at No. 48, and a number of interesting prospects remain on the board following Round 1.
Tim Yotter of *Viking Update *took a look at the players that mock drafts leading up to Thursday have predicted the Vikings to take in Round 2, and all but one are still available. Yotter said that only one prospect was twice listed by mock drafts as going to Minnesota at No. 48. He wrote:
That player was Indiana offensive lineman Dan Feeney, who would likely project as a guard for the Vikings if they picked him with the No. 48 overall selection. The highest he was picked in the 212 versions of the 52 mocks used in the Mock Draft Muncher – a total of 8,288 picks recorded – was 24th overall, and the lowest was 66th. His average draft position was 43.86, making his availability and value relatively close to Minnesota's 48th pick.
Offensive linemen Pat Elflein and Antonio Garcia were also among second-round picks opined for the Vikings, in addition to players on the other side of the ball.
Three defensive tackles – Michigan State's Malik McDowell, Florida's Caleb Brantley and Oklahoma State's Vincent Taylor – were among the picks projected to Minnesota at 48. Also on the defensive side of the ball were Florida LB Jarrad Davis, Kansas State LB Jordan Willis, and safeties Justin Evans (Texas A&M) and Josh Jones (NC State).
Davis was drafted by the NFC North division rivals at No. 21 overall.
Zimmer still grateful for 2016 Bradford trade
The Vikings didn't have a first-round draft pick Thursday night after trading it to Philadelphia last year to obtain quarterback Sam Bradford just before the season.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the exchange was well worth it. Zimmer spoke with Sid Hartman of the *Star Tribune *this week and said he was glad the Vikings weren't in a situation to try drafting a starting quarterback this year.
"I think if we had to use it on a quarterback this year, that would really put us in a bind," Zimmer told Hartman. "We just figured that's part of the business. We have the extra third-round and the extra fourth-round pick, and I'm sure [General Manager Rick Spielman] will do some negotiating and move around a little bit."
Zimmer said the possibility of trading up or down during the draft can never be ruled out.
"There's a possibility [of a trade]," Zimmer said. "That's why Rick likes to have a lot of picks, so that we can move around a little bit. If we see a player we like we can go up and get him, or if there's not somebody we're really in love with when we're picking, we can move back down and try to get some more picks."
Will Lynch have Cunningham-like return?
With all the buzz surrounding Marshawn Lynch's return to the gridiron in 2017, ESPN's Kevin Seiffert reminded that he's not the first player to make a comeback after sitting out a season.
In a list ranking five of the "most notable efforts to return from retirement," Seiffert pegged former Vikings quarterback Randall Cunningham at No. 1. He wrote:
*Cunningham had the best season of his career after retiring (for the first time). His career appeared over in 1995 when, at age 32, he received almost no interest on the free-agent market. So Cunningham retired, moved home to Las Vegas and operated a granite and marble shop. But Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green convinced him to resume his career as a backup in 1997. When starter Brad Johnson was injured in 1998, Cunningham took over and led the team to an overall 15-1 record (13-1 in Cunningham's starts) with an MVP-caliber season, throwing for 3,704 yards and 34 touchdowns. *
Seiffert also included Deion Sanders, Ricky Williams, Bronko Nagurski and Steve DeBerg, who signed with the Falcons in 1998 at the age of 44. DeBerg had last been with a team in 1993.* *