Lots of eyes are on Mel Kiper's three-round mock draft.
The ESPN analyst recently released the full three-round projection, and in it he predicts a cornerback to the Vikings in Round 1, followed by offensive linemen in Rounds 2 and 3.
Kiper mocked Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson to Minnesota at No. 30 overall. He said that "offensive line makes sense in the first round for the Vikings" but added that he didn't have a tackle or guard left at No. 30 who was a first-round talent. Kiper wrote:
So I moved on to the next-biggest need, which is corner. The Vikings are set at both starting spots, but we still haven't seen enough from former second-round pick Mackensie Alexander to know if he's a quality NFL player. Jackson, who led the FBS with eight interceptions last season, was tremendous in his lone season as a starter.
The Vikings are slated to have the 62nd and 94th overall picks, and Kiper projected Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown and Appalachian State guard Colby Gossett, respectively.
Kiper acknowledged a poor performance by Brown at the NFL Scouting Combine but said his Oklahoma Pro Day showing was better, and "at some point you have to trust the tape."
He was dominant protecting Baker Mayfield's blind side for three years, and he's a monster in the run game. He's probably going to have to play right tackle in the NFL. Gossett is an under-the-radar gem who started 46 straight games at right guard for the Mountaineers.
NFL.com opines guard as Vikings biggest need heading into draft
Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com took a look at each NFC team and identified "the biggest question" for each club heading into the 2018 draft. For the Vikings, Bergman said that Minnesota's focus early on should be targeting a guard. He wrote:
Protect Captain Kirk at all costs.* That mantra should be printed on inspirational posters and plastered on every wall in Minnesota's new Eagan complex … Cousins is the Minnesota Vikings for the next three years, so any and all resources further acquired should be used to keep him upright. With their tackles signed through 2021, Minnesota should look to draft the best guard available – and trade up to get one if necessary. *
And what about the Vikings NFC North rivals?
Regarding Chicago, Bergman asked, "How closely will Ryan Pace follow the Rams playbook?" The Bears general manager has followed a similar pattern that the Rams did last year with Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff – hiring a new head coach and surrounding young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with more weapons.
But where will Ryan Pace find his version of Andrew Whitworth, a bacon-saving offensive lineman? Chicago will keep its fingers crossed that the top of the draft is as QB-heavy as advertised, and somehow Quenton Nelson, arguably the draft's top talent, falls to No. 8.
Bergman said the Lions need to bolster support for franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, with the addition of a skill position player or offensive lineman.
According to Bergman, the biggest question facing the Packers is how new General Manager Brian Gutekunst will approach the draft after signing Muhammad Wilkerson and Jimmy Graham in free agency.
[Will] he continue the Cheesehead tradition of successfully building through the draft? Partially due to injury, Green Bay's defensive selections from last year haven't borne fruit quite yet, so Gutekunst wouldn't be blamed for tapping another rookie defensive back. After the initial run of corners and safeties at the end of the top 10, [additional] secondary options like Mike Hughes and Josh Jackson will likely be available for Green Bay at No. 14.