Mock Madness 3.0: Pre-Combine Projections for Vikings in 1st Round 

EAGAN, Minn. — The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is just days away, meaning the spotlight will soon intensify on hundreds of college draft prospects.

The Combine is the first big event of the offseason, and will be followed by free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft, which will be held in late April.

The Vikings currently have the No. 18 overall pick in the draft after going 8-7-1 and missing out on the playoffs in 2018.

What will Minnesota do at the 18th spot? The experts have weighed in.

This is our third installment of Mock Madness, a look at who an array of draft analysts forecast the Vikings to take with their first-round pick in 2019.

It is a culmination of 15 recent predictions, with the majority of experts projecting the Vikings to help out their offensive line with a first-round pick at that spot.

Our first Mock Madness can be found here.

Our second Mock Madness can be found here.

Here’s a look at our third Mock Madness of 2019:

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr.

Feb. 18, 2019

The predicted first-round pick: Jonah Williams, T/G, Alabama

Minnesota continues to be linked with offensive linemen in this draft, as free-agent signing Kirk Cousins was under heavy pressure in 2018 behind a makeshift line. The team could address the position in free agency and still have a need. Williams, who made 43 straight starts at tackle for the Crimson Tide, could move inside to guard. At 6-foot-5, 301 pounds, he doesn't have the long arms that NFL teams like for their left tackles, but he could be an elite guard.

Click here for Kiper’s full mock draft.

ESPN’s Todd McShay

Feb. 7, 2019

The predicted first-round pick: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

With the top three offensive linemen off the board — reaching for Ole Miss' Greg Little is a possibility but doubtful — Minnesota turns to defensive end here and grabs Sweat. Even though the Vikings have Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen (who is 31) off the edge, you can never have enough pass-rushers. Sweat impressed at the Senior Bowl and has some great takeoff quickness.

Click here for McShay’s full mock draft.

NFL.com’s Charley Casserly

Feb. 19, 2019

The predicted pick: Andre Dillard, T/G, Washington State

Athletic offensive lineman who can play left tackle or move inside to guard.

Click here for Casserly’s full mock draft.

NFL.com’s Maurice Jones-Drew

Feb. 12, 2019

The predicted pick: Greg Little, T, Mississippi

The Vikings paid Kirk Cousins a ton of money last offseason to elevate their offense, but a porous O-line never really gave him a chance. Fixing the unit up front will go a long way to getting this offense back on track.

Click here for Jones-Drew’s full mock draft.

Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski

Feb. 18, 2019

The predicted pick: Dalton Risner, T/G, Kansas State

The Minnesota Vikings offensive line requires an infusion of attitude and toughness.

“You can look at a lot of the statistics. But I think, quite honestly, this football team, in the four years that I'd been here, had that nasty, ‘We’re-going-to-win-no-matter-what-the-situation-is mentality,’ ” head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters after the Vikings’ 8-7-1 campaign came to an end. "I don't know that we had it this year.”

Zimmer wants a physical team. He didn’t get that last season from the offense. Play-calling became part of the reason behind the change. Inconsistent play from the offensive front didn’t help.

Guard, in particular, is an issue since Nick Easton and Tom Compton are free agents.

Kansas State's Dalton Risner started three years at right tackle after playing center as a freshman. Risner dominated. According to Pro Football Focus, the 6'5", 300-pound blocker finished second in overall grade among offensive tackles last season.

Risner is hard to beat in pass protection, but his nasty disposition in the running game is what the Vikings need. The team can slide him inside to guard to build a strong left side with tackle Riley Reiff and center Pat Elflein.

Click here for Sobleski’s full mock draft.

Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus

Feb. 5, 2019

The predicted pick: Cody Ford, T/G, Oklahoma

Ford allowed all of eight pressures his first year as a full-time starter and has the size to kick inside and dominate.

Click here for Renner’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli

Feb. 19, 2019

The predicted pick: Dalton Risner, T/G, Kansas State

The Vikings most significant problem has been its offensive line for the last couple of years, and Risner makes too much sense here. Maybe he sticks at tackle in the NFL, or perhaps he has to move inside. Either way, the Vikings can use him.

Click here for Fornelli’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ R.J. White

Feb. 11, 2019

The predicted pick: Cody Ford, T/G, Oklahoma

It's an offensive line run in the middle of the first round. There could be as many as seven O-linemen taken in the first round, as a surprisingly deep class meets a clear need around the league. Ford's best fit might be at guard, but whether he plays inside or at right tackle, he'll be a much needed reinforcement for Minnesota.

Click here for White’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso

Feb. 19, 2019

The predicted pick: Dalton Risner, T/G, Kansas State

It's hard to give the Vikings anything other than an offensive lineman in the first round. Risner can literally play anywhere up front for Minnesota, and he'd arguably be an upgrade to the player currently in that spot.

Click here for Trapasso’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson

Feb. 18, 2019

The predicted pick: Jawaan Taylor, T, Florida

Kirk Cousins was heavily criticized last season. Some of it was deserved while a lot of it had to do with the porous offensive line in front of him. Taylor is a monster in the run game, a surprisingly nuanced pass protector, and a player who can move into the starting lineup from Day 1.

Click here for Wilson’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin

Feb. 13, 2019

The predicted pick: Cody Ford, T/G, Oklahoma

The Vikings very badly need to address their offensive line issues, which undermined their entire season last year. Slotting Ford in up front starts that process.

Click here for Dubin’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Will Brinson

Feb. 6, 2019

The predicted pick: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Click here for Brinson’s full mock draft.

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco

Feb. 12, 2019

The predicted pick: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Sheldon Richardson, who started 16 games, is a free agent. Oliver is a smallish defensive tackle, but he can get up the field and push the pocket.

Click here for Prisco’s full mock draft.

Luke Easterling of DraftWire (four rounds; three listed here)

Feb. 19, 2019

The predicted first-round pick: Dalton Risner, T/G, Kansas State

This team has some dangerous offensive weapons and a capable quarterback, but the protection has to improve across the board. Risner’s experience and polish should make him an instant-impact player at the next level, and his versatility would make him an upgrade at multiple spots.

The predicted second-round pick (No. 50): Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas

The predicted third-round pick (No. 81): Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington

Click here for Easterling’s full mock draft.

Dan Kadar of SB Nation

Feb. 18, 2019

The predicted pick: Andre Dillard, T/G, Washington State

Minnesota’s problems on the offensive line are well known. … Dillard is a smooth edge blocker who should have a nice week at the combine.

Click here for Kadar’s full mock draft.

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