ESPN draft expert Todd McShay released his "Grade: A" Mock Draft on Tuesday.
McShay projected each team's pick through the first three rounds, giving the Vikings a mix of offense and defense.
McShay has Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller going to the Vikings at No. 23 and LSU linebacker Deion Jones coming to Minnesota with the 54th pick. Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington rounds out the group at No. 86.
*Analysis: Fuller blazed the second-fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine this year (4.32). On tape, he's a vertical burner who is always a threat to rip off a big play (20.3 yards per catch last season). The Vikings could use more playmakers like that to assist with QB Teddy Bridgewater's development. Washington was dominant at the Senior Bowl, showing good first-step quickness off the ball for his size (6-3, 301). He slipped here after a surprisingly poor combine performance, but he's skilled enough to develop into an every-down NFL starting DT.*
Vikings returning defensive core
The Vikings are keeping the (defensive) band together.
Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com looked at how Minnesota's decision to re-sign most of its free agents means the Vikings will field almost the exact same defense as they did during the 2015 season.
During the roster overhaul when Mike Zimmer and his staff took over in 2014, they made the defense younger and have since focused primarily on drafting and continuity. While the Vikings made five additions in the first eight days of free agency, including three on defense, even more deals were done with their own players.
Ten of the Vikings' 14 unrestricted free agents re-signed. Linebacker Chad Greenway, who officially re-signed on a one-year deal Monday, became the seventh defender to ink a new contract, joining cornerback Terence Newman, safety Andrew Sendejo, nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, linebacker Audie Cole, cornerback Marcus Sherels and defensive end Justin Trattou. And a multi-year extension is expected for stalwart 27-year-old safety Harrison Smith.
Specifically, the Vikings have retained 96.4 percent of snaps from last year's fifth-ranked scoring defense, according to snap counts by Football Outsiders. Last year, the Vikings topped all teams in defensive snaps retained (94 percent). The strategy seemed to work, as a defense boasting six former first-round picks improved to one of the league's best in key situations like red zone and third downs.
Zimmer's defense was fifth in the league in both points allowed (18.9) and third-down percentage (34.47) and fourth in percentage of touchdowns allowed (44.2) when opponents moved inside the 20.
Greenway tabbed as one of top No. 17 overall picks
The Vikings announced Monday that linebacker Chad Greenway will return for the 2016 season.
Greenway, who will suit up in purple and gold for his 11th season* *in 2016, was a first-round selection in 2006 at No. 17 overall.
A recent online poll tabbed Greenway as the fourth-best pick at No. 17 of the last 20 years.
The Vikings linebacker earned 12 percent of the vote. Greenway ranks fourth among linebackers in games started (135) and fourth overall in franchise history in tackles (1,289).
Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski topped the list at 39 percent while former Vikings and Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson was second with 33 percent.
Arizona guard Mike Iupati was third on the list at 16 percent.