Yes, the NFL Draft is still months away, but now that the NFL season is over (well, except for one game) and the collegiate All-Star games are behind us, it seems like a good time to take a first look at the mock drafts being issued around the web.
The Minnesota Vikings own eight picks — each of their own in Rounds 1-5 and Round 7. Minnesota traded its sixth-rounder but obtained one back in a deal with San Francisco for Gerald Hodges. The Vikings also got a seventh-round pick from Buffalo for Matt Cassel.
Most mock drafts, as you’ll see, list only the first round but a few tackle multiple rounds. We’ll continue to provide updates leading up to the start of the draft April 28.
Here’s the first look at who the prognosticators think the Vikings will select:
Hunter Stewart of TheNewNFLDraft.com (Feb. 4): Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama. "The Vikings finally get an ILB who can be an immediate starter and impact player on the inside."
Todd McShay of ESPN.com Insider (Feb. 3): Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State. "He’s still developing as a run-stopping LB, but he has come a long way in that regard. Even if Minnesota signs free-agent LB Chad Greenway, it’s time to add another young piece to the linebacker corps."
Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com (Feb. 3): Round 1 — Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State. "Stefon Diggs flashed as a rookie, but Minnesota needs to give Teddy Bridgewater another downfield weapon."; Round 2 — Denver Kirkland, G/OT, Arkansas; Round 3 — Willie Henry, DT, Michigan; Round 4 — Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State.
Eddie Brown of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Feb. 3): Round 1 — Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor "Many consider Coleman the best deep threat in the nation. It’s hard to argue, and it’s scary to think of the play-action possibilities Teddy Bridgewater will face with this addition."; Round 2 — Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU; Round 3 — Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (Feb. 2): Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State. "(Mike Zimmer’s) fearsome defenders could be looking for a younger, cheaper alternative at outside linebacker than veteran Chad Greenway, a pending free agent. Lee has the awareness and closing speed to star against the run and in coverage, making him a potentially ideal replacement."
Ourlads (Feb. 2): Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor. "This gives Bridgewater the other option he was looking for all year."
Bryan Perez of DraftBreakdown.com (Feb. 1): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State. "The Vikings appear to be entering a window of success with their current coaching staff and quarterback, and it is critical that they continue investing in keeping Teddy Bridgewater upright. Conklin isn’t an elite talent, but he’s certainly capable of being an above-average starter in the NFL. They could look at Corey Coleman, the electrifying receiver from Baylor, but with the depth of talent at the wide receiver position, they’ll turn their attention on the offensive line and bring the big Spartan into the fold."
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com (Feb. 1): Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State. "With glaring needs on the offensive line, is it too early to draft a guard? Not if the pick is Whitehair, who is this year’s version of Zack Martin and ready to start in the NFL today."
Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com (Feb. 1): Round 1 — Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State. "They could use a big wideout to play off of Diggs and give Teddy Bridgewater more weapons at his disposal."; Round 2 — Sebastian Tretola, G, Arkansas; Round 3 — Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State.
Dan Kadan of SBNation/Mocking the Draft (Feb. 1): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State. "Minnesota has some obvious needs on the offensive line, especially at guard. Although Conklin was an offensive tackle for the entirety of his career at Michigan State, he has the power move inside to guard if needed. For Minnesota, he could start there, or push Matt Kalil off the left tackle spot."
Alex Khvatov of NFLDraftBlitz.com (Feb. 1): Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State.
Jon Ledyard of USA Today’s DraftWire.com (Feb. 1): Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford. "The Vikings have to improve their offensive line play in 2016, and Stanford guard Joshua Garnett is Mike Zimmer’s type of player. A hulking finisher with the tenacity of road-grader in the run game, Adrian Peterson will benefit greatly from running behind the powerful Garnett, who can operate in a zone or gap scheme at the next level."
Jeff Risdon of RealGM.com (Feb. 1): Round 1 — Darian Thompson, S, Boise State "He’s a playmaking coverage safety with range and twitchy energy. The Vikings have their No. 2 and No. 3 safety both hitting free agency and could use an upgrade regardless to patrol with Harrison Smith."; Round 2 — Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina; Round 3 — Deiondre Hall, CB, Northern Iowa.
Keet Bailey of BreakingFootball.com (Jan. 31): Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com (Jan. 29): Round 1 — Josh Doctson, WR, TCU "Josh Doctson’s wrist probably won’t keep him out of the first round, allowing the Vikings to grab him as a legit deep threat for blossoming passer Teddy Bridgewater."; Round 2 — Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State; Round 3 — Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State; Round 4 — Sebastian Tretola, OG, Arkansas.