Roundup of NFL mock drafts: The Vikings will select . . .
With the NFL Draft (finally) closing in, check out this roundup of over 50 mock drafts to find who the "experts" think the Minnesota Vikings will be drafting.
While many still think the Vikings will take a quarterback in the first round, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been a choice for some of late.
Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports
By Dave Heller
All the talk and speculation is over as the NFL Draft is finally upon us.
Well, almost. There's still time for a little more talk and speculation.
With that in mind, here's one last look at some NFL mock drafts and their selecitons for the Minnesota Vikings. Most are just one-round drafts, although some did try their hand at more than the initial round. Also, I've included the previous picks for some from the last time I did this back on April 9.
I don't think you'll find a more robust or complete compendium of Vikings mocks elsewhere on the Internet. I've tried to keep the list to those are can be considered "experts" -- which usually means beat writers, those from major websites or appearing in the top of the chart in The Huddle Report's yearly mock draft rankings. I've also arranged them by date published. Some might put out a last-minute mock, but these should be close enough, don't you think?
Would love to get your take on the picks -- and perhaps what your selection would be -- in our comments below.
OK, now with that all out of the way, here's the mocks. Feel free to come back after the draft and compare.
UPDATE: Added a few more mocks Thursday
Peter Schrager, FOX Sports -- 7 rounds (May 8) 1. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State ("Remember, Mike Zimmer's a defensive backs coach at heart. And Justin Gilbert -- in a relatively weak defensive back class -- is an absolute stud. An athletic specimen who can step right in and be a lockdown corner in a division loaded with tall, rangy receivers, this could be the pick at No. 8. I can't see Minnesota going quarterback at this point, though defensive tackle might be the move."); 2. Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh; 3a. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin; 3b. Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida; 4. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU; 5. Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech; 6. Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon; 7. Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA
Mike Loyko, NEPatriosDraft.com (May 8) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. "Donald could fit with just about any 4-3 team in the entire draft. Early in the process I heard Minnesota is looking for high character, blue-collar kids. Now that Mike Zimmer is the Head Coach, he’s looking for his own Geno Atkins and Donald is a spitting image."
James Christensen, NEPatriotsDraft.com (May 8) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. "The Vikings need to hit on their first-round pick and Aaron Donald is a safe pick that has a lot of upside in the middle of the defensive line."
Mike Mayock, NFL.com (May 7) Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma
Joel Klatt, FOX Sports (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. "During this entire draft process I have said the top quarterbacks were overrated, and we have seen the stock of Teddy Bridgewater fall in the last 3-4 weeks. So, Bortles will likely be available here for Minnesota, which desperately needs a QB to compete with Matt Cassel. Bortles is strong and looks the part, especially in a Norv Turner offense."
Nate Davis, USA Today (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. "The miss on QB Christian Ponder in 2011 still stings, but incumbent Matt Cassel seems better suited to hold down the fort for now than Donovan McNabb was then. Bortles' size and accuracy (66% completion rate in college) seem to make him a comfortable fit for offensive coordinator Norv Turner's scheme and attacking philosophy."
Mark Maske, The Washington Post (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun (May 7) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. "Donald has an array of pass-rushing moves and is a disruptive force inside with a great swim move for a shorter defensive lineman. Donald isn't small, just short, and overpowers blockers with an impressive charge and was unblockable at the Senior Bowl. The Vikings need an influx of talent inside with veteran Kevin Williams off the roster."
Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (note: Has Minnesota trading with Dallas for No. 16)
Steve Serby, New York Post (May 7) C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama. "The high-character, three-down defensive quarterback new coach Mike Zimmer never had in Cincinnati."
Art Stapleton, The Record (N.J). (May 7) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Jay Skurskis, The Buffalo News (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Jordan Raanan, NJ.com (May 7) C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama. "The Vikings want defense, and think about defensive tackle Aaron Donald. But in the end, they select the three-down linebacker who everybody seems to be sleeping on."
Nick Underhill, Masslive.com (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. "With Matt Cassel on the roster, Bortles would be afforded the time he needs to develop, making this an ideal scenario for him."
Ken Vetrano, NEPatriotsDraft.com (May 7) Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. "There has been a lot of hullabaloo regarding Bridgewater's poor pro day. As disconcerting as a bad pro day can be, ultimately the tape doesn't lie. And Bridgewater's poise and pocket presence was undeniable this past season. Minnesota will be fine on the defensive side of the ball with Mike Zimmer at the helm, but an upgrade at QB is paramount if they plan on making any noise this season. Bridgewater could stand to pack on some muscle, but overall he's more polished than Bortles, who some have started to rank over him."
Mark McGuire, Schenectady Daily Gazette (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Jeff Schudel, The News-Herald (May 7) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. (Previous: Teddy Bridgewater, but had Bortles picked before No. 8)
Peter King, SI.com (May 6) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. "Not buying the Blake Bortles buzz here, as much sense as it makes. The Vikings just have too many quarterbacks rated too closely, and they know they can get one with the 40th pick. Donald has some freakish athletic traits. Not quite John Randle, but the man is quick and can get to the passer."
Charles Davis, NFL.com (May 6) C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama. "Mosley is one of the top 10 players in the draft. Vikes pass on QB (Teddy Bridgewater?) here to build defense."
Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com -- 7 rounds (May 6) 1. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida ("Blake Bortles has been Minnesota's quarterback of choice this entire time, as he fits exactly what Norv Turner looks for in a signal-caller. I'd say it's about 50-50 whether he'll be available here. If he is, he's the no-brainer selection. Minnesota needs to find a franchise quarterback, and waiting until Day 2 of the draft has only worked for a select few teams."; Previously: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville); 2. Demarcus Lawrence, DE/OLB, Boise State; 3a. Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida; 3b. Craig Loston, S, LSU; 4. Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State; 5. Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State; 6. Anthony Steen, G, Alabama; 7. Chris Watt, G, Notre Dame
Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com -- 7 rounds (May 6) 1. Blake Bortles; 2. Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina ("The Vikings could stand to fortify defensive end after losing Jared Allen. Sources have told WalterFootball.com that Minnesota loves Kareem Martin."); 3a. Keith McGill, CB, Utah; 3b. Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State; 4. Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming; 5. Lamin Barrow, LB, LSU; 6. Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State; 7. Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State (Previously: 1. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville; 2. David Yankey, G, Stanford; 3a. Demarcus Lawrence, OLB, Boise State; 3b.Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona, 4. Corey Lattimer, WR, Indiana; 5. Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt
Bob Grotz, Delaware County Daily Times (May 6) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Christopher Jason, MassLive.com (May 6) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. "Peter King of MMQB stated on Monday that the Vikings were comfortable with the later round quarterbacks and that they were looking for a "front seven disruptor." Well, Donald fits that bill as the best interior disruptor in the draft."
DraftTek -- 7 rounds (May 5) 1. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida ("There are still a lot of Vikings fans who, to this day, will not agree with taking a QB here. I understand that. Given the alternatives, however, I'm not sure why taking Bortles or Bridgewater is such a terrible idea. Even if the guy has to sit for a year, this pick still makes sense. A little bit of "development time" has helped a number of late-round prospects turn into excellent starters. Using Aaron Rodgers as an example, that strategy can work pretty well for high-end prospects too. Unfortunately, most aren't afforded the opportunity to sit and learn. If the Vikings can manage to actually fulfill that goal (to have the next QB sit for a year) then Bortles might work out nicely.";) 2. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU; 3a. Jackson Jeffoat, DE, Texas; 3b. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa; 4. Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina; 5. Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh; 6. Brock Vereen, SS, Minnesota; 7. Greg Blair, ILB, Cincinnati (Previously: 1. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State; 2. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State; 3a.Dominque Easley, DT, Florida; 3b. Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas; 4. Christian Kirksey, OLB, Iowa; 5. Street; 6. Vereen; 7.Blair)
Rob Rang, The Sports Xchange (May 5) 1. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (previously: Derek Carr). "With serviceable veterans in re-signed veteran Matt Cassel and former first-round pick Christian Ponder on the roster, the Vikings don't have to take a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick and might view Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald as another John Randle. Should Bortles, who many believe has the highest upside of the 2014 class, slip to this spot, the Vikings could find the ideal fit in offensive coordinator Norv Turner's scheme."; 2. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State.
Charley Casserly, NFL.com (May 5) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. "Bortles needs a year to develop, and with Matt Cassel on the roster, the Vikings don't have to play him in Year 1."
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com (May 5) C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama. "Bridgewater is a legitimate option here, but Mosley is one of the cleaner prospects in the draft and will have an immediate impact."
Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com (May 5) 1. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (previously: Teddy Bridgewater). "Best player on the board or quarterback? The Vikings desperately need an identity at quarterback, something Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater could bring to Minnesota. But more of a 'sure thing' might be the direction here and Aaron Donald would be Mike Zimmer's new Geno Atkins."; 2. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State.
Will Brinson, CBSSports.com (May 5) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (note: Has a trade with Dallas, moving Minnesota down to No. 16).
Chris Steuber, CSNPhiladelphia (May 5) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. "The Vikings are the wildcard of the first round. They have a number of positions they could target, with quarterback at the top of the list. With Manziel and Carr already off the board, Bortles or Bridgewater could be considered, but it would be a reach. With that said, defense should be the focus, especially with Mike Zimmer leading the charge. Donald is on the rise and he can be the Vikings' Geno Atkins, who Zimmer coached with the Cincinnati Bengals."
Mike Herndon, al.com (May 5) Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA. "The Vikings need a quarterback, but they also need to replace Jared Allen's quarterback pressure. Barr had 23.5 sacks in the last two seasons and at 6-5, 255, some believe he can make the switch to a 4-3 defensive end."
Nick O'Malley, MassLive.com (May 5) Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. "The Vikings offense has been placed squarely on the shoulders of Adrian Peterson for most of his career, and the team has yet to find someone who can take any of that pressure of their franchise running back, who happens to turn 30 next March. If there's anyone who could make a big impact early, it's Manziel, who would likely benefit from playing in a smaller market, and by playing with Cordarrelle Patterson."
MyNFLDraft.com -- 2 rounds (May 5) 1. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State; 2. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU (Previously: 1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M; 2. Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama)
Brad Briggs, Chicago Tribune (May 3) Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA. "Some wonder if he will fit in a 4-3 scheme, but the Vikings need to ramp up their pass rush and Barr was tremendously productive the last two years."
Ourlads (May 3) C.J. Mosely, ILB, Alabama (Previously: Johnny Manziel).
Terez A. Paylor, Kansas City Star (May 3) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (Previously: Derek Carr)
Fred Greetham, FOX Sports Ohio (May 2) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (Previously: Teddy Bridgewater)
Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com (May 2) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida (Previously: Derek Carr; note: Has a trade with Dallas, moving Minnesota down to No. 16).
Mike Chappell, The Indy Star (May 2) Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. "OK, we're reaching with this one. But the Vikings must get their quarterback situation straightened out while Adrian Peterson still is a force. Matt Cassel is a bridge to the future, and that future probably doesn't include Christian Ponder."
Bob Glauber, Newsday (May 2) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. "After striking out with Christian Ponder, the Vikings will use another top 10 pick on Bortles, whose drop-back style fits in well with new head coach Mike Zimmer."
Ken Zalis, Press Box Online (May 1) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Brad Clark, NFL's Future -- 2 rounds (May 1) 1. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State. "Derek Carr before Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater? Is all the buzz about Carr being high on some teams draft boards just a bunch of smoke? You're guess is as good as mine but it wouldn't shock me if the Vikings and Rick Spielman play this one a little safer with a guy that can compete next year. Bortles just needs too much work for me to believe the Vikings (Spielman) would spend the eighth pick on him. With Carr, you get a guy that is ready to compete out of the box. There won't be any developing but the question will be is what you see what you get and are the Vikings good with just that."; 2. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State. "Mike Zimmer will be looking for front four pass rushers and Lawrence can bring the heat off the edge with the best of them. Lawrence has a first round skill set but comes with some off-the-field baggage that could steer teams away from him in the first."
Mike Luchene, NFL Rough Draft -- 4 rounds (May 1) 1. Anthony Barr, LB/DE, UCLA; 2. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU ("I expect the Vikings to draft a big strong-armed Norv Turner-type quarterback like Bortles, Carr, Mettenberger, Tom Savage, or Logan Thomas."); 3a. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin; 3b. Billy Turner, OL, North Dakota State; 4. Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton.
Eric Galko, OptimumScouting.com -- 2 rounds (April 30) 1. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State. "Dennard has taken a beating in the scouting media in recent weeks, but I know of multiple teams that still have him viewed as the draft's best cornerback. The Vikings wouldn't mind trading down to secure more value, but Dennard seems like the fit if Mike Evans and Khalil Mack are unattainable."; 2. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU.