In a previous article, I discussed a list of draft rules that I believe the Vikings will likely follow for the 2020 NFL Draft based on their past tendencies. In this article, I will discuss a mock I performed based on those tendencies.
To help me mock the Vikings’ draft, I will use The Draft Networks’ Mock Draft Simulator with trades (which require a premium account), and to make my selections I will be using Jordan Reid’s recently published 2020 Draft Guide to assist me.
I created two different mocks. You can view the other one here.
The Vikings start with the following draft picks. I will keep track of trades, and explain my reasoning behind them.
- Round 1 – 22 Overall
- Round 1 – 25 Overall
- Round 2 – 58 Overall
- Round 3 – 89 Overall
- Round 3 – 105 Overall
- Round 4 – 132 Overall
- Round 5 – 155 Overall
- Round 6 – 201 Overall
- Round 6 – 205 Overall
- Round 7 – 219 Overall
- Round 7 – 249 Overall
- Round 7 – 253 Overall
I will follow the below set of rules when making my selections or trades. For an explanation, please read this article. Please keep these rules in mind when looking at the selections in the mock draft.
- Stay put in the 1st round and draft two of CB/OL/WR
- Trade up for CB/OL/WR with the 2nd round pick
- Trade both 3rd round picks
- Select an athletic edge rusher in the 3rd or 4th round
- Make at least 3 combined 6th/7th round picks
- Draft an LB on Day 3
- Do not draft a TE, QB, RB, K, P, or LS
- Make at least 10 total picks
The Vikings top needs are relatively interchangeable: CB, OL, and WR. They also have needs at EDGE, IDL, and S. They have very nice depth at LB, RB, and TE, and will not take a QB.
Round 1, #22 Overall: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
“That’s unrealistic,” you say to yourself as you close the tab (please don’t). I don’t think Lamb falling to 22 is likely at all. However, in 2013, we had a very similar situation happen. Sharrif Floyd was projected as a top 5 pick, yet fell into the Vikings’ lap at 23. I could have re-started the mock to get a more “realistic” scenario, but I didn’t think that would be fair. If you don’t want to consider this as a possibility, please assume that I took Justin Jefferson from LSU with this selection instead.
With that being said, Lamb was a no-brainer at this pick for me. While he is not really a similar player to Diggs, he is an elite WR prospect, and certainly has the ability to reach the same heights that Diggs has. This would be a true replacement for Stefon. The top available players at other positions were Kristian Fulton (CB), Josh Jones (OT), Ross Blacklock (3T), Yetur Gross-Matos (EDGE), and Xavier McKinney (S). McKinney would be an intriguing option to me, but we are operating under the assumption that the Vikings are keeping Harris. Otherwise, I am hoping that Fulton makes it past the Saints and Patriots selections to 25.
Jordan has Lamb as his second ranked WR, and ranked him 12th on his big board with an Early-Mid 1st Round grade. Here is his summary:
CeeDee Lamb has the DNA of what it takes to become a WR1 on a teams depth chart. While not a burner by any stretch of the imagination, his continued body development, hands consistency, and ability to make easy catches look routine makes him a first-round prospect. His ability to be an inaccuracy eraser helps him become one of the best receivers in this draft class and he also possesses a skill set that translates ideally as a pro.
Because Lamb feels unrealistic, I think it also makes sense to talk about Justin Jefferson at this spot. Jefferson seems to be the consensus 4th-ranked WR, and Jordan has him ranked 4th as well (18th overall) with a Mid-Late 1st Round grade. If Jefferson falls to the Vikings, it makes sense that they would take him over another position. If the top 4 WRs are all gone, they may look at OL or CB instead depending on how the board falls. Here’s Jordan’s summary on Jefferson:
A former two-star recruit, but Justin Jefferson always had a high-star work ethic. Scouts are enamored with Jefferson because of his football acumen, love for the game, and value that he brings. Because of questions about his in-game play strength, he may be limited to a slot only role where he won’t be challenged as frequently. Jefferson projects as first-round selection that will be an option to play early on as a rookie because of how mature his game is, plus his consistency as a catcher will enable him to take on a heavy workload in his first year and beyond
Round 1, #25 Overall: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Unfortunately, Kristian Fulton went off the board at #24 to the Saints. Jordan has Fulton slightly higher than the other available CBs and OL, and it would have been nice to get him here. Right now, this pick is between Noah Igbinoghene and Josh Jones. The Vikings need both positions badly, and looking at the board, it seems more likely a corner will fall than an offensive lineman. Therefore, I’m happy to take Jones, the 5th tackle on Jordan’s board. My strategy will be to try to trade up into the early 2nd for Igbinoghene.
As OT5, Jordan has Jones ranked 36th overall. He gives him an Early 2nd Round grade. Here’s his summary of Jones:
Josh Jones has been a high-profile caliber bookend during his career in Houston. Only scratching the surface of his true potential, he went from being an athletic offensive tackle relying solely on that to one that uses savvy techniques and bend as a blocker. Still a bit raw and needing to add strength, Jones’ baseline starting point entering the NFL is one that coaches will love to get their hands on. Still needing to add polish, that will come over time as he continues to gain more reps at the position. A high upside prospect in a zone scheme, he has the makings of being a top-25 selection.
Trade: Vikings send 58, 105, and 155 to the Colts for 34
Jaylon Johnson went off the board at pick #33. Since I’m targeting Igbinoghene, this put him at the top of the board on the simulator and gave me a sign that I should trade up. I worked with the Colts, and it cost me the Vikings’ 2nd, later 3rd, and 5th. This is a hefty price to pay, but I’m hoping the player is worth it. I think this is reasonable value if the Vikings were going to try to trade back into the late first or up to the early 2nd, and the reason for this simulation is exploring what the team might do.
With this trade, I’m down to the Vikings having 10 selections remaining. I am going to try to recoup some of the value by trading back at 89 later.
Round 2, #34 Overall: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
In the simulation, I can almost immediately see that trading up for Igbinoghene paid off. AJ Terrell, Trevon Diggs, and Damon Arnette, go at 37, 38, and 39. At 40, none of the CBs left have a 2nd round value from Jordan. This tells me that if the Vikings don’t get a CB with their first two picks, they will need to move up to ensure they get one of their targets.
At 58, the top players remaining at the positions of need were Amik Robertson, Lucas Niang, Brandon Aiyuk, Justin Madibuike, Josh Uche, and Jeremy Chinn. WRs are clearly falling in this simulation, as evidenced by Lamb, but it’s good that the Vikings have taken an OL and traded up for a CB, as Jones and Igbinoghene look a lot better than Niang or Robertson. I’m extremely happy with my haul of Lamb, Jones, and Igbinoghene so far.
Jordan has Igbinoghene ranked as CB5, 38th on his board, with an Early 2nd Round grade. This is good value for him. Here’s Jordan’s summary:
It’s easy to tell that Noah Igbinoghene is a converted wide receiver and his play indicates as such. Still very raw in terms of his technique and awareness when in coverage, but he tries to overcompensate that with being physical at every opportunity possible. His handsy and his aggressive nature does get him into trouble at times, but the surface level that he’s at currently, there are plenty of coaches that would love to get their hands on him in order to guide him along the steps to reach his form as a final product down the road. A prospect that’s still overly reliant on winning with strength and athleticism, his technique and consistent recognition skills remain a work in progress. With speed to burn for days vertically, he can use that as a bit of crutch with staying underneath knowing that he can turn on the speed when need be. Projected as a high Day 2 selection, Igbinoghene’s footwork will need to be retooled a bit from the ground up, but he is the definition of the word potential and a player that could flourish in the right press-man scheme.
Trade: Vikings send 89 to the Patriots for 100 and 230
At 89, the Vikings have a number of interesting players available to them. Amik Robertson and Bryce Hall are there at CB, Matt Peart and Ben Bartch are available at OL, Jordan Elliott is there at 3t, and Darrell Taylor and Jabari Zuniga are there at EDGE. With a number of choices, it makes perfect sense for the team to trade down here.
They trade with the Patriots, but are only able to get a 7th in return. In real life, they are likely able to get more, but after trying to find multiple partners, this is the best deal I could find. Hopefully I will make up for the loss in value by trading up for cheaper than I originally expected later.
Trade: Vikings send 100 and 205 to the Colts for 105 and 193
At 100, only one of the players listed above had been taken. True to form, I decided to trade back again. This time, we actually ended up with 105, which the Vikings originally received as a compensatory pick, and I used it in the trade up for Igbinoghene. They are able to move back here and swap sixths with the Colts to move up.
Fun Fact: In 2018, the Vikings traded pick 167 and 225 to the Jets to get pick 157 (Tyler Conklin). Then, when pick 167 (Daniel Carlson) came around, they traded 180 and 204 to get it back.
Round 3, #105 Overall: Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
By the time 105 came around, the Vikings ended up losing out on the offensive linemen they were looking at. They also lost out on Elliott. Taylor and Zuniga are still on the board, but in Jordan’s rankings there is a huge dropoff between Amik Robertson and the next available CB, Reggie Robinson II. Robertson is the pick.
As Jordan’s 10th ranked CB and 69th overall prospect (Early 3rd Round grade), Robertson is a steal and means the Vikings have drafted two CBs who can potentially contribute early. Robertson will play in the slot in the NFL, which means Mike Hughes will move outside. Here’s Jordan’s summary:
Amik Robertson is one of the feistiest and aggressive cornerbacks that you will come into contact with. He may be a pocket sized cornerback prospect, but he has the heart of a lion. His confidence carries over into his game and it is one that will help his projection onto the next level. His ball production is one of the biggest positives working in his favor. Robertson will have to transition inside as a nickel defender, but that is a starting position in the NFL currently. As a player in the slot, he will have many fans, but he projects best as a Day 3 pick because of it. As a fourth-round target, teams should be flocking to Robertson as he’s a prospect that could be a first day starter at the nickel/slot spot on the depth chart.
Trade: Vikings send 132 and 219 to the Giants for 110
While the Vikings have targeted their three main positions of need early and often in this mock, there are still other positions they are going to look at. One of the rules I set for this mock was drafting an EDGE in the 3rd or 4th round. As the early 4th round begins, there’s a player I have my eyes set on. I initiate a trade with the Giants and get 110 for just 132 and 219. I think this cost less than it should, but I also think it balances out with the return from trading back with the Patriots earlier. The pick is:
Round 4, #110 Overall: Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
If Robertson was a steal, Zuniga might qualify as grand theft. Jordan has him as his EDGE8, and 56th overall player, with a mid-2nd round grade. The Vikings need a rotational edge rusher to help support Ifeadi Odenigbo. Zuniga can provide that. Here’s Jordan’s summary:
Entering his final season in Gainesville, there was plenty of excitement around Jabari Zuniga, but an unfortunate ankle sprain prevented him from most of his senior season. Possessing outstanding traits for his size, Zuniga is the type of athletic edge rusher that you take a chance on during the latter portions of Day 2 in hopes of molding him into one day being a reliable starter. With lots of potential as a pass rusher and run defender, the discrepancies amongst Zuniga will be wide and large, but there’s no doubting that his potential is through the roof if he’s able to stay healthy.
The Vikings love athletic players that Andre Patterson can get his hands on and mold. Hopefully Zuniga can follow in the shoes of athletic mid-round pass rushers that the Vikings have taken such as Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Danielle Hunter.
Round 6, #193 Overall: Jake Hanson, IOL, Oregon
The problem with the way the Vikings have traded in this mock is that it left them with a gap between picks of over 80 selections, and that means they miss out on potentially better OL players. To keep with my 10 players rule, I could not use any of the additional picks to move up. At this point in the draft, the Vikings are looking for depth players. If the team feels good about Dru Samia, or Josh Kline comes back, they may only take one OL early and then spend a later pick on depth, which is what Hanson represents.
Jordan has Hanson as his IOL19 with a 6th round value. Here’s his summary:
At the head of one of the more experienced offensive lines that we’ve seen in quite some time, Jake Hanson was the leader among the entire unit. Often seen giving directions and communicating down the line with changing calls or danger from the defense, he’s the type of leader that helped the Ducks offense become a top ranked group. An experienced and intelligent center prospect, he’s a player that loves to scratch and claw for everything in the trenches. While his smarts were near the highest level, he was forced to win in that way due to his athleticism limitations. The weaknesses become apparent when forced to play in space or sustain blocks over time where he simply becomes overmatched. Becoming fixated in one certain area and not keeping his eyes up is another area that will need improvement. Hanson projects best as an early Day 3 option for teams looking for a prospect with interior versatility that could fill out the depth chart in a utility type of role.
Round 6, #201 Overall: Raequan Williams, IDL, Michigan State
As I mentioned when I discussed needs, while I do not want to start Shamar Stephen, the Vikings seem content with him. This means that they waited quite a while to add depth to the IDL. Jordan has him as IDL15, and an early 5th round value. Here’s his summary:
Williams is a wide bodied target that can clog gaps in the middle. The same as he exhibited during his time with the Spartans, he has value as a two-down pocket pusher, who’s best role is utilized early in series. Not providing much value on third-down will ultimately dwindle his stock, but he can serve his purpose as a 3-tech. or as a two gapping threat in a 3-4 defense. A possible lagte-round pick who could become depth for an interior rotation.
Round 7, #230 Overall: Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee
At this point, the Vikings were looking to snag a safety. However, the player they were targeting, Myles Dorn, has been taken. While the Vikings ecstatic that they got Lamb, they still need more competition for depth at WR. In the 7th round, the best player left is Jauan Jennings, a big-bodied, physical WR. Jordan has him as his WR26 and gave him an early 5th round grade. Here’s his summary:
As a former QB, Jauan Jennings is able to use his smarts now as a receiver. A big bodied presence, he did most of his work in between the numbers. Welcoming the dirty work, he’s also a dominating presence as a run blocker and loves to engage in contact from the in-line position. This has led some to believe that he could be used as a move “Y” tight end. There will need to be special circumstances and situations created for Jennings as he doesn’t contain the athleticism in order to consistently detach from man coverage. A likely mid-to-late Day 3 option, his potential and career outlook could become more transparent if making the transition to a new role as a move tight end.
Round 7, #249 Overall: Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota
One of the rules I set for this mock was that the Vikings would take a late round LB. They have every single year, with no exceptions, in the Rick Spielman era. In this case, it’s hometown player Kamal Martin. Martin was the best available of a bad crop, as Jordan has him as LB19 and a Priority UDFA grade. Here’s his summary:
Kamal Martin was entrenched at the center of the Gophers defense over the past three seasons and played up to par. A part of a program that’s made a full revolution under head coach P.J. Fleck, the senior linebacker has been a big part of that. A former team captain and voice of the team, he had a big voice in the locker. On the field, Martin has severe limitations that also will hinder his upside a bit. Lateral mobility and stiffness are the big caveats to his game that he will be hard-pressed to overcome. Projected as a priority undrafted free agent, his frequent role on special teams may be his ticket to earning a spot on a teams roster.
Round 7, #253 Overall: Jaylinn Hawkins, S, Cal
This selection is the third-to-last of the draft, and there are not many valuable players available. The Vikings need bodies at S, and I have not taken one so far in this draft. The Vikings ask a lot of their safeties, and Hawkins played in multiple different roles at Cal. He’s a depth player and hopefully special teams contributor at this point.
- Traded 58, 105, and 155 for 34
- Traded 89 for 100 and 230
- Traded 100 and 205 for 105 and 193
- Traded 132 and 219 for 110
Is this a good haul for the Vikings? Do you think this or my other simulation was better? Would you have done something different than the players/positions I took? Let me know!