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The official 1500ESPN Vikings Draft Simulation 2.0

We’re almost there. The NFL Draft is only two weeks away, which means there will be mock drafts flying around everywhere, but without a first-round pick, the Vikings are often left out.

However, the website FanSpeak has created an NFL Draft Simulator. You pick from a prospect list, then the simulator runs through the rounds until your team (in this case, the Minnesota Vikings) comes up, and then you get to make the pick. So each week leading up to the draft, we will make the Vikings’ picks and publish a new simulation exploring different ways they could go in the draft.

(You can do your own Vikings draft simulation here. PLEASE feel free to do your own drafts and leave the results in the comments or tweet them to @1500ESPN!)

So here is how things turned out for the Vikings on the second attempt:

READ THE FIRST SIMULATION HERE

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SEE THE ENTIRE SIMULATION HERE

Pick-by-pick analysis:

48. Dion Dawkins, G, Temple

The Vikings may have signed a pair of offensive linemen this offseason, but their biggest draft need is still up front both immediately and in the future. On the interior there is currently no clear-cut starting right guard and center Joe Berger is 34 years old and at right tackle, Mike Remmers is a bandaid rather than a long-term solution.

Dawkins played tackle at Temple and has the potential to grow into starter on the outside, but is expected to be NFL-ready at guard. Pro Football Focus advanced stats ranked the 6-foot-4, 314-pounder as the seventh best run blocker and fourth best pass blocker in the draft. He allowed just two sacks in 2016 and eight over his three-year career.

NFL.com’s draft profile points out strength as his best asset:

“Quality tackle who operates with good balance and solid technique. Shows some good initial quickness and a smooth kick-slide out of his stance, but might be better in short areas as a guard rather than in open space as a tackle. He’s athletic enough to operate in space, but power appears to be his calling card. His wide-hand approach in pass protection could be a difficult habit to break, but he has the natural power to withstand bull rush that might come with that. Dawkins is a well-schooled, three-year starter who has chance to transition into an early starter.”

Here’s a look at other players taken just before Dawkins and after.

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This scenario would leave the Vikings with a tough decision on Joe Mixon, the highly-rated running back who has serious character concerns after punching a woman in 2014. Dawkins’ potential to move over to tackle made him the choice over Feeney.  Defensive line is an immediate need, but there were other players of similar talent to Worlmey who would be available later.

In the first simulation, we took Kamara. This time around, the approach was looking more toward the future with the No. 48 than just 2017.

79. Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama 

A nerve issue in Sharrif Floyd’s knee has put his future in jeopardy, which means the Vikings have a need to fill that they didn’t expect. It’s unclear whether Datone Jones can play DT, Tom Johnson is a pure pass rusher and Shamar Stephen is best used in a limited role.

Tomlinson was one of the best run stuffers in the country and has terrific smarts and character that would fit with head coach Mike Zimmer.

His NFL.com draft profile suggests his pass rush skills might grow as well.

“Prototypical Alabama defensive tackle who wins with leverage, power and technique. Tomlinson’s powerful frame and ability to stack the run between the tackles could make him a scheme-flexible target in the draft. While he is likely to be drafted as a run bully, his history of operating in Alabama’s stunt-and-twist-oriented defense could help keep him on the field on third downs for teams using a similar concept. Tomlinson has a chance to become an early starter and should work into a defensive line rotation immediately.”

86. Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan

After losing Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson to free agency, the Vikings are in the market for a wide receiver. They have a choice between going after a playmaker, possess receiver or deep threat. Darboh is somewhere in between possess receiver and deep threat. The highest percentage of his routes were “Go” routes at Michigan and a 6-foot-2, 215-pounds with a 4.45 40-yard dash, he can be a deep threat, but might not have the athleticism to have that be his sole role.

Pro Football Focus’s draft analysis made this comparison:

“Like Brandon LaFell, there’s no one area in which Darboh excels, but he can be a productive complementary receiver, particularly in a vertical passing attack that gives him a chance to make plays down the field.”

Darboh’s experience playing with Jim Harbaugh’s pro style offense might help him step right into a role.

120. Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo 

The M

An incredible 2016 with 1,475 yards with the Rockets put Hunt on the map. According to Pro Football Focus’s metrics, the elusive Hunt had the second best “Percentage Not Tackled on First Contact” of all draft prospects. He isn’t the fastest runner, posting a 4.62 40-yard dash, but is very shifty and has a compact body at 5-foot-10, 215-pounds.

Here is his NFL.com draft profile:

“Big back with plus vision and enough elusiveness to make the first defender miss. Feel for the rushing lane helps him choose the correct path between the tackles but lacks the burst to turn the 4-yard run into 14. Zone-scheme runner with serviceable hands out of the backfield. Adequate in most areas and has talent to become a backup that can step in and handle a bigger load if needed.”

128. Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

After losing Riki Ellison’s adult son to the New York Giants, the Vikings are in the market for a tight end. Ideally Minnesota would want a better athlete who could be a downfield threat or a better blocker, but Butt one of the country’s best pass-catching tight ends, pulling in 72.0% of the passes thrown in his direction over his three years as a Wolverine. His ability to get open underneath and snag every pass his way would be a fit in Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense.

Here’s the bottom line of his NFL.com draft profile:

“In-line tight end with strong, natural hands and the toughness to make a living in the middle of the field as a chain-moving safety blanket. While he’s shown ability to operate as an intermediate target as well, he might lack the athleticism and separation to uncover against NFL safeties and some linebackers in man coverage. Butt must improve greatly as a blocker to reach his potential as a Y tight end. However, his ability as a reliable, productive target should earn him an early starter’s nod with a chance to become a solid pro.”

160. Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

While we already selected a wide receiver, running back and tight end, the Vikings need all the weapons they can get around Sam Bradford. Plus, they lost two receivers, a tight end and two running backs this offseason. The Vikings also lack a deep threat, which Westbrook was for Oklahoma.

As we’ve seen from Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, the best wide receivers don’t always come from the first round. Opinions are all over the board on Westbrook. Pro Football Focus has him as the fourth best receiver in the entire draft. He ranked second in Yards per Route among all draft-eligible receivers, third in Deep Pass Yards and second in Deep Pass Catch Percentage, catching 62.5% of deep balls thrown his way.

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Not everyone is as high on Westbrook as PFF. CBS Sports has him ranked as the 17th best receiver. CBS draft analyst Dane Brugler wrote:

“Skinny frame with narrow shoulders and twig limbs. Lacks power as a ballcarrier and limited after contact. Below average blocker due to poor body strength and waning effort – will make “business decisions” and avoid collision blocks. Catch radius questions with few examples on tape of him finishing contested catches on tape.”

In the fifth round, he’s a worthwhile risk.

199. Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson

Last year when either Andrew Sendejo or Harrison Smith were out, the Vikings’ secondary struggling mightily. Not only could the safety position use some better depth, it could also use a ball hawk that can rotate in depending on the situation. Johnson had five interceptions last year for Clemson and is known for his athleticism and ball skills, as the bottom line notes on his NFL.com draft profile:

“Explosive height, weight, speed prospect with terrific ball skills but an inconsistent approach in run support. Johnson’s ball production, despite just one season as a starter, will likely give a team confidence that he will continue to shine in that area on the next level. Johnson has starting NFL potential and a strong workout could push him up the draft board. However, he must improve his run support to be a long-time starter in the league.”

232. Hardy Nickerson

The Vikings aren’t in desperate need for a linebacker, but could use a special teams replacement for Audie Cole, who left in free agency.

NFL.com draft profile bottom line:

“Nickerson is a try-hard WILL linebacker in a 4-3 defensive front who might lack the instincts and consistency to make an NFL team. While the tackle production is solid, third day (Rounds 4-7) draft pick and special teams performer could be his ceiling. Based off the tape, making an NFL roster could be difficult.”

  • Nike15

    Joe mixon okay!!

    • Gordon Guffey

      I could be wrong but my gut feeling is Mixon will fall and fall big ~ I cant see any GM wanting to spend the offseason trying to tell the women who follow that team that he is a changed person ~ I’m not saying he isn’t a changed person ~ Very well could be one of the fines people another person could be around these days ~ I believe because of one bad night this young man has cost himself million and millions of dollars ~

      • Nike15

        Allow me I will tell her,

        • Carl A Brodin

          I don’t want Mixon on the Vikings. Hes A.P. 2.0

          • Nike15

            Everyone can want.

          • norseman79

            except he is a great receiver….and no one is A.P.

        • Gordon Guffey

          LOL ~ There are more than a few Vikings fans who happens to be female ~ It might take you awhile to tell all of them unless you had them all at mid field but that might be unsafe for you ~ 🙂

          • Nike15

            You seem To be a good sport about all in all we want the Vikings to win and win it all I became a fan in sept of 71 . Been waiting a while

          • Gordon Guffey

            I try to be a good sport about things ~ However if I ever sound crazy I have a really bad back from falling about 20 feet to the ground and hitting butt first setting up and sometimes I have to take my meds like they tell me too and I can sound loopy or just plain stupid ~ I did a good job of that before the injury so you have been warned ~ LOL

            I been waiting since 1969 ~ I was 12 and we didn’t see football much on our old 13 inch black and white TV with rabbit ears ~ LOL ~ And when we did it was mostly either the Redskins or Falcons I guess because they were the closest teams ~ All I knew for the first few year was they had horns on the helmets and they mostly played in the cold and snow ~ And when they would get in their 3 point stance and you could see their breath in the cold air is they looked like mad bulls ~ I was hooked ~ I didn’t know much about the players or the coach until 1971 or 72 when our local newspaper started doing very small writeups on all the NFL games ~ And even then it took till 74 or 75 before I had a good handle on the the team as a whole ~ But when I got my first computer and the internet I was one happy camper ~ I started out on the old Vikings Underground and there wasn’t a pro football magazine I didn’t buy ~ Then when the earth stood still what when I got Sunday Ticket the first year they started up ~
            Thats the shorthand of my Viking history ~ And even though I happy NC got the Panthers they are still a distant second to my first love ~

      • Brian_pdx

        A GM who drafts well needs to explain less.

        • Gordon Guffey

          I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say to me ~ But if you’re saying Spielman or any other GM can cover a Mixon pick by drafting well elsewhere than we disagree ~ Especially if he is drafted at 48 or higher and he returns to his old ways once his contract is signed ~ And if that happened Mixon wouldn’t be the first ~ Plus their have been past players on a sports shows who have lost their jobs because of such issues ~ And outside of the sports world I would guess its even harder to get away with such a act ~ I know for a fact I have never worked anywhere that a man could get away with such a thing
          ((( his act being known by many ))) and not be fired for such a act ~
          Now if you’re saying if taken much than 48 where the money given him on his rookie contract wouldn’t be such a big deal if the old Mixon showed back up then you might be onto something ~ JMHO

  • Wilbur One

    I’m going to hang on tight and keep my eyes closed till it’s all over.

  • Gordon Guffey

    I really like this mock draft and would be very happy if it fell this way ~

  • linus

    Like the Dawkins pick a lot. DT in round 3 is good, but Tomlinson doesn’t profile as a three technique, so he wouldn’t be a good replacement for Floyd.

  • Andre Esters

    Even before the S.Floyd injury news peaked, the reality of Vikings DT depth is limited. The moment L.Joseph goes down for any period of time, the middle is exposed to backups and aging vets. Not that it hasn’t been manageable, but preparing for the future with a pick between the 3rd & 4th rounds seems reasonable. Depending on who’s all around after the “hold your breath” 2nd rounder Minnesota scoops up, I’m okay with a later selection at DT. Thanks to Minnesota’s defensive coaching, I believe they could do wonders with a 4th or 5th round defensive lineman. D.Hunter 2.0?!

    • linus

      I get your point, but Hunter was selected in round 3 (not 4 or 5). Griffen was a 4th-rounder, but he didn’t do much of anything (except get arrested) for his first couple-three years in the league.

  • jeffreyinoc

    Yuck! Not a fan of this draft at all. Plus, we need at least TWO quality OL.

  • Scott Myhre

    I’d like to see at least one more offensive lineman in the mix. Depends on where they fall there should be a couple of “projects” we could take. With 2 three’s and 2 four’s we should be able to possibly get a couple of good ones. As we saw last year without several linemen, you can’t do anything with all of those fancy skill positions. It wouldn’t bother me in the least, if out of 8 draft picks we took 4 linemen. As far as Mixon, I think people will be surprised at how soon he will be drafted and it wouldn’t shock me if he went in the first round. The NFL gives a lot of lip service to the “bad boys” behavior but if he can help a team win, his past discretions will be soon forgotten. That said, if he accidentally fell to us in the third round, I’d say grab him!

  • norseman79

    48: R2P16
    RB JOE MIXON
    OKLAHOMA

    79: R3P15
    C PAT ELFLEIN
    OHIO STATE

    86: R3P22
    WR ARDARIUS STEWART
    ALABAMA

    120: R4P13
    C ETHAN POCIC
    LSU

    128: R4P21
    S RAYSHAWN JENKINS
    MIAMI (FLA.)

    160: R5P16
    TE BUCKY HODGES
    VIRGINIA TECH

    199: R6P15
    LB ELIJAH LEE
    KANSAS STATE

    232: R7P14
    QB ALEK TORGERSEN
    PENNSYLVANIA

    • norseman79

      that is using Matt Miller’s rankings from Bleacher report….

      • Brian_pdx

        Don;t need a QB but other than that good draft.

        • norseman79

          I agree, I was going to throw a DT in there or a potential KR/PR guy, but for some reason I felt moved to go QB.

  • Brian_pdx

    I like the emphasis on offense. Would have been interesting to take Mixon and see what OLs fell to us. Taking two WRs is basically admitting Treadwell was a mistake if they actually do it. I understand Jones can play DL but maybe more of a rusher than a run stuffer but I don’t know.

  • Topgunn

    I like noreseman79’s draft !!

  • PurpleFaithful

    Well thought out mock draft. No problem living with it at all if the vikes do it. Just means they think mixon will have future problems and is not worth the headache. Be curious which tight ends were available.

  • Jason Wisneski

    I love Westbrook but I would have taken Marcus Maye over Amarah Darboah. You could sign Rod Streater in FA after the draft for that type of WR,





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