NFL Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Week 1: Seven Rounds

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Minnesota Vikings Seven-Round Mock Draft

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While the end to the Minnesota Vikings’ 2012 season was a bit disappointing, the journey as a whole was a pleasant surprise.

From a phenomenal start, to a mid-season meltdown, to a four-game winning streak to propel themselves into the playoffs, the Vikings’ previous campaign was an epic roller coaster ride. Considering that many expected them to be among the worst teams in the NFL again in 2012, I’d say a 10-6 finish and playoff berth earned the Vikings a colossal pat on the back.

Unfortunately, a strong record like 10-6 comes with poor draft positioning when the offseason finally rolls around. Currently slotted at No. 23, the Vikings will have to wait and watch some of this year’s top talent come off of the board before they get their first crack at the draft.

What’s not unfortunate is that the Vikings stocked up on picks last season. On top of their seven original picks, Minnesota also possesses an extra fourth and sixth round pick. That leaves the Vikings with nine opportunities to add depth and solidify their roster as they head into an exciting 2013 season.

There are a few positions that they must address this offseason, but none is more important than wide receiver. With Percy Harvin’s future with the team uncertain and no other true options out wide for quarterback Christian Ponder to throw to, the position needs a major upgrade. While free agency could be utilized to boost the receiving talent available to the Vikings, adding some young talent via the draft wouldn’t hurt.

The Vikings and GM Rick Spielman have their work cut out for them. Still, with so many picks, it shouldn’t be hard to exit the draft having improved significantly.

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First Round: Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, Cal

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Plain and simple, the Vikings need help at the wide receiver spot in a big way. While they aren’t in position to nab someone like Cordarrelle Patterson early in the first round, a tremendous talent like Allen could easily fall into their laps. Allen has the size and speed to stretch the field and be the outside presence that the Minnesota passing attack has been missing for some time. If Allen can stay healthy once he enters the NFL, don’t be surprised to see his production start to soar like it did throughout his college career.

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Second Round: John Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

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Since the departure of Pat Williams, the Vikings have been ailing at the nose tackle position. If Jenkins is still on the board in the second round, though, that void would be filled immediately. Jenkins is a dominant run stuffer who uses his size and strength to plug running lanes. He does a great job in pursuit, but his motor isn’t always running. Although he’s not a huge threat as a pass-rusher, Jenkins is the immovable object in the middle that the Vikings have been missing since half of the Williams Wall retired.

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Third Round: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Cornerback, Connecticut

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More of a zone coverage cornerback, Wreh-Wilson has the tools to help the Vikings succeed as they prepare for a future without Antoine Winfield. He displayed implacable playmaking abilities during his days at UConn, using his impressive size (6’1’’, 192 pounds) and instincts to create turnovers. While there are several questions about his potential as a full-time starter, he fits the Vikings’ Tampa-2 scheme like a glove.

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Fourth Round (1): Brian Winters, Guard, Kent State

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A sleeper in the truest sense of the term, Winters has the type of underrated talent that will get him drafted lower than he deserves. Although Winters spent most of his college career at left tackle, he has the physicality and tenacity to play anywhere on the line. While he still has a lot of growing left to do as an NFL prospect, Winters has the toughness and well-rounded repertoire of talents to move inside and thrive as a guard at the next level.

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Fourth Round (2): Kevin Reddick, Inside Linebacker, North Carolina

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While injuries and inconsistent effort led to a drop in his draft stock, Reddick is far from a bust-in-the-making. Possessing outstanding athleticism and strength, Reddick makes his mark when he’s attacking the line and wreaking havoc on unsuspecting running backs. With the leadership and skill set to step in at middle linebacker from the get-go, Reddick is a player that is worth the risk if he’s surrounded by the right supporting cast. The Vikings fit the bill.

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Fifth Round: Duke Williams, Strong Safety, Nevada

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Another big time sleeper, Williams has flown under the radar due to his small frame and the fact that he played for Nevada. Don’t be fooled, though; Williams is the real deal. Often playing with reckless abandon, Williams is a fierce competitor who isn’t afraid to lay the wood. His versatility is also a plus, as Williams has the ability to line up at cornerback or either of the safety spots. While he might not come off of the board until Day 3, he does have the potential to become an impact starter in the NFL.

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Sixth Round (1): Brad Sorensen, Quarterback, Southern Utah

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Following the Joe Webb fiasco during the 2013 NFL Playoffs, it’s clear that the Vikings need to add some extra help at the quarterback spot. Since they’re expected to grab a veteran via free agency, there’s a good chance they’ll wait until Day 3 to nab a rookie quarterback, where a player like Sorensen might be available. The small-school stud has a rocket for an arm and prototypical NFL size. While the physical tools are there, the intangibles make him an iffy prospect. If he can overcome his off-field issues and eliminate the small mistakes, Sorensen has the potential to be a huge steal near the end of the draft.

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Sixth Round (2): Brandon Kaufman, Wide Receiver, Eastern Washington

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A big fish in a small pond, Kaufman made a mess of opposing defenses during his time in the FCS. While he won’t blow you away in one department or another, Kaufman brings consistency and a well-rounded approach to the table that NFL scouts covet in small-school prospects. With a 6’4’’, 215-pound build and reliable hands, Kaufman is sure to make his mark in the NFL, especially with a receiver-needy team like the Vikings. That is if he can stay healthy and off of the IR list.

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Seventh Round: Lane Taylor, Guard, Oklahoma State

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While far from a finished product, Taylor has some upside as a pass-blocking guard. Throughout his college career, he excelled at keeping his man away from the quarterback, especially during his senior season. Measuring in at 6’3’’, 328 pounds, Taylor has the size and physical tools to make it in the NFL, but will definitely need some time to develop.

Gil Alcaraz IV is a Content Planner/NFL Featured Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.