NFL Minnesota Vikings

2014 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings’ Early Seven-Round Mock

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Seven-Round Minnesota Vikings' Mock Draft

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With the 1-6 Minnesota Vikings’ 2013 campaign all but over, it’s just about time to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas the purple and gold must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.

Of those areas needing improvement, none is more important than quarterback. The Vikings currently have Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel at the position, and yet can’t find a way to get any sort of consistent production in the passing department. It’s clear that none of the three are ready to take the starting job and run with it, which means that a new gunslinger is needed when the draft rolls around in May.

The Vikings still need help elsewhere, though. The defensive tackle spot has been a big sore thumb in 2013, so a draft pick or two would do the position some good. Even after spending numerous picks on the position in recent draft history, cornerback is still a concern and could use another young talent. Even running back is a need with the Vikings’ No. 2 runner headed for free agency this upcoming offseason.

Either way, the Vikings need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer GM Rick Spielman an opportunity to salvage the sinking ship and keep his job. If they can’t capitalize, Minnesota could soon be forced to undergo yet another rebuild.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Vikings could choose to do with their eight current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.

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1st Round: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

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No matter how many former starters they sign, the Vikings clearly need a new quarterback if they plan on being competitive moving forward. Seeing as they’ll likely have a Top 5 pick, a player like Mariota could easily fall into their laps. Mariota is a dynamic passer with a pro-caliber arm and the athleticism to give the Vikings’ offense a whole new dimension. If Spielman wants his team to start winning some games in 2014, he needs to go out and grab an exciting young quarterback like Mariota.

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2nd Round: Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama

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There’s a good chance that Hubbard could be gone by the time the Vikings are on the clock in the second round, but if he’s available, he’d be wise to call his name. Hubbard has an outstanding motor and is a quality pass rusher who can help aide the Vikings in the post-Jared Allen era. He’d be able to immediately step in as the weakside linebacker, using his excellent size, strength and determination to make plays all over the field.

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3rd Round: Daquan Jones, DT, Penn State

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It’s become clear the Vikings need help at defensive tackle. Kevin Williams is no longer a dominant three-technique, and Minnesota has been getting average production at nose tackle for years. By adding Jones, they’d upgrade the nose tackle spot and give Sharrif Floyd a capable running mate on the interior. It might not be the new Williams Wall, but the combo of Floyd and Jones could be a long-term solution for the Vikings.

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3rd Round (via SEA): Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech

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Clearly, Chris Cook isn’t the answer at cornerback and Josh Robinson has been a mess so far this season. That means the Vikings need to find a viable option across from Xavier Rhodes who can actually keep opposing wide receivers away from the football. Exum is coming off an ACL tear, but is a strong cover cornerback and exemplary character – something that Spielman covets. If he can get back to full health and continue to shine as a run defender, there’s no reason he can’t thrive with the Vikings.

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4th Round: Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU

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While wide receiver is no longer a dire need in Minnesota, the Vikings could certainly benefit from a mid-round flier on a player that was once considered a first-round talent. Hoffman has gotten off to a rough start to his 2013 campaign, but the physical tools are still there. He’s the top receiver in BYU history, and has the potential to be a quality pass-catcher in the NFL. With Jarius Wright and Cordarrelle Patterson playing the speedster roles, the Vikings could use a bigger receiver to man the outside.

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5th Round: Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State

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With Toby Gerhart set to be a free agent in 2014 and unlikely to be re-signed, the Vikings are going to need a capable No. 2 running back who has some appeal as a third-down back. That’s where Grice fits in perfectly in the Vikings’ stable of backs. Not only is a threat to catch passes out of the backfield, but he shows solid pass-blocking abilities as well. Above all, Grice has a nose for the endzone and would be a solid backup behind Adrian Peterson.

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6th Round: John Urschel, OG, Penn State

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The Vikings went to the Penn State well last year, so let’s keep the trend going. Urschel has played well this season so far, and Minnesota still looks like they could use some more depth on the interior of the offensive line. Charlie Johnson doesn’t have much longer with the team, and there’s no guarantee that Jeff Baca or Travis Bond will pan out. Adding a quality blocker like Urschel only raises their chances of having one of those young guards develop into a starter.

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7th Round: Deandre Coleman, DT, Cal

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Considering the state of the Vikings’ defensive line, any extra depth should be welcomed. Even after drafting Jones to fill the nose tackle void earlier, Minnesota could use another big man for security. Coleman, nicknamed “Biggie,” is an anchor on the Cal defensive front and is definitely worth a late-round gamble. At 6’5’’, 316 pounds, Coleman is a space-eater who excels at stopping the run. If he can work on his technique and develop a couple pass-rush moves, he might find a role as a long-term role player.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Content Planner for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.