Mock drafting is great but simulating the draft is better. Websites like PFF.com, FanSpeak and The Draft Network have functions that combine draft boards and team needs to estimate how things will play out in the 2020 NFL Draft. We at SKOR North will be simulating the draft from a Minnesota Vikings perspective as we lead up to when the Vikings are on the clock.
Here is our final draft sim, all seven rounds, a trade down and an eye on players who can step in right away…
CB, Jeff Gladney
A three-year starter at TCU who gave up just 54 receptions on 130 targets over the last two seasons (per PFF) and passed every test at the NFL Combine by running a 4.48 40-yard dash and benching 17 reps. While he’s only 5-foot-10, Gladney has a 37-inch vertical jump. As one of the most experienced players in the draft, he could be expected to play right away.
C/G, Cesar Ruiz
This might be considered the least exciting pick in the entire first round but it would also give the Vikings the No. 1 interior lineman in the draft. The guard position has been a disaster for the entirety of the Mike Zimmer era and drafting high might be the only way to turn that around. Ruiz showed at the Combine that he has the athleticism to fit in Gary Kubiak’s system and the size (6-foot-3, 307-pounds) to face off with the NFC North’s interior beasts.
WR, Lynn Bowden Jr.
An exciting player with the ball in his hands, Bowden’s catch numbers went down because he was called upon to play quarterback at Kentucky and rushed 168 times. PFF compares him to Antwaan Randle El because he isn’t a polished receiver but can be placed into an offense as a Swiss army knife weapon that the Vikings could move all over the field.
S, Terrell Burgess
With the pick we gained from trading down, we find a potential replacement for Anthony Harris. Utah’s star safety has the versatility that every team is looking for, splitting snaps between the slot, deep safety and playing in the box. He doesn’t have impressive length but ran an impressive 4.46 40-yard dash and benched 20 reps.
DB, K’Von Wallace – A tenacious defensive back who tied for Clemson’s team lead in pass breakups. Might have potential in the nickel.
T, Prince Tega Wanogho – A raw tackle with some medical concerns but second-team All-SEC at Auburn.
DT, Rashard Lawrence – Lanky and explosive interior D-lineman who played a big role in LSU’s defense.
OT, Danny Pinter – Very impressive athlete who might develop as a guard
QB, Josh Love – Developmental QB who showed some downfield accuracy at San Jose State
RB, AJ Dillon – Bruising running back who weighed in at 247 pounds but still ran a 4.53 40-yard dash
WR, Austin Mack – Injuries limited his production and raw speed isn’t impressive but is known for route running.
S, Reggie Floyd – Box safety with special teams potential
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There were several quality cornerback prospects on the board, including Jaylon Johnson and AJ Terrell. Which player the Vikings would actually pick in that instance would depend on fit. We could have gone with two first-round corners, which would be justifiable considering the Vikings only have Mike Hughes, Holton Hill and Kris Boyd on the roster.
Otherwise, instead of taking Ruiz we could have selected two boom-or-bust players in Mekhi Becton (who is very likely to be gone) and Denzel Mims or taken home one of the best safety prospects in the draft in Antoine Winfield Jr. or solid Clemson receiver Tee Higgins. The reason for taking Ruiz instead is that there are other quality safeties and receivers in the draft who have potential for fitting right into the mix.
Rather than picking up a playmaking receiver, we could have added to the cornerback pool with Damon Arnette of Ohio State or plugged in an interior pass rusher with Jordan Elliott. Surprisingly tackle Austin Jackson was still available. That pick certainly would be welcomed with open arms at that spot but if our focus was on instant-impact receivers. Chase Claypool was also an option.
At 89 – Damien Lewis, KJ Hill, Robert Hunt, Van Jefferson, Matt Peart, Lucas Naing
Instead of adding to the defensive back group, we could have taken the direction to pick up another offensive lineman or receiver like Hill or Jefferson.
There is rarely a scenario where trading down is a poor play for the Vikings. If they can find a suitor, the available players on the board in the late first or early second round are still quality prospects who fit their needs.
We will see which positions they double down on. In this case we went with defensive back in order to restock the secondary but they could elect to spend more along the defensive line, which lost Everson Griffen and hasn’t replaced Sheldon Richardson from his exit in 2018.
Since there are receivers of all types available, we will get a good sense of whether they want a route runner or playmaker in the mix.
This might be the most difficult draft in recent Vikings history to project because the options are endless.